PhD candidate in Philosophy of Language and Semantics
University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Humanities – Institute for Logic, Language and Computation

PhD candidate in Philosophy of Language and Semantics


Faculty of Humanities – Institute for Logic, Language and Computation


Publication date
22 November 2017
Level of education
Master's degree
Salary indication
€2,222 to €2,840 gross per month
Closing date
15 January 2018
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) is a renowned research institute at the University of Amsterdam, in which researchers from the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Science collaborate. The research carried out at Humanities forms one of the six research schools within this faculty. The ILLC’s central research area is the study of fundamental principles of encoding, transmission and comprehension of information. Research at the ILLC is interdisciplinary and brings together insights from various disciplines concerned with information and information processing, such as logic, philosophy, linguistics, musicology, mathematics, computer science, artificial intelligence and cognitive science.


The ILLC is looking to fill one PhD position in Philosophy of Language and Semantics within the project EXPRESS: From the Expression of Disagreement to New Foundations for Expressivist Semantics. This is a five-year project funded by a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant and led by Dr Luca Incurvati (Principal Investigator). The project aims to develop a novel theory and logic of the way disagreement is expressed in dialogue. This theory will then be used to establish a novel approach to natural language semantics, inferential expressivism.


The project is highly interdisciplinary and makes use of theoretical and empirical insights from philosophy and linguistics as well as formal techniques from logic and computer science.  In addition to the PI and the PhD candidate, the research team will include a postdoc in logic, a postdoc in computational linguistics/computer science and a research assistant. Many members of the ILLC have expertise and interests in the theoretical and empirical topics directly relevant to the project (e.g. Maria Aloni, Franz Berto, Floris Roelofsen, Raquel Fernandez, Robert van Rooij, Frank Veltman). The project will avail itself of an extensive international network of experts in its remit areas and will be overseen by an Advisory Board consisting of scholars from Europe and the US.


Project description


The PhD candidate will work within the subproject Expressing Disagreement. The overall aim of this subproject is to develop a theory of the way disagreement is expressed in dialogue which is philosophically motivated and appropriately incorporated into philosophical and linguistic conversational models.  The successful applicant will be supervised by the PI, Luca Incurvati and will collaborate with him and the other team members. The project’s methodology involves a constant interaction between philosophical reflection, empirical investigation and formal modelling.


The work of the PhD candidate will involve linguistic data collection, formal modelling and philosophical analysis. The candidate for this position will therefore have a background in both philosophy (preferably philosophy of language) and linguistics (preferably semantics), as well as strong formal skills. Their exam records and writing samples will be those of a promising graduate student ready to undertake excellent research. We are looking for an exceptionally motivated candidate with a marked collaborative attitude within an interdisciplinary setting, capable of working independently and efficiently against deadlines.


The PhD researcher is expected to:

  • carry out research at the intersection of philosophy and linguistics, including theoretical and empirical (e.g. corpus studies) components;

  • have regular meetings with the supervisor and take part in all project’s activities, including research visits abroad;

  • complete a PhD thesis, which will include at least four articles, suitably integrated and published/forthcoming in excellent peer-reviewed journals of philosophy, logic or linguistics;

  • collaborate with the other project team members;

  • follow some selected graduate courses at the ILLC and attend summer schools during the first and second year of the PhD fellowship;

  • present intermediate research results (obtained individually or in cooperation with other team members) at international workshops and conferences for both philosophical and linguistic audiences;

  • help out with organizational tasks connected to the project, such as the organization of conferences and workshops and the editing of a collected volume (the list is non-exhaustive);help out with the dissemination of the project results to non-specialists through, e.g., public lectures and social media.


All PhD candidates enrolled in the ILLC PhD Programme are, as an important part of their doctoral training, expected to gain teaching experience.



  • A master’s degree in philosophy (preferably with a specialization in philosophy of language) with a strong linguistics background (e.g. a first degree in linguistics or some courses in linguistics) or a master’s degree in linguistics (preferably with a specialization in semantics) with a strong philosophy background (e.g. a first degree in philosophy or some courses in philosophy);

  • strong formal skills as demonstrated by courses taken and corresponding exam grades;

  • excellent academic potential as demonstrated by exam grades and writing sample;

  • strong motivation to undertake excellent academic research;

  • being able and willing to work in a team and in an interdisciplinary setting;

  • excellent command of English.


Reading knowledge of languages other than English will be an advantage.


Candidates with a master’s degree in logic with a strong philosophy and linguistics background are also encouraged to apply.


Further information


For further information please contact:

  • Dr Luca Incurvati



The selected candidate will be appointed full-time (38 hours per week), starting as soon as possible and no later than 1September 2018. The candidate will be based at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Amsterdam and the research will be carried out within the ILLC. The appointment is initially for a period of 12 months; contingent on satisfactory performance, it will be extended for up to a further three years, for a total maximum of up to four years. The gross monthly salary (on a full-time basis) will range from €2,222 to €2,840 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.


Job application


Applications should consist of the following material:

  • a cover letter of maximum two A4 pages explaining the applicant’s reasons for applying for the position and how they can contribute to the project in terms of both expertise and teamwork;

  • a CV, including: (a) details of studies and in particular a list of completed courses and corresponding grades; (b) a list of all relevant outputs (e.g. articles, reports, talks); (c) language competence; (d) the names of two referees;

  • a writing sample of maximum 7,000 words. This can (but need not) be a chapter of the applicant’s master’s thesis. In this case, however, it is expected that the writing sample would still be sufficiently self-contained.


The material must be collected into one single pdf file (not zipped) named using the PI’s name, the applicant’s surname and “PhD” as file name, i.e.: Incurvati-applicant’s surname-PhD.pdf.


Applicants must have completed or nearly completed their master’s degree by the closing date of this call. If the latter is the case, evidence must be provided in the cover letter that the master’s degree will be obtained before the start of the position (and hence before 1 September 2018).


Please submit your application to  no later than 23.59 (CEST) on 15 January 2018. Only complete applications submitted to this email address will be considered.


Please state vacancy number 17-577 in the subject line of your application. The subject of the e-mail message and the attachment must consist of the vacancy number and the text '[Incurvati-applicant's surname-PhD]'. #LI-DNP


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