The position is part of the research project The Enemy of the Good. Towards a Theory of Moral Progress (PI: Hanno Sauer) funded by the European Research Commission (ERC Starting Grant 851043, PROGRESS). The successful candidate will be part of the Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies and the Ethics Institute.
The aim of the project is to develop a conceptually rigorous, empirically informed and normatively sophisticated theory of moral progress. The Postdoc will be in charge of fleshing out an empirically supported and philosophically significant assessment of the social and individual conditions that hinder or promote moral progress, investigate whether and which of these conditions obtain or whether and how they can be promoted, and identify suitable social institutions in order to sustain progressive developments in the direction of moral improvement. When it comes to lasting moral change for the better, individual psychologies seem too frail and susceptible to situational forces to be left to their own devices. Moral attitudes require institutional support. Institutions can be put to use both for promoting moral progress as well as for blocking moral regress. Moral regress happens when illegitimate forms of exclusion are reinstalled, when neutral traits or actions become re-moralized, or when vulnerable people are singled out for ostracism and dehumanization. One of the main tasks of political philosophy should be to look at institutions from this perspective. Moral progress, then, happens when institutions facilitate improvements in people’s well-being through cooperative efforts and in ways that are accessible to all. This project will suggest various ways for building institutions to sustain robust moral progress, and sketch the institutional profile of social practices suitable to stabilize various progressive moral gains. The Postdoc will deal with these questions, and establish interdisciplinary links between debates in evolutionary psychology, political philosophy and meta ethics.
- research on the respective subproject of PROGRESS;
- publication of journal articles in high-profile venues;
- (co)organization of workshops and conferences on the project’s themes;
- dissemination of project results at scientific events and other outlets.