The positions are 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). Successful candidates 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 two PhD positions will be in charge of fleshing out a response to various “conservative” challenges to the feasibility of moral progress and to sketch a framework for understanding the driving mechanisms of social change for the better. On the one hand, evolved psychological dispositions and cultural practices seem to impose severe constraints on achieving further progressive gains. On the other hand, the connection between the processes driving social change and various types of moral progress (demoralization, liberalization, inclusivism) remains poorly understood. One aim of this project will be to explain why neither biological nor cultural evolution hold moral progress on a short leash, and whether there are any elective affinities between various mechanisms and forms of moral progress. The two PhD candidates will deal with the above questions, and establish interdisciplinary links between debates in evolutionary psychology, political philosophy and meta ethics.
- research on the respective subproject of PROGRESS;
- the completion of a PhD thesis;
- the publication of journal articles;
- the (co)organization of workshops and conferences on the project themes;
- the dissemination of project results at (scientific) events.