Position 1 : Postdoc in philosophy of language (to be hired at the University of Zurich)
Cross-disciplinary work is often hampered by the fact that different disciplines use different terminologies for the same or similar phenomena, which makes communication and progress unnecessarily difficult.
It also tends to reveal or create new conceptual problems that have not been recognized before. For example, research in animal communication continues to reveal phenomena with (at least superficial) resemblance to phenomena that exist in human language, but interpreting such results is often difficult and controversial.
Given that the discipline of animal communication research does not yet have an agreed-upon terminology and theoretical foundation, researchers are tempted to borrow linguistic terminology to explain their phenomena, but this requires conceptual clarifications.
The aim is to make the conceptual frameworks of the diﬀerent disciplines commensurable by bringing to bear techniques of contemporary conceptual analysis and engineering.
This will also require some familiarity with linguistics and the philosophy of animal minds.
Position 2 : Postdoc in philosophy of biology or philosophy of cognitive science (to be hired at the University of Basel)
Research on the emergence and development of language frequently invokes concepts and methods from evolutionary biology and cognitive science, such as phylogenetic trees, ecology, adaptation, inheritance, domestication etc.
or such as learning, priming, entrenchment, accommodation, social cognition etc. The aim is to establish how an expansion of evolutionary biology can add concepts and approaches applicable to the study of communication and language.
This will require acquaintance with methodological issues in the theory of evolution or learning theory of social cognition.
The candidate is expected to review the foundational concepts used in the different work groups, spot differences and relations, and build up an interdisciplinary lexicon for the NCCR.
Successful candidates should have excellent teamwork and organizational skills and be interested in going beyond disciplinary boundaries.
It is also desirable that they should be able to conduct surveys with partners from across the Work Packages and to engage in digital text mining (both with substantial the help from the TTF DataScience and IT support from Zurich and Basel).
We aim to generate a work program that maximally fits the candidates' own interest within the limits of the project's goals so we will look for evidence of personal initiative, independent work ethics, and a strong interest in theory.
What we offer
We offer varied and interesting work in an inspiring and socially relevant environment.
Diversity and inclusion are important to us. The NCCR places great emphasis on gender balance; we particularly encourage women to apply.