Research Fellow in Group Intentionality

University of Leeds

Leeds, United Kingdom

ID: 7075306 (Ref.No. AHCPR1035)
Posted: February 19, 2021

Job Description

Are you an outstanding researcher in philosophy or related area? Do you have a developing research record and an ability to work as part of a research team? Are you keen to work on a ground-breaking research project funded by the European Research Council?

We are looking for a talented researcher to join the ERC-funded project Group Thinking: New Foundations (2019-2024), led by Prof. J. Robert G. Williams. This project explores group thought, comparing and contrasting the foundations of intentionality for individual human beings with the foundations of intentionality for group agents and other non-human subjects. 

Within the two-year tenure of this postdoc, the project’s main focus will be the following themes, in the context of developing an overall interpretationist account of the foundations of representation:

- The relation between individual and collective reasons. What is it for a group agent to possess reasons for belief or action? How do the reasons that a group agent has depend on, or otherwise connect to, the reasons that its individual members have?

- The metaphysics of individual and collective persistence. What kinds of persistence conditions do groups/groups agents have, and how do these compare and relate to diachronic personal identity conditions for individual human agents?

- Representation theorems for collective agents. How can the representation theorems by means of which we secure the attribution of determinate sets of belief- and desire-states to individual agents (e.g. Savage 1954, Joyce 1999) be extended and adapted to collective agents? How are the concepts that such results appeal to (e.g. evidence, choice) to be construed for collective agents?

- Anti-realist construals of collective agency and thought. Are fictionalist, relativist, or expressivist contruals of ascriptions of group attitudes available? In what circumstances are they tenable? For what explanatory purposes would they be useful?

The project during this period will draw on several fields of philosophy including:

Philosophy of mind and language (e.g. metasemantics, metaphysics of mental content, radical interpretation).

Metaphysics (e.g. personal identity, metaphysics of group persistence).

Formal epistemology (e.g. representation theorems, social choice theory)

Collective intentionality (e.g. collective action, collective reasons, collective duties).

Philosophy of normativity (e.g. the nature of reasons and rationality 

An extract from the scientific proposal of the project can be found here. This two-year role will run during phases 3-5. 

You will have a PhD (or have submitted your thesis by start of post) in philosophy or an allied discipline. As one of two Research Fellows involved in the project, you will be an integral part of an eight-member project team, pursuing independent work related to the overall project topic and taking a leading role in guiding the team’s research on one of the four above-mentioned themes—researching and developing a bibliography in the area, reading and presenting on key works in the field, and developing or co-developing original research. You will also work in support of the Principal Investigator, and will be expected to be involved in planning and running collaborative activities of the project group, as well as undertaking administrative work associated with the project.

You will be based at the University of Leeds and will be expected to take an active role in the overall research life and culture of the department. There will be opportunity for career development by undertaking a small amount of teaching and administration roles related to project themes.

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact: 

Professor J Robert G Williams, email: j.r.g.williams@leeds.ac.uk

Due to the current Government Coronavirus lockdown and social distancing measures, the interviews for this role are likely to be conducted remotely using Microsoft TEAMs.  It is also expected that relevant work within these roles may be done remotely, within the UK, while these restrictions remain in place.


Location:  Leeds - Main Campus
Faculty/Service:  Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Cultures
School/Institute:  School of Philosophy, Religion & History of Science
Category:  Research
Grade:  Grade 7
Salary:  £33,797 to £40,322 p.a.
Working Time:  100%
Post Type:  Full Time
Contract Type:  Fixed Term (for 2 years due to funding, available from 1 September 2021)
Release Date:  Thursday 18 February 2021
Closing Date:  Wednesday 17 March 2021
Reference:  AHCPR1035


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