4-year PhD position Lugano

AOS metaphysics


4-year fully funded PhD Fellowship in Philosophy (AOS metaphysics) at USI, Lugano

The PhD student’s work on a doctoral thesis will be supervised by Professor Damiano Costa in the framework of the SNSF funded Starting Grant project ‘Temporal Existence’. A brief description of the project is provided below.

The PhD student will join the Institute of Philosophy, Lugano (Switzerland). The selected candidate will also have the option to choose a co-supervisor among the professors teaching at the Institute.

As per SNSF regulations, the gross salary will be between CHF 47'040 and CHF 50'040 per year.

The starting date is October 1, 2023, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Candidates must have a Master degree in philosophy and a background in analytic metaphysics. A proven specific competence in the metaphysics of time or of abstract objects, or in philosophy physics is an advantage. The main selection criteria will be (A) compatibility with the research project as well as (b) scientific excellence.

Deadline for applications is August 15, 2023.

Applicants must submit their dossier as a single PDF file to [log in to unmask] with ‘PhD application’ in the subject line. The dossier should include:

  • a cover letter describing the candidate’s background in analytic metaphysics and the fit between the candidate’s interests and abilities and the Starting Grant project;
  • a CV;
  • a 5'000 word writing sample;
  • the contact details for two possible academic references.

Candidates may write to Damiano Costa with questions about the suitability of their profile for the project.

SNSF Starting Grant ‘Temporal Existence’

Everything in our concrete universe, from the smallest elementary particle to the largest galaxy, exists at some time and at some place. But what is it for something to exist at a time? What is temporal existence? Even though other topics in the vicinity, such as tenseless existence, time, persistence, and temporary intrinsics, have been at the centre of much recent philosophical research, this specific question has been overlooked so far. This project tackles this problem head-on. Drawing from metaphysics and physics, this project will launch a systematic inquiry into the nature of temporal existence and explore the transformative impact that this inquiry can have in philosophy and beyond. A first sub-project deals with this question from the point of view of analytic metaphysics, making use of conceptual tools developed in mereology, location theory, and the theory of grounding. Questions to be addressed include: what is it for something to be in time? Is existence-at a relation? What’s its relation with existence and being? Is everything in time in the same way? A second sub-project will tackle the question from the point of view of the philosophy of physics, and more precisely Relativity Theory. Questions to be addressed include: what is spacetime unitism? How, if at all, does Relativity Theory support spacetime unitism? What does spacetime unitism tell us about being in time? A third and fourth sub-project will apply the methods, arguments and results developed in the first two sub-projects to two case studies, namely that of abstract objects and that of the mind. Questions to be addressed include: are abstract objects such as universals and numbers in time? Does this imply that they are also in space? What consequence do different theories of temporal existence have on debates concerning the existence and nature of abstract objects?
The research team will be composed by PI, a post-doc working on philosophy of physics, a post-doc working in metaphysics, philosophy of mind or religion, or the history thereof, a PhD student working on metaphysics.