PhD in Ethics on Disrupting ageing: Personhood, meaning, and vulnerability across the lifespan

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Name of institution: 
Utrecht University
Job Description: 

The Ethics Institute of Utrecht University’s department of Philosophy and Religious Studies seeks a researcher for a four-year, full-time PhD project “Disrupting ageing: Personhood, meaning, and vulnerability across the lifespan”, as part of the ESDiT – Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies – Research Programme (

About the role
The ageing of societies is one of the 21st century’s most disruptive demographic trends. Simultaneously, age-related technologies challenge the ‘naturalness’ of ageing and draw into focus ambiguities in the concept of ageing itself. Since ageing is a phenomenon infused with normativity, with normative expectations corresponding to phases in the human life cycle, the conceptual cleavage of ageing invites innovation in related moral concepts. This PhD project examines ways in which technologies that bear on ageing disrupt biological, socio-cultural, and normative understandings of ageing. It considers how these disruptions generate fruitful possibilities for reconceptualisation of ageing itself, as well as intertwined normative ideas of personhood, meaning, and vulnerability. In doing so, the project will investigate non-western and non-canonical ideas that might reinvigorate core moral concepts implicated by ageing.

- Master’s degree or equivalent degree in Philosophy, Ethics, or Political Philosophy/Theory. Other Master’s degrees will also be considered if you have a demonstrable expertise in analytical/conceptual problems and approaches to normative justification, in close connection with the themes of the research project.
- Interest in moral and political philosophy, applied ethics, and normative issues related to technology;
- Knowledge in a more specialised field relevant to the project (e.g. solidarity, ethics of technology, conceptual disruption, etc.) is welcome.
- Especially welcome are approaches to this project that engage with traditions and perspectives that are currently marginalised within Western philosophy.

- a position for a period of 18 months - in case of good performance and a positive evaluation, the contract will be extended for the remaining period of 30 months (4 years in total);
- a working week of 38 hours and a gross monthly salary between €2,770 and €3,539 in the case of full-time employment
You have an excellent track record and research skills, relative to experience, and excellent academic writing and presentation skills.

The expected starting date is 1 October 2024.
For more information, please contact Christopher Wareham external link via c [dot] s [dot] wareham [__at__] uu [dot] nl

Deadline for Applications: 
June 7, 2024
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