[FOM] Final Call for Applications: PhD position in ERC Project "The Roots of Mathematical Structuralism", University of Vienna

John Wigglesworth jmwigglesworth at gmail.com
Mon Oct 15 10:05:04 EDT 2018


The Department of Philosophy at the University of Vienna is inviting
applications for the position of a PhD candidate (100%, i.e. 30 hours/week;
3 years) within the project “The Roots of Mathematical Structuralism“. This
is a 5-year Starting Grant-project (2017-2022) funded by the European
Research Council and led by Principal Investigator Georg Schiemer,
Assistant Professor at the Department of Philosophy.

Project Description:
The project investigates the mathematical and philosophical roots of
mathematical structuralism. The focus is set on two historical developments
in nineteenth century mathematics and early twentieth century philosophy of
science: the first one concerns several conceptual changes in geometry
between 1860 and 1910 that eventually led to a “structural turn” in the
field. This includes the gradual implementation of model-theoretic
techniques in geometrical reasoning, the study of geometrical theories by
group-theoretic methods as well as the consolidation of formal axiomatics.
The second development considered here concerns the beginnings of the
philosophical reflection on structural mathematics between 1900 and 1940.
This includes different attempts by thinkers such as Rudolf Carnap, Edmund
Husserl, and Ernst Cassirer (among others) to spell out the philosophical
implications of the new structuralist methodologies at work in modern

The principal objective of the project is to provide the first comparative
investigation of these early contributions to structuralism and their
immediate mathematical background. The second aim of the project is to
connect these contributions with more recent debates on mathematical
structuralism. Specifically, the project will provide new systematic
insights relevant to contemporary structuralism, in particular a new
understanding of notions such as mathematical structure, structural
abstraction, and structural properties, as well as of their significance
for the philosophy of mathematical practice.

The PhD candidate will conduct research on the philosophy of mathematics
related to subproject 2 “Early Mathematical Structuralism” and/or
subproject 3 “New Foundations for Mathematical Structuralism”. Potential
topics in these areas include (but are not limited to):

-) Early contributions to the philosophy of structural mathematics (by
Cassirer, Husserl, and Carnap)
-) Structural abstraction principles and non-eliminative structuralism
-) Structuralism as a philosophy of mathematical practice
-) New foundations for structural mathematics

The PhD candidate will carry out research on one of these fields (or a
related topic) with the aim of publishing a doctoral thesis under the
supervision of Prof. Georg Schiemer.

The candidate is expected to present the results of her/his work in
peer-reviewed journals as well as at international conferences. She/he is
also expected to assist in the organization of local workshops and/or

The position comes without teaching obligations and no German language
competency is required.

The successful candidate will have a Master’s degree in philosophy and/or

If the PhD applicant does not yet have a Master’s degree at the time of the
application, the applicant can submit a letter by the university confirming
that the MA thesis has been submitted.

The successful candidate for the position will have demonstrable competence
in the philosophy of mathematics.

Application (including CV, certificates, list of publications), a
description of planned research (500-1000 words), as well as a writing
sample should be sent by email to

florian.kolowrat at univie.ac.at

The deadline for this application is October 31, 2018. The starting date
for the position is January 15, 2019 (a later starting date is possible in
exceptional cases).

For further questions, please contact Georg Schiemer (
georg.schiemer at univie.ac.at) and/or visit:
Dr. John Wigglesworth
Postdoctoral Researcher
University of Vienna
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