PhD Studentship Materialism in the Philosophy of Language

Applications are invited for a full-time PhD (via MPhil) studentship in the School of Language, Literature and International Studies. The studentship is tenable for up to 3 years [subject to satisfactory progress] and will cover the cost of tuition fees at UK/EU rates plus a maintenance grant of £13,726 (2013/14 rate).  International applicants may apply but will be expected to pay the difference between the UK/EU and International Fee Rate.  The successful applicant will start on 1 January 2014. 

Reference RS/13/15 

Project Title: Materialism in the Philosophy of Language 

Project Description:

Materialism as a question, a paradigm and an ontological commitment is back on the agenda in modern European philosophy. The question of the real is more and more seen as a challenge to modes of thought that have been dominant in the last decades and which have emphasised the constructed, ‘linguistic’ nature of social reality, subjectivity and also extra-human reality. Linguistics was a privileged explanatory model for many lines of enquiry in the humanities and social sciences and for the elaboration of key concepts such as ideology, identity, difference, normativity, meaning and capital. This situation has begun to change, however. 

So far, no systematic attempt has been made to answer the question as to how the new attention for materialism affects our understanding of language (and, in a wider sense, communication). What might the contours be of a new materialist account of language, and how can such an account inform, and be informed by, the urgent questions that philosophical materialism(s) seek(s) to address today? What is the place of language in different forms of philosophical materialism, (such as historical materialism, physicalism, dialectical materialism) and what can the philosophy of language contribute to the development of materialism(s), not least to the development of contemporary forms of critical theory and ideology critique? These questions provide the starting point for the proposed project, in which the successful candidate will be able to shape the direction of the research to a significant degree. 

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The project will be placed in the Research Group Philosophy and Critical Theory of the Division of English Language, Linguistics, Literature and Culture, in cooperation with the Division of Philosophy. The Philosophy and Critical Theory Group is a vibrant, internationally connected community of researchers. The research group has particular interests in interdisciplinary themes in philosophy, linguistics and literature; history of modern European philosophy; social and cultural philosophy and philosophy of communication. The Research Group has received substantial external funding for its work and is home to projects in core areas of philosophy as well as in community research, arts practice as research and translation and commentary. The Research Group publishes the journal Empedocles: European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication. 

Applications are invited from candidates with an MA or equivalent qualification in relevant disciplines such as Philosophy, Critical Theory, Linguistics, Modern Languages, Communication or Cultural Studies, with a focus on contemporary European thought. 

For an informal discussion please contact Dr Johan Siebers (Email or Telephone 01772 894835). 

Requests for an application pack (quoting the reference RS/13/15) should be directed to the Graduate Research School Office. Tel: 01772 894835 or email  

Closing Date: 1 November 2013

Proposed Interview Date Monday 18 November 2013

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