Research topics  

3 - Structural models of phenomenality

PI: Professor Dr. Holger Lyre

Contact: lyre-please remove this


No places on offer in application round 2018! Please wait for application round 2019.

According to the classical understanding, phenomenal properties are intrinsic and qualitative, while science captures relational or structural properties only. In the scientific study of consciousness, however, methods are used that aim to model and discriminate individual experiences, including their phenomenal character, by structural features (typical examples comprise quality spaces and the methods and measures of psychophysics). The project shall investigate the methodological and ontological implications of structural models of phenomenality from the perspective of philosophy of science. It will explore how objective third-person models of subjective first-person experience and consciousness should be set up and what their promises and possible limitations are.

Questions of interest include:

(1) What is the connection between the intrinsic/structural distinction and the introspective/extrospective distinction?

(2) What general modeling types, techniques, formalisms, tools and (representational) formats are used in consciousness studies? (This includes a close look to some of the empirical projects of the RTG.)

(3) What are the limits of structural modeling approaches and how does this relate to “qualia inversion” scenarios?

(4) What are the metaphysical implications of structural models of phenomenality (e.g. in view of a structural realism about qualia or Russellian monism)?

The dissertation should deal with a good part of these questions.

Requirements for research topic 3

The successful candidate is expected to have

(1) A background in philosophy of science and philosophy of mind,
(2) A familiarity with formal methods in science (at best a further background in either physics, mathematics, informatics, computational neuroscience or cognitive science),
(3) A strong interest in interdisciplinary collaboration with psychologists and neuroscientists,
(4) Willingness to fully participate in the research, education and training program of the RTG,
(5) Proficiency in English,
(6) Master's degree in a relevant field.

Applications for research topic 3

(1) A proposal for a doctoral project in research topic 3: "Structural models of phenomenality" (max. 5 pages in Arial 11, single spaced, plus max. 3 pages references),
(2) A meaningful letter of motivation (max 2 pages),
(3) Full academic CV,
(4) Copies/scans of Bachelor's and Master's certificates,
(5) Transcript of records for Master's degree.

Please send the above in one PDF file of no more than 7 MB.

Please name the file as follows: YourName_RTG_Topic3


Two letters of reference should be sent directly to: Ms Annette Winkelmann, mb-extrospection-please remove this

Guidelines for referees for Topic 3 - please send them to your referees: download pdf


Application period and deadline

No places on offer in application round 2018! Please wait for application round 2019.


This page last updated on: 21 June 2018