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Vacancy | University of Twente
Posted on August 8, 2022

Postdoc How theories of technology and its relation to society can inform and transform ethics

The aim of this postdoc project is to investigate how theories and approaches that concern the interactive relationship between technology and society and technology and human beings, as found in philosophy and STS in particular, can inform ethics, specifically the ethics of technology. There will be a particular focus on socially disruptive technologies: technologies that transform everyday life, social institutions, cultural practices, and potentially even fundamental beliefs and values. The successful candidate will carry out at least three of the following investigations:

  • Critical assessment and comparison of the most promising theories and approaches in philosophy and STS on the interaction between technology and society (at micro, meso and/or macrolevels)
  • Critical assessment of theories of the relation between technological artifacts and impacts, and between artifacts and values
  • Analysis of the role of social structures, artifacts and other nonhuman entities in major theories and approaches in normative ethics
  • Investigation of implicit conceptions of the role and status of technology in different approaches in the ethics of technology (e.g., deterministic, neutral, or other)
  • Development of novel approaches to ethics of technology that incorporate theories of the relation between technology and society and of the relation between artifacts, impacts & values, and of the relation between social and technological structures and ethical issues.
  • Assessment of how different types of social disruption by technology raise different types of ethical issues (e.g., disruption of work practices, social institutions, cognitive processes).

The position is for two years.

Application deadline:  September 22nd, 2022

This PhD postdoc position is part of the Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies (ESDiT) programme (, a ten year long international research programme of seven academic institutions in the Netherlands that has started in January 2020. This ten-year programme has a combined budget of € 27 million, and is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research in the Gravitation funding scheme for excellent research, and by matching funds from the participating institutions. It has the aim of achieving breakthrough research in at the intersection of ethics, philosophy, technology / engineering and social sciences, and to position its consortium at the top of its field internationally. In ESDiT, we aim to innovate the ethics of technology so that we can critically evaluate and guide the development, introduction and use of current and future socially disruptive technologies.

The main output for this postdoc consists of scientific publications. The postdoc will also engage in investigations of the approaches used by researchers in the ESDiT programme, and will engage in dialogue with other researchers, make recommendations regarding their approaches and methods, and potentially contribute to a whitepaper on methods and approaches.

To apply, see here.

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