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PhD Programme in Philosophy, Science, Cognition, and Semiotics (PSCS) - Academic Year 2021/2022 - Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna

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    ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - Università di Bologna
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    21/05/2021 12:00 - Europe/Brussels
    Italy › Bologna
    ICT-48-2020 -


The PhD programme is aimed at training advanced level experts in the diciplinary fields included in its three curricula, while encouraging a multidisciplinary research agenda and exchanges with different cultural traditions in the same discipinary areas. The curricula are as follows:

- Philosophy and Science studies

- Cognitive science

- Semiotics

Main research fields:

Curriculum 1: Philosophy and Science Studies

The curriculum in Philosophy and Science Studies deals with:

a) aesthetics, regarding the structures of human experience and the question of sensitivity, the expressive practices of taste and the knowledge of different traditions of the Arts;

b) moral philosophy, which includes knowledge and skills relating to human action in its ethical-social, normative, political, anthropological and communicative dimensions;

c) philosophy of law, in its deontological, historical-doctrinal and political dimensions;

d) theoretical philosophy, which concern the activity of thought in its genesis, the structuring of concepts and the different forms of experience, in particular the theory of knowledge, phenomenology, metaphysics, ontology, hermeneutics and religion;

e) logic and philosophy of science, which address the forms of scientific knowledge, logic and natural languages, the representation of knowledge and computation, the methodological and foundational issues specific to the individual sciences;

f) historical-philosophical studies, which include the forms and development of philosophical thought from antiquity to the present day, also extending to political philosophy, philosophy of history, Italian philosophy and the cultural expressions of philosophical doctrines;

g) social studies of science and sociology, inherent in the dynamics of production, dissemination and use of expert knowledge, technological artifacts and socio-technical infrastructures;

h) studies of the history of science and techniques, which aim in a diachronic and synchronic sense at the historical-critical reconstruction of the development of sciences, techniques and scientific institutions, also understood in their social, communicative and gender implications;

i) philosophy of language and mind, which address language as an eminently theoretical object of investigation, also including the most recent trends in cognitive semiotics and analytical philosophy.

Curriculum 2: Semiotics

The educational goals of the Curriculum in Semiotics are to develop theoretical and practical competencies in semiotics both from a theoretical-philosophical perspective, and in terms of their practical-methodological application. In particular, from a theoretical perspective, we shall examine relevant themes related to the development of philosophical and linguistic theories of signs and semiosis, key elements in the history of semiotics, as well as comparisons between different sign systems: linguistic, visual, multimodal, etc. On the application plane, necessary methodological tools will be provided to carry out in depth analyses of different types of textual objects: verbal, visual, behavioral, musical , audiovisual , etc. To this end the principal theoretical and methodological currents characterising the semiotic tradition, from structuralism to interpretational semiotics, will be examined in depth.

Curriculum 3: Cognitive Science

The main research topics of the Curriculum on Cognitive Science are:

  • Attention
  • Objects and action, affordances
  • Role of the body in cognition, sense of body
  • Language grounding in the perception, action and emotion systems
  • Emotions and sensorimotor system
  • Numerical cognition and its relationship with embodied cognition
  • Social cognition

Candidates are required to learn to perform experiments in the lab they will have to learn to plan them, to execute them and to analyse the data. They will be required to learn to realise classical behavioral experiments, in which reaction times and errors are recorded. In addition, they will be invited to learn to use at least one of the three instruments that we possess eye tracking, motion tracking or TMS. In order to discuss with candidates the experiments they are conducting, from their planning to the data analysis, we will organise a lab meeting to be held every month. Candidates and professors will discuss together research projects, and candidates will have the opportunity to learn how to present a study. We will also organise periodical meetings to discuss some scientific papers. Candidates will be invited to present to the others an overview of the main topics and open issues in their area. Compared to other Doctoral curricula in Cognitive Science, our Curriculum is characterised by a higher attention paid to psychology (especially cognitive psychology and communication psychology).

More Information


The yearly gross amount of the scholarships is € 15.343,28. Social-security contributions are deducted monthly from the gross scholarship by the University on behalf of the PhD candidates. Scholarships are paid to PhD candidates on a monthly basis, in arrears (payment is completed not earlier than the 25th day of the month).

Eligibility criteria

Please, check the Call for applications

Selection process

Qualifications and research project evaluation

Oral examination

More information in the PhD Programme Table

Additional comments



Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

    Other: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Good



Applicants, regardless of age and citizenship status, can apply for the admission to the selection procedure if they have awarded at least one of the following degrees:

  1. Laurea Magistrale, Magistrale a ciclo unico or Laurea Specialistica (Master’s Degree);
  2. Laurea di Vecchio Ordinamento (pre-1999 reform);
  3. A Second Cycle Degree awarded by academic institutions part of AFAM (Alta Formazione Artistica e Musicale);
  4. A non-Italian Second Cycle Degree (Master’s Degree or Single Cycle Degree) awarded by an academic institution equivalent to the above mentioned degrees (letters a, b, c).

Applicants who are yet to obtain their Second Cycle Degree are admitted to the selection procedure on condition that they obtain their degree by no later than October, 31st 2021.


Specific Requirements

  1. Multi-annual research proposal, with special emphasis on the activities to be completed during the first-year course. The proposal must meet the following requirements: It must mention on the cover page the curriculum of the PhD Programme the applicant is interested in and that covers the research project proposal; it cannot exceed 20,000 characters, including spaces and formulas, if present. This figure does not include: the title, the outline, references and images (such as graphs, diagrams, tables etc - where present); It must include: the state of the art; description and structure of the project; expected results; lead-time for implementation; (proposed) criteria to be used to assess the findings obtained; references.
  2. Abstract of the second cycle degree thesis. Applicants who are yet to obtain their second cycle degree may submit the draft of their thesis (abstracts cannot exceed 5,000 characters, including spaces and formulas, if present. The above figure does not include: title, outline, images such as graphs, diagrams, tables etc. if present).
  3. No more than 3 reference letters signed by Italian and/or International academics and professionals in the research field, which do not form part of the Admission Board, attesting the suitability of the applicant and his/her interest for the scientific research. Letters shall be uploaded following the procedure on Studenti Online, detailed in the Call for Applications (Art. 3.2).
  4. Motivation Letter describing the reasons why the applicant wants to attend the doctoral programme as well as the experiences carried out and the research interests that make him/her suitable for the doctoral programme (max 3,000 characters, including spaces).
  5. List of scientific publications (i.e. monographs, articles on scientific journals, volume chapters).
  6. 1st or 2nd level Professional Courses (Master di primo e secondo livello) relevant to the PhD Programme
  7. Teaching activity and tutorship carried out at university level
  8. Research activity of any kind - whether basic, applied, translational, etc. - carried out in any capacity, including when covered by research grants, and as a staff member of research projects.
  9. Documents attesting the knowledge of foreign languages
  10. Study periods spent abroad (e.g. Erasmus programme or other similar mobility programmes).
  11. Other qualifications attesting the suitability of the applicant (scholarships, prizes, etc).                 

More information in the PhD Programme Table

Work location(s)
7 position(s) available at
ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - Università di Bologna

EURAXESS offer ID: 630650


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