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2008 British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships

We are delighted to announce that British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships have been awarded in the 2008 competition to Dr Anna Marmodoro (Oxford) and Dr Darrell Rowbottom (Bristol). Both fellows will be hosted by the Oxford Philosophy Faculty; their awards, which are for three years, will commence on 1 October 2008.

Dr Anna Marmodoro’s primary research interest is in ancient philosophy. Her proposed research project - ‘Causal Powers in Aristotle’s Philosophy of Mind’ – concerns an analytic discussion of philosophical problems extracted exegetically from Aristotle’s texts, and will also engage with the relevance of Aristotle’s proposed solutions to contemporary debates. Dr Marmodoro aims to provide an original interpretation of Aristotle’s ontology of causation and his consequent account of powers and to apply this interpretation to three problems in his philosophy of mind: the metaphysical status of perceptual properties; the unity of perceptual consciousness; and self-awareness. The project will involve an account of the realisation of powers according to Aristotle (what powers do before and after they are realised) and provide a model of ontological dependence arising from that account. It will set out the contribution Aristotle’s account of causal powers can make to contemporary theories of properties as powers which are currently being developed.

Dr Darrell Rowbottom works primarily in areas of philosophy of science. His proposed research project – ‘Group Rationality and the Dynamics of Inquiry’ – concerns the question what it is for scientists to inquire well. Epistemological research has long been individualistic in character. Rationality has been understood as a property of individual subjects, concerning their degrees of belief and how these change; and what it is to inquire well has been understood to depend only on personal conduct. On the face of it, though, this leads to a highly implausible view of inquiry: it suggests that all scientists might refuse to work with one another, beyond reading one another’s work, but nevertheless inquire in an exemplary fashion. Dr Rowbottom’s research will draw on recent developments in formal epistemology and the philosophy of science in order to address this omission. It will further understanding of rationality at the group level, as well as understanding of how inquirers can and should interact within and across disciplinary and sub-disciplinary boundaries.

Dr Marmodoro and Dr Rowbottom will join two other British Academy Postdoctoral Fellows in Philosophy at Oxford: Dr Anna Mahtani (2007) and Dr Bruno Whittle (2006).

The Faculty and the fellows are very grateful to the British Academy for its generous support.

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