Postdoc position “Ethics of Precommitment”

Research / Academic

What makes actors (individual or corporate) cooperate and comply with policies (e.g., “reduce one’s carbon footprint by 55% in 2030”)? A selected group may not want to cooperate. But others are actually willing to cooperate, but may still fail due to procrastination. Cooperation is costly, and for that reason it can be tempting to put off. Moreover, given certain “intransitive preference loops”, it can be tempting to keep delaying, and one may never meet any deadlines at all (cf. Andreou’s “Environmental preservation and second-order procrastination”, PPA 2007). In such cases, precommitment strategies can help out. Precommitment strategies are techniques to help actors make decisions that align with their own goals. The idea is that they can overcome the temptation to defect by committing in advance to a certain course of action. The question: to what extent should we employ these strategies?

We invite any project proposals that relate to this theme:

  • intransitive preferences and self-destructive behaviour
  • precommitment vs. resoluteness
  • similarity interpersonal and intrapersonal dilemmas
  • responsibility questions related to these dilemmas
  • instrumental vs. non-instrumental reasons for cooperation
  • individual vs. corporate level

The postdoc project will be carried out in close collaboration with Associate Professor Wieland and members of the Moral and Political Philosophy group ( Some of our projects are described here:

Funding: SCOOP (

Your duties

  • conduct research on the “Ethics of Precommitment”, resulting in journal publications
  • participate in the research activities of the VU group and SCOOP
  • participate in relevant national and international research events
  • participate in teaching activities of the group (10% of your time)


  • the candidate has a PhD in Philosophy (obtained before December 31, 2023, at the latest)
  • the candidate is specialized in analytic ethics (as shown in PhD project, publications, and curriculum vitae)
  • affinity with relevant empirical work is an advantage (though not required)
  • excellent spoken and written English as well as strong academic writing skills are essential

Salary Benefits:

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of € 3,226 (scale 10) and a maximum € 5,929 (scale 11), depending on your education and experience. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 1 FTE.

The employment contract will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a total duration of 3 years.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • contribution to commuting expenses
Work Hours:

38 hours per week


De Boelelaan 1105