PhD project

Rethinking the concept of life. A dialogue with non-Western perspectives

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Application deadline

30 June 2023

Principal Supervisor

Dr Tina Rock

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We are currently experiencing a resurgence of interest in metaphysical concepts that often remain stuck in Western modes of thinking. In this project we want to investigate the metaphysical concept of life, as explored in philosophies of (neo-)vitalism, Lebensphilosophie or the phenomenological tradition, from distinctly non-Western perspectives.

The framework of decolonisation, understood as either a political process (with the aim of political emancipation) and/or an epistemological process (with the aim of ‘decolonising the mind’) is to guide this investigation into the metaphysical concept of life. For example, it has been suggested that the concept of ‘the animal’ emerges through the afterlives of slavery and the colonial encounters of indigenous peoples, that affect human and nonhuman forms of life. What other black or indigenous experiences can shed light on the concept of ‘life’? What other metaphysical structures, ontological beliefs or epistemological stances can aid our understanding of what it means to be alive? What social and political practices should follow from this understanding of life?

How to apply

  1. Email Dr Tina Röck ( to:
    • send a copy of your CV
    • discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).
  2. After discussion with Dr Röck, you can apply via our direct application system. Apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Philosophy
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Principal supervisor

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