PhD candidate on Economic thinking in the Socratic authors and Aristotle
Leiden University

PhD candidate on Economic thinking in the Socratic authors and Aristotle

Netherlands 01 Apr 2021


Leiden University, located in the city of Leiden, is the oldest university in the Netherlands.


Phone: 0715272727

Visit institution page


Nonprofit organization
Host Country
01 Apr 2021
Study level
Opportunity type
Eligible Countries
This opportunity is destined for all countries
Eligible Region
All Regions

Vacancy number 21-035

Function type Academic staff, PhD positions

Hours (in fte) 1,0

External/ internal External

Location Leiden

Placed on 02 February 2021

Closing date 01 April 2021

Leiden University, The Faculty of Humanities, is looking for a

PhD candidate on Economic thinking in the Socratic authors and Aristotle 

Project description
We are looking for an excellent, highly motivated, enterprising and enthusiastic PhD candidate to join the project team. The PhD candidate will analyze economic thinking in late-5th- and 4th-century philosophical circles. This is a period that witnessed the emergence of oikonomia-literature (e.g. Xenophon’s Oeconomicus, the now lost peri oikonomias texts by Antisthenes and Xenocrates, Aristotle’s Politics I). The thesis will study selected topics from this oikonomia-literature in the broader philosophical and systemic contexts in which they functioned: texts from the Socratic circle (Aeschines of Sphettus, Antisthenes, the pseudo-Platonica), Xenophon, Plato and Aristotle. How do these thinkers understand the phenomenon of “money”? How are phenomena such as “gain” and “acquisitiveness” evaluated? What are their views on labor, property, utility? But also, what kind of theories of human nature are presupposed by these economic ideas: how do dominant conceptions of human rationality, body-soul dualism or freedom feed into economic ideas? And what kind of knowledge is this economic knowledge? How do specific discursive practices (e.g. thought experiments, dialectics, utopian discourse) shape specific economic ideas?

The thesis will consist of four or five case studies. Candidates are invited to submit a research proposal containing the design of one case study (title, research question, scholarly background, aims, method, corpus) around these questions. In their proposal, they should outline their suggested approach, main research question, and expected original contribution to the field.

The Vidi-project “From Homo Economicus to Political Animal. Human self-understanding in ancient Greek economic reflection”

The PhD candidate will be working on a subproject within the Vidi research project From Homo Economicus to Political Animal. Human Self-understanding in Ancient Greek Economic Reflection, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, and directed by dr. T.A. (Tazuko) van Berkel (assistant professor in ancient Greek language and literature at Leiden University).

From Homo Economicus to Political Animal is a research project that seeks to offer a revisionist account of the history of economic thinking in ancient Greece that explores the anthropologies (views on human nature) presupposed and produced by Greek economic texts, and the specific knowledge forms that shape these anthropologies. At the core of the project there are three fundamental questions:

The project will consist of three components that each explore the intersections of these three questions, focusing on Classical philosophical texts (PhD), Hellenistic philosophical texts and utopian discourse (postdoc), and ancient Greek folk economics (PI; Tazuko van Berkel). For more information on the Vidi-project, see the project website.

Key responsibilities

Selection criteria

Our organisation
The Faculty of Humanities is a unique international centre for the advanced study of languages, cultures, arts, and societies worldwide, in their historical contexts from prehistory to the present.  Our faculty is home to more than 6,000 students and 800 staff members. For more information, see the website of Humanities.

The Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS) is one of the seven Research Institutes of the Faculty of Humanities. LUCAS is dedicated to ground-breaking research that explores the multifaceted relationships between the arts and society.

Terms and conditions
PhD project, 4 years (1.0 FTE), starting date 1 September 2021 or sooner. Initially the employee will receive a one-year contract, with extension for the following 36 months on condition of a positive evaluation. A part-time (0.8 FTE) appointment is also possible; the full duration of the appointment will in that case be 5 years. Salary range from € 2,395.- to € 3,061.- gross per month for a fulltime appointment (pay scale P, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information, see the website.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

More information about this position and the Vidi-project may be obtained from Tazuko van Berkel, email Information about the selection procedure and about LUCAS can be obtained via Mariska de Groot, email

To apply for this vacancy, please submit your application via our online system, by clicking on the blue button at the top of this page. Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents in a single PDF file (not zipped), quoting the vacancy number:

Only applications received no later than April 1st 2021 can be considered. Interviews will take place in the week of April 19-23. For candidates living abroad interviews may be held through an online platform; depending on Dutch government measures for Covid19 the same may apply for candidates living in the Netherlands.

Choose your study destination

Choose the country you wish to travel to study for free, work or volunteer

Please find also