NOW OPEN: Four Positions in Financial Ethics

The University of Gothenburg seeks to establish a new research group in practical philosophy dedicated to ethical and political issues raised by the financial system. There is a growing consensus that financial agents and markets are failing to live up to their social responsibilities. The global financial crisis demonstrated how misaligned incentives and poor regulations impose extreme risks on both the financial system itself and society at large. But a more general problem is the seeming inability of financial markets to address the great sustainability challenges of our times, such as global poverty and the threat of climate change.

These overarching issues can be broken down into many subtopics, which in turn raise questions of more general philosophical concern. Possible subtopics include: * the proper objective of private companies and the division of moral labour in society; * the ethics of speculation and gambling; * insider trading and the importance of ‘fair play’ in markets; * the legitimacy of paternalism in dealing with clients; * incentive- versus desert-based views on justice in pay; * the Tobin tax and the legitimacy of international tax regimes; * the role of central banks and the justification of virtual or international currencies; * microfinance and poor people’s right to credit; and * Islamic finance and the moral critique of usury.

A total of four positions are advertised (click on the links to read more):

  • A research fellowship (3 years) on some suitable subtopic in financial ethics (see above). The fellow is expected to have a strong track record in financial ethics and an ambition to strengthen the field. He or she will aid in directing the group which includes co-supervision of junior colleagues.
  • A post-doc fellowship (2 years) on the specific subtopic of virtual currencies (Bitcoin) and political philosophy. Is there are strong moral right protecting individuals’ own choice of money or should such choices be restricted by central banks?
  • A PhD studentship (4 years) on the specific subtopic of justice in pay. Are wages and bonus programs best justified as rewards for past performance (desert) or incentives for future performance (consequences)? What does this imply for current pay practices in finance?
  • A PhD studentship (4 years) on some suitable subtopic in financial ethics (see above).

All positions are fully funded and salaried at competitive levels. Applicants must have the formal qualifications for positions in practical philosophy (PhD or MA, respectively), but at least some familiarity with financial theory or practice is also expected. The application should include a project plan (max 2500 words) where you outline the chosen subtopic, its relevance and the theories, methods and literatures that you plan to use.

Deadline for applications is October 10, 2016. To apply, please visit the university’s job application portal:


The practical philosophy unit at the University of Gothenburg has a long tradition of doing applied ethics in close contact with the basic theoretical development of moral philosophy, as well as close interdisciplinary collaborations with relevant specialists, practitioners and policy makers. It has recently grown considerably from the establishment of the Gothenburg Responsibility Project that brings together philosophers working on normative ethics, metaethics, the philosophy of agency, and applied ethics around issues of moral responsibility.

The new positions are funded by the University of Gothenburg, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation, and the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra).

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