World-Leading Doctoral Scholarship in Philosophy and Psychology2022 entry
The University of St Andrews is pleased to offer a full scholarship funded by St Leonard’s Postgraduate College, to support an exceptional student undertaking doctoral research in the following project:
Quotative Be Like: Evolution, Development, and Culture, and Other Minds
There are a variety of familiar ways of talking about mental states and speech acts:
Direct Discourse (DD)
a. Ellen said, "I'm leaving!"
b. Akira thought, “Everyone should go home.”
Indirect Discourse (ID)
a. Ellen said that she was leaving.
b. Akira believed that everyone should go home.
DD and ID are well-studied in the philosophical and psychological literature, with thousands of papers devoted to the evolutionary history of belief attribution, the semantics of DD and ID constructions, the development of ‘theory of mind’ in children (usually characterised in terms of understanding belief), among other topics.
By contrast, one common way we talk about mental states and speech acts has entirely escaped attention, both in philosophy and in psychology: quotative be like.
Quotative Be Like (QBL)
a. Ellen was like “I'm leaving!”
b. Akira was like "Everyone should go home."
This neglect is striking: according to recent sociolinguistic corpus studies, QBLis the most common way of talking about mental states and speech acts in many dialects of English – more common than, for example, says or thinks – and its frequency is growing rapidly. And QBL functions differently to both DD and ID: unlike DD and ID, QBL can be used with gestures; unlike ID, QBL requires a quotation or a gesture; and QBL can be used to report both speech acts and mental states. Moreover, QBL is a recent addition to English (and has spread to many other languages from English), and retains an informal flavour.
QBL is a little studied, but distinctive and important, way of thinking and talking about people and their minds. Among the crucial questions to be addressed:
1. How, and when, do children develop an understanding of QBL? (This question will be addressed using the methods of experimental psychology, building on the large literature on understanding belief.)
2. What does the development of QBL understanding, and comparison to the development of understanding of belief, tell us about how humans understand other minds? For example, to what extent is the ability to understand other minds and innate module (determined largely by evolution), and to what extent is it learned (and potentially in part culturally determined–as the fact that QBL developed only in the past 50 years may suggest)?
3. What is the best semantic account of QBL ascriptions in light of the facts sketched above and the facts about the development of QBL understanding? (This question will be addressed with attention to philosophical theorising about the semantics of DD and ID constructions.)
Domicile for fee status
Level of study
Postgraduate Research (Doctoral)
Year of entry
The 2022-2023 academic year at any of the below entry dates:
- September 2022
- October 2022
- January 2023
- Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies
- Psychology and Neuroscience
Applicants must not already (i) hold a doctoral degree; or (ii) be matriculated for a doctoral degree at the University of St Andrews or another institution.
Duration of award
Up to 3 years. The successful candidate will be expected to have completed the doctorate degree by the end of the award term. The award term excludes the continuation period and any extension periods.
Value of award
The award covers full tuition fees for the award term as well as an annual maintenance payable at the standard UK Research Council rate (the 2021-22 annual rate is £15,609).
Tuition or maintenance award
Tuition and maintenance.
Doctoral Research at St Andrews
As a doctoral student at the University of St Andrews you will be part of a growing, vibrant, and intellectually stimulating postgraduate community. St Andrews is one of the leading research-intensive universities in the world and offers a postgraduate experience of remarkable richness.
St Leonard’s Postgraduate College is at the heart of the postgraduate community of St Andrews. The College supports all postgraduates and aims to provide opportunities for postgraduates to come together, socially and intellectually, and make new connections.
St Leonard’s Postgraduate College works closely with the Postgraduate Society which is one of the most active societies within the Students’ Association. All doctoral students are automatically welcomed into the Postgraduate Society when they join the University.
In addition to the research training that doctoral students complete in their home School, doctoral students at St Andrews have access to GRADskills – a free, comprehensive training programme to support their academic, professional, and personal development.
- Apply for admission as a doctoral student. Please see the advice on Research programmes. After applying for your chosen course, you must allow at least four working days for processing and issue of your log in details before you can apply for the scholarship (Step 2).
- Apply separately for the scholarship by logging into My Application.
- Enter the catalogue by following the link in the email, then choosing Scholarships and funding (under 'Useful links') and then clicking View the scholarships and funding catalogue.
- Select 2022/3 as the Academic Year and click Refresh list.
- Locate World-Leading St Andrews Doctoral Scholarships in the list of scholarships (using the filter box if necessary), click Apply and complete the application form.
- You can also use the catalogue to search and apply for other scholarships for which you are eligible.
If you are a current student at St Andrews, you can access Scholarships and Funding through MySaint. However, you should wait until after you have applied for your intended postgraduate programme before doing so, to ensure that the scholarship application is linked to that course.
As part of the scholarship application you will be required to upload a personal statement. This should serve as a cover letter for the research project application as a whole, and should include:
- An outline of your suitability for the project (project criteria can be found in the "Eligibility" and "Project Description" sections above).
- Why the project interests you.
- What you would bring to the project in terms of previous skills and expertise.
- Any ideas that you may have for the realisation of the project.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any enquiries about the scholarship application process.
When do applications open?
Scholarship application deadline
11 February 2022
When should I apply for the scholarship?
Apply for the scholarship as soon as possible after you have applied for admission.
When will I hear if my application has been successful?
Within two months of the application deadline.