Since our first cohort in 2007, our General Ethics Postdoctoral Fellows participate in the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society’s intellectual life, teach one class per year, interact with undergraduates in the Ethics in Society Program, and contribute to an interdisciplinary ethics community across campus. These fellows, all trained in Political Theory or Philosophy, have normative research interests spanning diverse issues including environmental ethics, global justice, education, immigration, and inequality.
Daniel Hutton Ferris
Daniel completed his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Toronto. He is a democratic theorist who draws heavily on empirical research to help develop normative analyses of important ongoing transformations in political life. His doctoral work analyzed the consequences for democratic legitimacy of the breakdown of post-war patterns of party competition, the rise of participatory and decentred forms of network governance, and – in short – the increasing dynamism and fragmentation of systems of political representation. At Stanford, Daniel is thinking about how to push back against dangerous forms of populism and how to democratize processes of transnational representation. He has a teaching interest in comparative political theory.
Kal received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Maryland, College Park. His research interests are in philosophy of science (especially biology), philosophy of race, and political philosophy. In his dissertation project, he develops a novel account of the mechanistic approach to scientific explanation. Kal is working on applying the approach he develops to questions of causation and explanation in medicine and economics. His research in philosophy of race examines the explanatory role of race in biomedicine and how racialization influences biomedical outcomes. In political philosophy, he is working on developing an account of domination. Kal’s position is in partnership with the Department of Philosophy.
Valerie completed her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Duke University. Her research concerns ethical and political issues related to social sorting: the preferences and structures that segregate people into social groups, especially those defined by race and class. Her dissertation analyzes the tension between freedom of association and the democratic ideal of equal opportunity. Her current work extends this line of research, focusing on issues of justice brought up by different scales of human movement. Specifically, Valerie is exploring the topic of domestic migration , otherwise known as “residential mobility,” and its relationship to both neighborhood-level segregation and international immigration.
Interdisciplinary Ethics Fellows are matched with a partner center to enhance their normative scholarship through engagement with scholars from social science, life science, natural science, and engineering. The program is rooted in the commitment of the Center for Ethics in Society to bringing ethical reflection to bear on pressing social problems. The premise of this program is that the normative scholarship of our fellows will be enhanced by engagement with empirically-oriented scholars.
The two incoming fellows are matched with, and funded by a generous gift from Apple University. In its fifth year, this partnership enables Interdisciplinary Ethics Fellows to conduct research under the guidance of Apple University faculty member Joshua Cohen.
Linda completed her Ph.D. in Political Theory at the University of Oxford. Her work is in moral, political, and legal philosophy, and focuses on the ethics of war, global rectificatory justice, and issues in normative and practical ethics. Her doctoral thesis examined questions of justice in armed humanitarian intervention. Linda is also interested in the ethical implications of artificial intelligence. As a Fellow-in-Residence with Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, and Technology and Human Rights Fellow with the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, she has been exploring questions that arise as we broaden theories of justice, rights, and defensive harming beyond their typical confines.
Henrik received his Ph.D. in Political Theory from the University of Oxford. His doctoral thesis concerns the relationship between liberalism and democracy. In it, he argues that so-called public reason liberalism, a widespread view of legitimacy that says that citizens must have sufficient reason to accept the laws that bind them, does not pay enough attention to democratic values. He then develops and defends a version of public reason that upholds the values of both liberalism and democracy. Henrik’s work at Stanford will focus on how the digital public sphere should be improved to realize its full potential and how deep disagreement over empirical matters should be conceptualized in public reason.
Stanford Embedded EthiCS is a collaborative program that embeds the teaching of ethics directly into the core undergraduate courses of Stanford’s computer science curriculum. Working in collaboration with CS faculty and graduate students, the fellow creates curricular materials, course assignments, and teaches ethics modules across three to six courses. The fellow also participates in the intellectual life of Ethics in Society and the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI).
Diana Acosta Navas
Diana received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Harvard University, where she was a member of the Embedded EthiCS program and worked as adjunct lecturer in Ethics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Diana was a recipient of the Edmond J. Safra Center Graduate Fellowship during the 2017-2018 academic year. Her dissertation comprises three essays, which explore issues related to the protection of human rights in scenarios where violence, prejudice and inequality prevent their effective exercise. The first addresses the question of how to best uphold the moral principles that inspire the right to free speech in a context where widespread prejudice threatens to cause serious harm. The second analyzes the moral and political significance of truth and reconciliation commissions. The third examines how institutions of transitional justice can be justified to the victims of human rights violations.