Introducing our 2022-23 Postdoctoral Fellows

The McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society is pleased to introduce our incoming postdoctoral fellows for 2022-2023. These new fellows will teach ethics courses and engage in activities across campus as well as participate in the Center's vibrant intellectual life.

In addition to continuing our partnerships with the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI), Apple University, and the Embedded EthiCS initiative, we are excited to begin a new collaboration with the new Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability (SDSS). Read more about these exciting scholars below.

Michael Ball-Blakely

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Michael completed his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Washington. His research interests are primarily in immigration justice, socioeconomic status, and climate justice. His current work focuses on how removing barriers to low-income immigration, and working to end discretionary control over borders, can promote justice across various spheres. Michael’s dissertation argues that the current regime of border control facilitates the domination and exploitation of the global labor force by confining them to asymmetrical power relationships with transnational corporations and high-income countries. He has also written on the justice of skill-selective policies and their contribution to class-based status harms and stigmas. In future projects, he will analyze the domestic brain drain as well as how employment-based immigration visa systems contribute to gentrification. Michael will join the Center as a General Ethics Fellow.


Brett Karlan

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Brett received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Princeton University, where he wrote a dissertation on rationality, reasoning, and human bias. He works at the intersection of normative philosophy (especially epistemology and ethics) and the philosophy of science (especially cognitive science and AI). For the past two years, he has been a research fellow in the History and Philosophy of Science Department at the University of Pittsburgh, where he worked with Colin Allen on the Machine Wisdom Project. His current research focuses on how notions like rationality, reasons-responsiveness, and achievement might help us construct robust frameworks for understanding the intersection of cognition, action, and emerging technology. Brett will join the Center as an Interdisciplinary Ethics Fellow in partnership with HAI.


Ting-An Lin

Ting-An received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Rutgers University, where she also earned a Graduate Certificate in women’s and gender studies. She specializes in ethics, social and political philosophy, and feminist philosophy. Her doctoral work concerned the unfair constraints that social structures impose on different groups of people, which constitute what she called structural wrongs. She has developed a moral framework for addressing structural wrongs and used it to analyze various contemporary social issues, including sexual violence, transnational migration, and artificial intelligence bias. At Stanford, she aims to continue examining the impact of AI through a structural lens while exploring the potential of using AI or other digital tools to facilitate democratic participation and promote collective action toward social change. Ting-An will join the Center as an Interdisciplinary Ethics Fellow in partnership with HAI.


Ann Thresher

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Ann completed her Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego, working in the philosophy of science and environmental-ethics, and has two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Sydney, one in Philosophy and one in Physics. She was a graduate fellow at the Institute for Applied Ethics at UC San Diego, and a 2022 Heinrich Hertz fellow at the University of Bonn. Her work focuses on emerging environmental technologies and, in particular, what risks we’re warranted in taking to solve environmental crises. As part of this, she works extensively with scientists and policy-makers to help identify and solve the ethics questions that arise from their work. Current projects include papers on gene-drives, modelling, moratoriums, geo-engineering, and our obligations to future generations. Ann will join the Center as an Interdisciplinary Ethics Fellow in partnership with the new Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability.


Jonathan Vandenburgh

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Jonathan received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Northwestern University. His dissertation applied the theory of causal models to the meaning and epistemology of conditionals, the theory of knowledge, and the epistemology of stereotyping. He is currently using decision theory to study reasoning in ethics and epistemology and is exploring topics in social and political epistemology, such as polarization. He is also interested in the epistemology and ethics of machine learning models. Jonathan will join the Center as an Interdisciplinary Ethics Fellow in partnership with Apple University.


Benjamin Xie

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Benjamin received his Ph.D. in Information Science from the University of Washington, where he was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and also a research intern with computing education nonprofit His doctoral research explored stakeholders’ interpretations of data for equitable computing education, identifying socio-technical factors to consider when using data for equity-oriented goals. He designs and evaluates ways to contextualize data with domain expertise for equitable learning, community advocacy, and ethical AI design. He engages with computing education, human-computer interaction, and AI ethics research communities. Benjamin will join the Center as an Embedded EthiCS Fellow in partnership with HAI and the Computer Science Department.