We're pleased to introduce our incoming 2017-2018 postdoctoral fellows.
General Ethics Postdoctoral Fellows
Since 2007, each small cohort of General Ethics Fellows has been involved in research, teaching, mentoring students in the Ethics in Society Undergraduate Program, and helping to develop an interdisciplinary ethics community across campus. Our Fellows have normative research interests, and their work shapes international discourse around inequality, education, international justice, environmental ethics, and the ethics of technology.
Hannah is completing a PhD in philosophy at University College London. Her main research interests are in moral and political philosophy, with a particular focus on concepts of property and self-ownership. Her doctoral thesis addresses questions around ownership of the human body and the extent to which we ought to be able to treat aspects of ourselves as property. She argues that such questions require us to engage seriously with the fact that as embodied beings, the categories 'object' and 'person' are not mutually exclusive, while resisting the conclusion that our bodies are fundamentally our property. The thesis develops an institutional approach to property that provides a robust theoretical basis for distinguishing ourselves as inalienable, some aspects of our bodies as potentially so, and external objects as straightforwardly so. Her broader research engages with the range of conventions used to regulate uses of the body, including property, contract, consent and promising.
Laura Gillespie is completing her PhD in philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her current research focuses on the philosophical treatment of our responses to perceived violations of moral, legal, and social norms--particularly blame, punishment, forgiveness, guilt, and shame. In her dissertation she considers the possible place and value of punishment in a range of interpersonal (as opposed to institutional) contexts, including childhood punishment, self-punishment, and punishment between friends. The aim of this project is two-fold: first, to better spell out some of the ways in which blaming behaviors are (and are not) appropriately manifested interpersonally; and, second, to shed new light on some old questions about the general nature of punishment and its justification. Her research more generally includes work on issues about agency, responsibility, moral psychology and development, practical reasoning, law, identity, possibility, and imagination.
Fay Niker is currently completing her PhD in political theory at the University of Warwick. Her research on the ethics of public nudging (entitled "Living Well by Design") was awarded a Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy grant in 2015, together with the John L. Stanley award for the most outstanding project in the Ethics category. Alongside her doctoral research, Fay is also involved in interdisciplinary collaborations, principally with members of the National Core for Neuroethics, University of British Columbia. Her research and teaching interests include: contemporary political theory, applied ethics (including neuroethics and the ethics of technology), behavioral public policy, and intersections between normative and empirical research.
Interdisciplinary Ethics Postdoctoral Fellows
Last year, the Center welcomed its first cohort of Interdisciplinary Ethics Postdoctoral Fellows, who partnered with research centers on campus to enrich their intellectual lives and training. This year, we continue our Interdisciplinary Ethics Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, while also deepening our ties to the broader community by partnering with Apple University. Thanks to their generous support, in Fall of 2017 we will welcome two fellows to conduct research partly under the guidance of Apple University faculty member (and emeritus Stanford professor) Joshua Cohen; their work will focus on issues at the intersection of ethics and technology, with a particular focus on the ethical considerations that arise from automated systems and machine learning. As residents of Silicon Valley, we are uniquely positioned to explore the ethical implications of our world's ever-expanding technologies, and we are excited about this opportunity.
Johannes obtained a PhD in philosophy and an MSc in philosophy and public policy from the London School of Economics. He also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Johannes investigates the limits of agency in his work, exploring in particular whether agency can be found outside the human domain. He argues that corporations, states, or robots are agents that can be morally responsible for their actions. Currently he is analyzing situations in which different kinds of agency mesh, namely in joint actions between humans and artificial intelligence. Beyond this focus on theoretical issues, Johannes is interested in topics that challenge liberal democratic theory, such as the right to asylum, the constraints of sovereign debt, and the limits of privacy.
Jason Millar researches the ethics and governance of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), with a focus on developing ethically informed design methodologies for use in the design of autonomous cars, and social and military robotics. Jason has a PhD in philosophy from Queen's University, as well as a degree in engineering physics, and worked for several years as an engineer before turning his full-time attention to issues in applied ethics. He has authored book chapters, policy reports, and articles on the ethics and governance of robotics and AI. In 2015, Jason provided expert testimony at the United Nations CCW on the ethics of meaningful human control in military robots. His work is regularly featured internationally in the media. He recently authored a chapter in the forthcoming Robot Ethics 2.0 (OUP), and is co-author of chapters in Robot Law (Edward Elgar) and the forthcoming Oxford Handbook on the Law and Regulation of Technology (OUP).