The Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics seeks to strengthen teaching and research about pressing ethical issues; to foster sound norms of ethical reasoning and civic discussion; and to share the work of our community in the public interest. 

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Upcoming Events

2022 Jun 29

Dobbs v. Jackson: Understanding the Post-Roe Landscape

2:00pm

Location: 

Online

The Supreme Court decision for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has shocked the country. The United States is now living in a post-Roe world, and the right to abortion has lost its constitutional protection. Please join us for a discussion as we analyze this landmark decision, its underpinnings, and its impacts for abortion and other areas of law. Audience questions, especially from law students and other graduate students at Harvard, are strongly encouraged. Register for the Dobbs v. Jackson: Understanding the Post-Roe Landscape event...

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Latest News

New Podcast featuring Jonathan Hack

June 24, 2022

Director of Content & Strategy for the JHD Impact Initiative, Jonathan Hack, sat down for an episode of “Challenge. Change.” a Clark University Podcast. The episode discusses Hack's undergraduate years at Clark University and the general categories that influence judicial decision-making.

Episode 15  "Jonathan Hack '09 and Understanding Judicial Decision-making" can be listen to...

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Archon Fung Named Faculty Director of the Ash Center

June 15, 2022

We are pleased to share the news that Professor Archon Fung has been appointed faculty director of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. Fung serves as the Winthrop Laflin McCormack Professor of Citizenship and Self-Government at the Kennedy School, where he has been on the faculty since 1999.

Read the full announcement and learn more about Professor Archon Fung...

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Cook v. McKee Reaches Agreement to Strengthen Rhode Island’s Civics Education

June 15, 2022

Former Fellow in Residence, Michael Rebell, has been engaged in settlement negotiations with the Rhode Island Commissioner of Education and other defendants in Cook v. McKee. The negotiations have led to an agreement with the Commissioner and the Rhode Island Department of Education. 

The following is a joint statement on Cook v. McKee from RIDE Commissioner Infante-Green, Cook et al, and...

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Tommie Shelby Elected Co-Chair of Pulitzer Prize Board

June 7, 2022

Faculty committee member Tommie Shelby along with Neil Brown have been elected as co-chairs of the Pulitzer Prize Board.

Brown is the President of The Poynter Institute, and Shelby is the Caldwell Titcomb Professor of African and African American Studies and Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University.

The Pulitzer Prizes, which are administered at Columbia University, has a 19-member board and is composed mainly of leading journalists or news executives from media outlets across the U.S., as well as five academics or persons in the...

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Gina Schouten Awarded Tenure

June 6, 2022
We are pleased to share the news that Gina Schouten has been awarded tenure in the Department of Philosophy. Congratulations, Gina!
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Community Profiles

Our “Community Profiles” interview series highlights the longstanding members of our community at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.

An Interview with Postdoctoral Fellow in Technology and Democracy Josh Simons

By: Alexis Jimenez Maldonado

Josh

 

Josh Simons is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Technology and Democracy at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. His research explores the political character of predictive tools like AI and machine learning and how those tools should be governed to support the flourishing of democracy. He focuses on two areas of law and policy: equality and civil rights law, and the regulation of technology companies through anti-monopoly and public law. He has written widely on equality and discrimination, platform regulation, privacy and digital rights, and public understanding of technology.  

Alexis Jimenez Maldonado: You joined the Center in 2019 as a Graduate Fellow but had been in the Center’s orbit before that. What drew you towards pursuing a fellowship with the Center? How did your fellowship influence your graduate work? 

Josh Simons: What was there not to love about the Center? One of the things that drew me to it, among many, was the interdisciplinary mode of conversation that the Center hosts. I had watched a Fellows in Residence seminar and thought the interdisciplinary conversation was awesome and could be much more widely used. I was able to subject my own work to that kind of interdisciplinary conversation and scrutiny in such a positive and supportive environment. The goal isn’t to make the respondents or the other people in the room feel big and important, but instead to really interrogate the substance of the work in an empathetic and thoughtful way. 

AJM: You are now a Postdoctoral Fellow with our JHD Impact Initiative and the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at HKS. Can you tell me about the work that you are doing this year? I know that you have a couple of projects underway.  

JS: My PhD was about how democracies should govern and regulate the design and use of predictive tools. One of the things that I found in writing my PhD is that it's a space that both requires multidisciplinary work, but it also requires conversation and engagement across different sectors. Scholars need to sit down with decision makers and both of them need to sit down with policy experts. Because if you have a particular institution that's thinking about using a machine learning system or an AI system, they have to figure out how to design it, how to use it, and how to integrate it into their existing systems. To do that, you need to get the right people around the table, having the right kind of conversation, and asking the right kinds of questions. That requires both multidisciplinary work and also cross sectoral work.  

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