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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Manon Garcia Appointed to the Harvard Society of Fellows

March 14, 2019
Manon Garcia, Fellow-in-Residence in 2017-18, has been appointed a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows in 2019-2021. In July 2021, she will be joining the Philosophy department at Yale University as an assistant professor. Congratulations, Manon, on this wonderful news! 

Undergraduate Seniors Submit Theses

March 13, 2019

Congratulations to those of our senior Undergraduate Fellows who submitted their senior theses today!

In the kind words of one Fellow, "Thank you for making the U-Fellow program such a strong community. I never felt alone in the writing process thanks to Safra and the friends I met through it. What a joyous occasion!" We share your joy, and are proud of all your hard work.

We're cheering on the rest of you who are approaching the finish line. You are almost there!

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For the Record

‘For the Record’ is a feature where our Fellows-in-Residence and Graduate Fellows have a chance to present their research ideas informally, reflect on their experience at the Center, or report on Center events.

This month's For the Record comes from Graduate Fellow Rachel Achs, PhD candidate in Philosophy. Her primary research is in ethics and moral psychology, although she has also long maintained an interest in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant on a breadth of topics ranging from metaphysics to aesthetics.

Blame and Conventional Meaning
Rachel Achs 

Many theoretical questions seem especially pressing in the context of the unfolding #MeToo movement. Those most related to my own work in moral philosophy are about blame and its warrant: What makes it appropriate to blame people for their mistakes, particularly when blaming involves an attempt or desire to retaliate against an offender by harming that person? And what sorts of penalties are appropriately matched to what sorts of violations? 

One thing that makes it difficult to theorize about blame is that it’s not a particularly unified concept. There are diverse ways of blaming – frustrated yelling, cold silence, public “calling out,” private resentment, punitive sanctions – and philosophers have disagreed over what, if any, essential ingredients blame has. Some have thought that blame consists in a set of judgments about wrongdoing and its consequences; others have thought that blame essentially includes a physiological emotional reaction; and others still, a way of behaving, or a desire that the wrongdoing not have occurred, or a reorientation of one’s relationship with the alleged wrongdoer. In my own view, what unifies the diverse manifestations of blame into a singular phenomenon is actually the blamer’s own conception of what she is doing. Read more

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