Announcing 2018-19 Edmond J. Safra Graduate Fellows in Ethics

February 22, 2018

The Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University is excited to announce our Graduate Fellows in Ethics for the 2018-19 academic year.

Edmond J. Safra Graduate Fellows in Ethics:

Rachel Achs is a 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. Her dissertation is about what blame is, what it means to say that blame is "fair," and why blame is a fair response only to events over which people have voluntary control. At Harvard, Achs taught a tutorial called Philosophy of the Emotions, and a summer school class Ethics: Theory and Practice. She has also served as a teaching fellow for courses in the introduction to philosophy, ethics, epistemology, and feminist political philosophy. She holds a BA in Philosophy from Yale and an MPhil in Philosophy from Cambridge, and has been a visiting student at the University of California, Berkeley.

Elettra Bietti is an SJD candidate at Harvard Law School and an Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Her thesis focuses on information gatekeepers such as Facebook and Google. She is currently exploring these companies' moral and legal obligations towards individuals through a methodology drawn from political theory and public law, considering them as sites of contestation, in which new interests and forms of social organization demand for a reconfiguration of individual rights, entitlements, and obligations. Her current aim is to elaborate a set of deontological principles that would be acceptable to individuals, governments and information gatekeepers, and through these principles to devise practical solutions for addressing some current conundrums around the use of artificial intelligence, data privacy and gatekeeper regulation more generally. Prior to starting her doctorate, Elettra was a lawyer at a magic circle firm in London and Brussels, focusing on intellectual property disputes, EU and antitrust law. Recently she also worked for an LA-based company in film distribution and sales and volunteered for Privacy International in London. Elettra holds an LLB (Hons) degree from University College London, an LLM from Harvard Law School and a Diploma in IP Law and Practice from Oxford University. Elettra is qualified to practice law in New York, USA, and England and Wales, UK. 

Sanford Diehl is a PhD candidate in Philosophy with research interests in ethics, moral psychology, and social and political philosophy. His dissertation is about the normative significance, partial and impartial, of interpersonal justification. He is also working on a project about the nature and norms of social criticism. At Harvard, he has taught a tutorial on moral epistemology and worked as a teaching fellow for courses on Kant, Marx, moral psychology, and existentialism. He received a BA in Philosophy, with a minor in German, from Columbia University.

Louis Gerdelan is a PhD candidate in History. His research blends intellectual, cultural, environmental and legal history with the history of science. In his dissertation, Gerdelan examines the ways in which attitudes towards disasters (earthquakes, fires, storms and shipwrecks) changed over the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries within the British, French and Spanish Atlantic empires. He focuses on the interactions of different epistemologies and intellectual discourses that sought to explain or interpret catastrophes, in particular those generated by churchmen, scientists and astrologers. He seeks to demonstrate how debates over the correct moral response to calamity and attempts to systematize disaster knowledge together helped to change the way people conceived of suffering, sin and humanitarian responsibility. Gerdelan has served as a teaching fellow for a diverse range of history courses, both at Harvard and the University of Auckland, most recently as the instructor of record for an undergraduate seminar he designed on the history of disasters. He holds an MA, BA and LLB from the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Jacob Moses is a PhD candidate in the Department of the History of Science. His work in the history of biomedicine and biotechnology focuses on issues of ethics and governance, centering on the mid-twentieth century to present. His current research project seeks to develop an understanding medical regret and remorse. His dissertation tracks changing conceptions of medical harm across episodes of therapeutic change in the recent history of medicine. This work explores a set of moral and affective practices for the management of medical harm that have emerged within medical institutions alongside with the rise of bioethics. At Harvard, he has served as a teaching fellow for courses on medical ethics and history, the history and culture of stigma, and introductory classes and tutorials in the history of science. He was a 2017-2018 Ethics Pedagogy Fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. He is also affiliated with the Program on Science, Technology, and Society at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Science, Religion, and Culture Program at Harvard Divinity School. He holds an AB from Vassar College.

Charles Petersen is a PhD candidate in American Studies. His research focuses on how change happens in a society's view of itself and its possibilities-what theorists call the "social imaginary." His primary interests lie at the intersection of two scholarly movements: the history of capitalism and the history of the democratic state. Focusing on the second half of the twentieth century, he studies how quintessential processes of democratization, such as inclusion through equality of opportunity, were mobilized to produce and legitimate vast inequality. He also has longstanding interests in the history of the American West, environmental history, the history of philosophy, and the study of literature. He received a B.A. in English from Carleton College in 2005. Before coming to Harvard he worked as a journalist and critic, writing for the New York Times, the Nation, and the New York Review of Books; he has been an editor at n+1 magazine since 2007.

Lowry Pressly is a PhD candidate in Political Theory. In his dissertation on privacy, he presents a novel history and normative account of the relation of self to society, a new picture of the relation of recognition and agency to concealment and exposure, and a critique and defense of privacy based on the values to self of integration, disintegration, and freedom. At Harvard, Pressly has taught courses in ethics, modern political philosophy, and the meaning of life. He is the author of literary and cultural criticism and award-winning fiction. He holds a BA in English from the University of Georgia and a JD from Yale.

Gili Vidan is a PhD Candidate in the Department of the History of Science and research fellow at the Program on Science, Technology, and Society. Her work looks at digital technologies, changing notions of public trust and democratic governance, and narratives of crisis and future-making in the US. Vidan's dissertation traces technical attempts to solve the problems of trust and transparency, with a focus on the development of electronic payment systems and public key cryptography in late 20th- and early 21st-century US. She is an affiliate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and a doctoral associate of the Science, Religion, and Culture Program at the Harvard Divinity School. Vidan has served as a teaching fellow for courses on digital technology and culture, science and law in the US, and global science fiction. She holds a MSc in Social Science of the Internet from the University of Oxford and an AB in Social Studies from Harvard.