Congratulations to the graduate students who received research awards for the summer of 2019!
Alec Stubbs, fourth year PhD student
Alec’s research focuses on the anti-democratic nature of what he is calling “technocapitalism,” viz., an emerging form of capitalism characterized by the incessant collection of information and data, the scalability of the technocapitalist infrastructure leading to oligopolistic tendencies and capital accumulation, and the externalization of labor to a distributed market of precarious laborers. The goal is to provide a Marxian critique of these basic features of technocapitalism, demonstrate how these structures undermine participatory democracy, and then provide details about how we might structure more democratic alternatives to harness technology for the many rather than the few.
Claire Lockard, fourth year PhD student
Claire is spending part of the summer at the Collegium Phaenomenologicum in Cittá de Castello, located in the Umbria region of Italy. While there, she will be studying works by Hannah Arendt, Edmund Husserl, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Franz Fanon, and Jacques Derrida — lectures are held by leading scholars of each figure. She will also present what a portion of her dissertation: an exploration of a tension that has emerged in her work on the uses and misuses of interpretative charity in academic philosophy. One the one hand, the call for interpretative charity in academic philosophy can (re)produce unjust social, political, and epistemic conditions. On the other hand, the rejection of interpretative altogether can be a distancing strategy that relies on a politics of purity that, in the end, cannot produce a generative approach to problematic texts or thinkers. Claire is excited to work through this tension with her fellow Collegium participants, and to discover new ways that the topics and thinkers to be covered at the Collegium will inform her research.
Gina Lebkuecher, second year PhD student
Gina is developing a paper exploring the work of ancient Chinese Confucian philosopher Mengzi (Mencius), with the goal of showing how an integration of his ethics into (often Western-centric) virtue ethics canon can improve understanding of virtue as a cultivation of natural sensitivity which strengthens and informs the Western model. Through a combination with John McDowell, she argues that Mengzi’s philosophy provides a new understanding not only of the nature of the virtues but also the role of emotion, reason, and the will in virtue cultivation, thus also providing a more comprehensive understanding of how we can come to understand and improve our own virtues. The aim of this paper is not only to provide a comparative study of these two philosophers, but also to demonstrate the value of integrating Mengzi’s work into the philosophy classroom; the paper was presented at the Multicultural Philosophy Conference in Manchester, UK (July 2019).