Campus & Community

Six selected as Center for Ethics Faculty Fellows

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The University Center for Ethics and the Professions has selected six Faculty Fellows in Ethics for the 2003-04 academic year. They include the Edmond J. Safra Faculty Fellow in Ethics and the Eugene P. Beard Faculty Fellow in Ethics. The fellows, who study ethical problems in business, government, law, medicine, and public policy, were chosen from a pool of applicants from colleges, universities, and professional institutions throughout the United States and 37 foreign countries. Nancy Rosenblum, Senator Joseph S. Clark Professor of Ethics in Politics and Government, will join the fellows in their weekly seminar, which is directed by Dennis Thompson, the Alfred North Whitehead Professor of Political Philosophy.

The faculty fellows conduct research on ethics issues in their respective fields and participate in seminars on ethics issues that arise in public and professional life. They also participate in a wide range of University activities, including seminars, curricular development, collaborative research, study groups, case-writing workshops, and clinical programs.

The 2003-04 Faculty Fellows in Ethics

Ruth Chang is assistant professor of philosophy at Rutgers University. Her research interests lie in issues concerning the nature of practical reason, normativity, and agency. She will work on a book titled “The Reach of Reason: Value, Incomparability, and Choice,” about the role of evaluative comparisons in understanding value and practical reason.

Heather Gerken is assistant professor of law at Harvard Law School (HLS). Her research centers on questions of applied democratic theory, including the role groups play in a democratic system and the translation of institutional design choices into manageable legal doctrine. She will examine the design of aggregative democratic institutions such a juries and electoral districts. Gerken has been named this year’s Eugene P. Beard Faculty Fellow in Ethics.

Erin Kelly is associate professor of philosophy at Tufts University, where she teaches moral and political philosophy. Her areas of specialization are moral philosophy and political and social philosophy. Kelly will work on a book that criticizes the reliance of many moral philosophies on the concept of desert and explores alternatives to retributive justifications of punishments.

Mathias Risse is assistant professor of public policy and philosophy at the Kennedy School of Government. His research focuses primarily on issues at the intersection of philosophy, political theory, and economics in contemporary political philosophy, and on contemporary egalitarian theories of justice. He also researches Nietzsche’s moral philosophy, and has a growing interest in just war theory.

Alex Tuckness is assistant professor of political science at Iowa State University. His areas of research and teaching are centered in political theory and public law. He will work on a book titled “Principles of International Justice: A Legislative Approach,” which will develop a reciprocity-based ethical framework for the fallible and often self-interested agents who make decisions in international politics.

Eva Weiss is a staff physician specializing in hematology and oncology at the hospital of Ludwig-Maximillians University, Munich, Germany. Her primary research interests relate to the ethical basis of individual and collective responsibility in health-care organizations. She will research organizational and corporate ethics and analyze complex ethical problems in clinical and institutional settings. Weiss has been named the 2003-04 Edmond J. Safra Faculty Fellow in Ethics.

A University committee with representatives from several of Harvard’s professional schools and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences selects the faculty fellows. The committee’s members include Joseph Badaracco (Business School), Martha Minow (Law School), Michael Sandel (government), Thomas Scanlon (philosophy), Robert Truog (Medical School), and Dennis Thompson, director, University Center for Ethics and the Professions and committee chair. The fellows join a growing community of teachers and scholars dedicated to the study of ethics. In addition to the fellowships for faculty and graduate students, the center sponsors a public lecture series on applied and professional ethics, and co-sponsors, with the President’s Office, the University-wide Tanner Lectures on Human Values.

For information on the fellowships and public lectures, visit