Fellows 2021/22

Jessica Fischer is a Ph.D. candidate in the Philosophy Department at University College London. Her work is supervised by Véronique Munoz-Dardé, Professor of Philosophy. She has also been teaching at UCL since 2017 and was a Visiting Student Researcher at Princeton University during the spring term of 2020. Her research focuses on normative ethics and political philosophy. She describes her project, »The Weight of Numbers in Social Policymaking,« as follows: »Most people hold that when costs are equal, we ought to bring about more rather than less good. In fact, this claim that we have a pro tanto duty to maximize the good underwrites a large range of popular approaches in governmental distribution of resources, health care, responses to disaster, and individual action. In my research, I argue that the popular belief that individuals have a pro tanto duty to maximize the good is mistaken and suggest that moral theories which claim that we have such a duty, fail to accurately reflect our common-sense intuitions and moral commitments.« Recently, one of her research articles appeared in Philosophy (2021).

William Levine received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2019. From 2019 to 2021, he was an Early Career Fellow at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg of the University of Göttingen. His project »Radical Kantianism and the Ideal of Emancipation« aims to uncover a tradition of 19th and 20th century Kantian political thought that argued for robust ideals of social and economic emancipation to be achieved through collective exertions of popular agency and social reform. He traces the history of radical Kantianism from its germs in Kant’s political thought to its reception and reinvention in successive crisis moments in Germany: from the early 19th century to its socialist revival post-1848, to its key role in debates within the early Social Democratic Party of Germany, and finally into World War I and the early Weimar Republic. According to Levine, recovering the history of Kantian socialism can deepen and enrich key debates in ethics, the theory of ideals, and social transformation. His research has been published in Political Theory (2021).

Nica Siegel is finishing her Ph.D. in political theory at Yale University in the summer term of 2021. Previously, she completed a bachelor’s degree in law and social theory with honors at Amherst College. She then served as an intern and research fellow in land reform, customary law, and socioeconomic rights at the Legal Resources Centre in Cape Town, South Africa’s largest public interest clinic, which litigates constitutional and human rights cases. Her project »A Political Theory of Exhaustion« reconstructs the centrality of the concept, specter, and experience of exhaustion to debates about social transformation in the 20th century. Engaging centrally with the work of Herbert Marcuse, Hannah Arendt, and Frantz Fanon, the project identifies exhaustion as a central feature of the phenomenology of action and its frustrations, and rethinks, from this premise, the role of critique in mediating and comprehending political disappointment. This conceptual legacy draws forward the unthought challenge of exhaustion for the project of critical theory today. The project builds on broader interests in continental philosophy, psychoanalysis, and legal theory, with a particular focus on South African jurisprudence. Her work appeared in PhiloSOPHIA (forthcoming), Theoria (2015), and the South African Journal on Human Rights (2015).