Visiting scholars explore ethics, human values

The University Center for Human Values has named its roster of visiting fellows and faculty for 2008-09. The visitors are devoting a year’s residence at Princeton to research, writing and teaching about ethics and human values.

Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellows 2008-09

Leland de la Durantaye is an assistant professor in the Department of English and American Language and Literature at Harvard University. He is a literary critic, journalist and scholar whose work focuses on aesthetics and ethics. He is the author of “Style Is Matter: The Moral Art of Vladimir Nabokov” and the forthcoming “The Idea of the Work: Giorgio Agamben’s Philosophy of Potentiality.” While at Princeton, de la Durantaye will be working on a book, “The Values of Fiction and the Fiction of Values: Remorse, Retribution and Reconciliation in Modern Literature,” that will examine the ways in which literature creates and reinforces values.

Ioannis Evrigenis is an assistant professor of political science at Tufts University. He is the author of “Fear of Enemies and Collective Action” and articles on issues in ancient and modern political thought. He also co-edited Johann Gottfried Herder’s “Another Philosophy of History and Selected Political Writings.” At Princeton, Evrigenis will be working on a study of the concept of the state of nature in political thought titled “Images of Anarchy.”

David Lefkowitz is an assistant professor in the philosophy department at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. His research focuses on the morality of obedience and disobedience to law, philosophical issues in international law and questions of war and morality. While at Princeton, he intends to complete a monograph titled “The Duty to Obey the Law and Its Limits: Domestic and International.”

Frank Lovett is an assistant professor of political science at Washington University in St. Louis, where his research focuses on the role of political freedom and domination in developing theories of justice, equality and the rule of law. He currently is completing a book tentatively titled “A General Theory of Domination.” While at Princeton, Lovett will be studying the challenge of multicultural accommodation, especially as it relates to the concern that the special accommodation of some groups’ social practices might lead to the domination of vulnerable persons within those groups.

José Luis Martí is an associate professor of law at Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona, Spain. He specializes in democratic theory, theories of political representation, deliberative democracy, negotiation theory and republicanism. Martí has published several books and articles on deliberative democracy and republicanism. At Princeton, he will work on legal republicanism and plans to write a book on the republican perspective on criminal law.

Sigrún Svavarsdóttir is an associate professor of philosophy at Ohio State University who specializes in moral philosophy. The author of “Thinking in Moral Terms,” she also has published articles on moral motivation, moral judgments, practical rationality and objectivity in ethics. While at Prince-ton, she will be working on a book titled “Disparate Evaluative Domains: Practical Rationality and Value.”

Jeffrey Tulis, an associate professor of government at the University of Texas-Austin, teaches political theory and American politics. His forthcoming publications include a book titled “The Politics of Deference” and articles on emergency power, impeachment and separation of powers. In fall 2007, a special issue of the journal Critical Review was devoted to a 20-year retrospective on Tulis’ book “The Rhetorical Presidency.” At Princeton, his project will be a book (with Nicole Mellow) titled “Legacies of Loss in American Politics” about the transformation of massive political failure into long-term success. Tulis also will be a fellow in the Program in Ethics and Public Affairs.

Resident faculty fellow

Sarah McGrath, assistant professor of philosophy, joined the Princeton faculty in fall 2007. Previously she was an assistant professor at the College of the Holy Cross and at Brandeis University. Her primary areas of interest are metaphysics and ethics. McGrath’s recent publications include articles on “Moral Disagreement,” “Causation by Omission” and “Moral Knowledge by Perception.” This year, she will be working on two projects: one focusing on ethical issues surrounding the buying and selling of various goods and activities that have often been thought to be morally problematic; and the other concerning issues in moral epistemology, including the question of whether we should believe in moral experts.

Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Associate Professor for Distinguished Teaching

Lawrie Balfour is an associate professor of politics at the University of Virginia. A political theorist whose primary focus is democracy, race and racism, she is the author of “The Evidence of Things Not Said: James Baldwin and the Promise of American Democracy” and is completing a book on W.E.B. Du Bois’ political thought. While at Princeton, she plans to offer a course on politics and memory and to finish a book manuscript titled “Reparations: A Democratic Idea.”

Harold T. Shapiro Postdoctoral Fellow in Bioethics

Bennett Foddy received his D.Phil. in bioethics from the University of Melbourne in 2007. In his second year as a Shapiro Postdoctoral Fellow, Foddy is developing a novel account of addictive motivation in which he seeks to replace the dominant understanding of addictive behavior that informs current philosophical and biological literature. He is the author of numerous articles, including “Can Addicted People Consent to the Prescription of Their Drug?” and “The Ethics of Genetic Testing in Sport,” and a chapter titled “Performance Enhancement and the Spirit of Sport” in the book “Principles of Healthcare Ethics.”

Mellon Visiting Professor

Peter Brooks, the Sterling Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Yale University, will be the Mellon Visiting Professor from 2008-12 in the Department of Comparative Literature and the University Center for Human Values and a lecturer with the rank of professor from 2008-14. His scholarly work crosses several disciplines, including literature, law and psychiatry. He currently directs a research project called “Ethics in Reading and Cultures of Professionalism,” through which he will offer a series of seminars at Prince-ton. Brooks received a $1.5 million Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Distinguished Achievement Award in 2007, which he will use to initiate a dialogue on the teaching of the humanities and professional education through his seminar series, workshops and guest lectures. The Mellon award citation describes Brooks as “one of the leading literary critics of his generation.” Brooks’ main areas of interest are the French 19th-century novel, European Romanticism and the theory of narrative. He was the founding director of Yale’s Whitney Humanities Center, which promotes cross-disciplinary study of literature and other fields.