Graduate students named Edmond J Safra Graduate Fellows for 2017-18

May 18, 2017
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Two of the department's graduate students were recently named Edmond J Safra Graduate Fellows for the 2017-18 academic year. Diana Acosta-Navas and Noel Dominguez will join six other Safra Graduate Fellows in the fall. In addition to working on their research projects, the fellows will particpate in a weekly seminar devoted to the reading of selected works in moral and political philosophy and discussion of "research problems and strategies common to the study of practical and professional ethics." The Department of Philosophy offers its warm congratulations to Diana and Noel.

Diana Acosta-Navas is a PhD candidate in Philosophy, who works on issues in the intersection of political philosophy and philosophy of language. Her dissertation comprises three essays that explore (1) the relation between power and speech, and (2) how citizens' capability to use speech in different ways affects their standing and power as members of society. The first paper is a critical reflection on the concept of "silencing," as found in recent philosophical debates. The other two analyze the way in which specific institutions empower vulnerable members of society by enabling them to perform actions with their speech. One is focused on the institution of truth commissions; the other, on affirmative consent policies. At Harvard, Diana taught a tutorial titled "Silencing Speech." She has also worked as a teaching fellow for undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics, logic, African American studies. She holds a BA in Philosophy from Los Andes University, and an MA from the National University of Colombia.

Noel Dominguez is a PhD candidate in Philosophy. His research focuses on relational normativity, moral responsibility, and joint action. In his dissertation, Dominguez examines our moral responsibility in cases of "marginal agency" - are we responsible for unintentional actions like forgetting or those caused by implicit racial biases? He defends a relational account of moral responsibility according to which we can be blamed for our actions to the extent that they violate others' autonomy and argues that this "normative" approach to moral responsibility can better explain what we find objectionable about blameworthy instances of marginal agency than accounts focusing on the offending agent's attitudes can. At Harvard, Dominguez has taught courses in Free Will and the Philosophy of Race, and has served as a teaching fellow for undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics, metaethics, and political philosophy. He holds a BA in Philosophy and Political Science from Bard College at Simon's Rock.