LSE Philosophy seeks to recruit one research student for a fully funded 4-year PhD degree, contributing to the ‘Not in My Name!’ project. Applications close 13 January 2023.

The NIMN Project

In many personal and political contexts, agents justify their actions by claiming to act ‘on behalf of’ others or ‘for the sake’ of others. Doctors perform surgery on patients, parents make decisions for their children, courts punish wrongdoers for the sake of the community, governments act in the name of their subjects, and INGOs provide aid with the aim of benefitting those in need. Yet an equally familiar phenomenon is when these appeals are rejected by their subject. Patients refuse treatment, needy individuals reject aid (or aid from particular providers), and citizens oppose their leaders’ claims to promote their interests and uphold their rights. Intuitively, these forms of dissent count against, or undermine, the initial justification.

Despite the central role these phenomena play in our lives, surprisingly little is understood about the normative concepts and values that underpin them:

1. What does it mean, exactly, for an agent to act ‘on behalf’ of another person or group?
2. It seems intuitive that successfully acting on behalf of others contributes to the moral justification of one’s actions. But what explains this connection?
3. Under what circumstances do persons and groups have a right to demand that others not act on their behalf?
4. Why (and to what extent) do such demands impose constraints on the moral justifiability of others’ actions?
5. How do these constraints affect the moral justification of state action and public policy?

The NIMN protect (funded by a grant from UKRI) aims to develop a unified theoretical framework for understanding the nature and moral significance of action carried out on behalf of others and to explore these phenomena in a wide range of practical contexts (such as public health ethics, the use of force, and political protest and dissent).

The NIMN PhD Scholarship

The NINM project seeks to recruit one PhD student.

The student should have an excellent undergraduate degree and Master’s degree in philosophy or another relevant discipline, such as political theory or law.

The PhD project will be co-supervised by Dr Jonathan Parry and one other member of the LSE Philosophy Department. If you have any questions, please write to Jonathan at Jonathan will be happy to share further details of the project with potential applicants to discuss appropriate research proposals.

The student will contribute to the project by conducting philosophical research which falls within the project themes, broadly construed. Suitable topics could include:

• Paternalism in theory and practice
• Political representation
• The ethics of using force to defend others (for example, domestic rebellion or humanitarian intervention)
• Fiduciary roles and duties
• The ethics of punishment (especially victim-centred views of punishment in particular)
• The ethics of blame and social sanction
• Recent debates surrounding ‘moral standing’ and accountability
• Political obligations and political legitimacy
• The ethics of protest and resistance
• Public health ethics
• Bodily and property rights
• Normative powers (such as consent, promise, and command)
• The scope and limits of consent and refusal

This is just an indicative list and is by no means exhaustive. It is expected that many topics in moral, political and legal philosophy will intersect with project themes. Prospective students whose research project does not fit into these categories but potentially falls within project themes are encouraged to get in touch with Jonathan to discuss suitability.

The successful applicant will receive funding for a 4-year PhD at LSE. This includes payment of tuition fees (at the Home/UK level), and an annual maintenance stipend. The stipend for 2023 entry is to be confirmed, but the PhD stipend for 2022 entry was £19,688 per year.

How to apply

To apply, please apply to the MPhil/PhD in Philosophy at LSE in the usual way, following all the requirements described on the LSE website. When you apply, please indicate clearly in your proposal (in both the Statement of Academic Purpose AND the Research Proposal) that you wish to be considered for the NIMN PhD Scholarship.

You should include in your Research Proposal, a substantial description (of at least 1500 words) of a research project relevant to the NIMN project.