This webpage hasn’t been updated since February 2018! The below is old news. Slightly more current information available here: https://sites.google.com/view/hannemwatkins/
By day, I’m a post doctoral research fellow at The University of Pennsylvania, working with Geoff Goodwin. By night… I’m probably asleep. But in between work and sleep, I try to find the time to arrange and rearrange my thoughts about moral psychology, and share some of those thoughts on this blog.
Often, lately, my thoughts have been about How to Do (Social) Psychology, and How to Talk About Doing It. It’s all very meta! Psychology is going through a bit of a crisis/upheaval/navel-gazing phase at the moment, and I’m both personally and professionally interested in how it is all shaking out.
On a more directly research-related topic: I did my PhD on the moral psychology of war (at The University of Melbourne) and it is a broad topic which won’t quite let me go… so stay tuned, as this blog provides an outlet for writing about all the research and ideas that are still tumbling around in my mind.
The project I am working on at the moment, however, is only related to my thesis if you believe Bill McKibben’s claim that we should declare war on climate change. The project is about Environmental Exemplars (we’re funded by The Moral Beacons Project). What are the emotional, cognitive, and social factors that make these particular people (soldiers in McKibben’s war?) exceptionally dedicated to environmental causes? What role does conservatism play in their commitment to conserving the environment? Can environmental exemplars function as role models for others, or is their extreme devotion seen as beyond the capacities of “mere mortals”? As the number of scare quotes in this paragraph indicates, grappling with these research questions also involves exploring foundational philosophical issues about what it might mean to be “morally exceptional”.
Finally, my experiences with the PhD and the job hunt are still fresh in my mind; and I’ll no doubt continue to learn as a post doc as well. Therefore, for the sake of others who will some day find themselves in the same position, I will also provide updates on my progress, with posts such as “Here Is A Thing I Found Helpful” and “Don’t Make My Mistake” hopefully being recurring themes (but not toooo recurring, for that latter one). These unsolicited advice posts will be mostly targeted at Australians and psych students, but others might find them useful too! They also often weirdly turn into book recommendations. I really ❤ reading novels.
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