Jun 222018
Each year, the Kenan Institute for Ethics awards between 10 and 15 fellowships to outstanding graduate students at Duke University.

Students from any Duke graduate program may apply. What each cohort of Graduate Fellows will have in common is that their dissertation research engages in interesting ways with significant normative issues. Some students, for example – from disciplines such as philosophy, political theory, or theology – focus directly on fundamental ethical or political concepts and theories. Other fellows, from the sciences and social sciences, try to understand phenomena that are relevant to major, and often controversial, public policy debates. Still others attempt to resolve debates in their areas of research that seem to be sustained by long-standing disagreements over both empirical claims and ethical or ideological commitments.

The aim of the on-going discussions throughout the year, among the Fellows and KIE faculty members, is to enhance everyone’s ability to contribute to debates involving ethical issues, and to do so in ways that engage scholars and others within and outside of their own academic disciplines.

Ideal Graduate Fellow candidates will be in the third, fourth, or fifth year of their Ph.D. studies, finished all (or almost all) of their coursework requirements, but still developing new ideas and approaches for their dissertation research. Fellows each receive a stipend of $3,000 that supplements their current funding.

Graduate Fellows meet for a Monday seminar about a dozen times across the Fall and Spring semesters. These seminars usually feature visiting speakers and do not typically require preparation in advance. There are also two half-day workshops – one at the end of each term – in which Fellows showcase their own research.

Alumni in good standing of the Fellowship program will have access to conference- and research-travel funds during their final years in the Ph.D. program.

To apply: e-mail the application, along with a copy of your CV, to kie@duke.edu with the subject line “Graduate Fellowship.”

Deadline: 12 noon, Monday, July 16, 2018.

For further information, email kie@duke.edu with “Graduate Fellowship question” in the subject heading.

 June 22, 2018
May 142018

The Kenan Institute for Ethics will welcome two visiting professors in the 2018-19 academic year.

Margaret Hu‘s research interests include the intersection of immigration policy, national security, cybersurveillance, and civil rights. She earned her JD at Duke and is associate professor of law at Washington and Lee University School of Law.

“I am thrilled to visit with Kenan next year — honored to have this opportunity to engage in an interdisciplinary conversation on data ethics and cyber ethics.” says Hu.


Previously, Margaret Hu served as senior policy advisor for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and also as special policy counsel in the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC), Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, in Washington, D.C. Learn more about her work.


Thomas Nadelhoffer‘s main areas of research include free will, moral psychology, neuroethics, and punishment theory. He is particularly interested in research at the crossroads of philosophy and the sciences of the mind.


Dr. Nadelhoffer’s visiting professorship marks his return to the Kenan Institute for Ethics, as he spent the 2010-11 year working with Walter Sinnott-Armstrong while a post-doc with The MacArthur Foundation Law and Neuroscience Project. “I am very excited to once again join the interdisciplinary team at the Kenan Institute, where I will have the opportunity to work with students and faculty from across the Duke community,” he says.


Thomas Nadelhoffer is associate professor of philosophy at the College of Charleston, as well as an affiliate member of both the psychology department and the neuroscience program there. He has been teaching and running an experimental philosophy lab since 2012. Learn more about his work on his website.
 May 14, 2018
Mar 212018

Thursday, March 29

12 noon – 1:30 pm

Ahmadieh Family Conference Room,

KIE 101 West Duke Building (East Campus)

Lunch served; please RSVP to Hayden Hashimoto by 1:00 pm on Tuesday, March 27.

How should policymakers account for the possibility of extreme-upside events, such as might result from successfully colonizing other planets, ending malnutrition, eradicating malaria, developing autonomous vehicles, or implementing other transformational new technologies? Although there is an increasingly robust literature on catastrophic risk, which is designed to help policymakers in managing extreme-downside risks, there is no corollary literature examining the appropriate management of transformatively-good events. This talk will consider possible explanations for the general neglect of extreme-upside scenarios in policy analysis, consider the extent that existing research on extreme-downside events might be transferred to extreme-upside events, and flag reasons that “best-case scenarios” might sometimes justify distinctive policy treatment.

Arden Rowell is a Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law and Visiting Professor of Law at Duke Law. Before joining the Illinois faculty in 2010, Professor Rowell was a Bigelow Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School, from which she also received her J.D.

 March 21, 2018
Feb 212018

moral purpose
The call for submissions to the 2018 Kenan Moral Purpose Award essay competition is now open, with a deadline of midnight on Monday, March 19. The Kenan Moral Purpose Award is given for the best undergraduate student essay on the role a liberal arts education plays in students’ exploration of the personal and social purposes by which to orient their future and the intellectual, emotional, and moral commitments that make for a full life.

More information and submission instructions here: http://kenan.ethics.duke.edu/students/kenan-moral-purpose-award/

 February 21, 2018
Jan 222018

Thursday, January 25 

12:00 noon – 1:30 pm 

Ahmadieh Family Conference Room, KIE 101 West Duke Building (on East Campus) 

Lunch served; to RSVP and to request parking, please email Hayden Hashimoto by 3:00 pm on Tuesday, January 23. 

Please join the Rethinking Regulation Program at KIE for a lunch seminar on Thursday, January 25 from 12:00pm-1:30pm with  Dr. Lori Bennear. Dr. Bennear will be speaking on her paper co-authored with Jonathan Wiener on “Instrument Choice for Adaptive Regulation.”

Regulation is often viewed as a one-time decision attempting to balance benefits, costs, and risks. But under uncertainty about future changes in science, technology, and society, such one-time decisions could be suboptimal.  An approach involving “adaptive regulation” which includes ongoing monitoring and a series of multiple sequential decisions could incorporate learning over time and improve outcomes.  This paper addresses several different ways that adaptive regulation might be pursued, to develop a typology and assessment of regulatory instrument choice for adaptive regulation.

Dr. Bennear is Co-Director of the Rethinking Regulation Program at the Kenan Institute for Ethics and Associate Director for Educational Programs at the Duke University Energy Initiative. She is also the Juli Plant Grainger Associate Professor of Energy Economics and Policy at the Nicholas School of the Environment.


 January 22, 2018
Nov 032017

A new book edited by four Duke University professors examines how crises can reshape regulation and how we can learn to do better.  The book’s co-editors are Edward Balleisen, Professor of History and Duke’s Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies; Lori Bennear, the Juli Plant Grainger Associate Professor of Energy Economics and Policy at the Nicholas School of the Environment; Kimberly Krawiec, the Kathrine Robinson Everett Professor of Law; and Jonathan Wiener, the Perkins Professor of Law, Professor of Environmental Policy, and Professor of Public Policy.

The book, Policy Shock: Recalibrating Risk and Regulation After Oil Spills, Nuclear Accidents, and Financial Crises, looks at responses to events in the U.S., Europe, and Japan, and assesses how the events affected laws, regulations, and institutions. (A special discount of 30% off the list price is available from Cambridge University Press until June 1, 2018, by entering the code:  Policy17 .)

For more information, see this story.

 November 3, 2017
Oct 012017

Lori Bennear, co-director of the Rethinking Regulation Program at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, has been appointed to a National Academy of Sciences committee tasked with reviewing the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Offshore Oil and Gas Operations Inspection Program.

The 13-member committee is comprised of a variety of scholars and experts who are charged with providing findings and recommendations to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement regarding its inspection program and goals over the next decade. In 2015, 16 percent of U.S. production of crude oil and 7 percent of natural gas withdrawals happened in federal offshore waters. The U.S. Geologic Survey estimates that 30 percent of the world’s remaining oil and gas reserves lie in the Arctic ocean, a significant share of which could be accessible from offshore drilling in U.S. waters off the coast of Alaska.

“From an ethics standpoint, the work of this committee is critical to help improve regulations to balance the sometimes-conflicting values of energy security and energy independence, with environmental protection and worker safety,” Bennear said.

A leading voice in research and scholarship assessing effectiveness of environmental policies and regulation, Bennear was also recently named Duke’s inaugural Juli Plant Grainger Associate Professor of Energy Economics and Policy. Her primary appointment is associate professor of environmental economics and policy at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, with secondary faculty appointments at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and its Economics Department, along with serving as co-director of Rethinking Regulation.

 October 1, 2017
Sep 202017

With seven engagements across two days at Duke, Kenan Institute for Ethics’ Practitioner-in-Residence Cass Sunstein presented to hundreds of students, faculty, staff and community members this week. He visited campus in collaboration with the Rethinking Regulation Program at Kenan and Duke Law School.

Sunstein, Harvard’s Robert Walmsley University Professor and founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School, shared a breadth of his regulatory expertise on a range of topics, from moral commitments in cost-benefit analysis to political division, food labeling and the process of impeachment. In addition to his work at Harvard, Sunstein previously acted as Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama Administration.

During talks at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, Sunstein used topics of climate change and how people hold political beliefs to illustrate shifting ethical challenges in America. It can be hard to change minds, he said, because of how people can strongly hold to personal beliefs.

“Not liking something,” he noted, “pre-determines not believing.”

 September 20, 2017
Aug 152017

Alexander Martin, PPS ’19, served as a research assistant for the Rethinking Regulation Program at KIE in AY 2016-17. He has recently written a policy brief exploring the implications of recommendations made by Nicholas Ashford and KIE Senior Fellow Andrea Renda in their paper, “Aligning Policies for Low-Carbon Systemic Innovation in Europe” (CEPS 2016).

Read Martin’s policy brief, “Aligning Policies: Sustainable Development, Innovation & Decarbonization in Europe and Beyond” here.

 August 15, 2017
Aug 042017

This fall, Rethinking Regulation at the Kenan Institute for Ethics will host a new faculty member: Sarah Bloom Raskin, former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Raskin, who will act as a Rubenstein Fellow at Duke, comes to Kenan after serving at the Treasury from March 2014 to January 2017. In addition to research related to markets, regulation and public leadership, Raskin will offer guest lectures, advise students and participate in public events.

“We’re thrilled to to have Sarah working with Rethinking Regulation to provide a unique perspective on policies that shape markets in the U.S. and around the world,” said Suzanne Shanahan, the Nannerl O. Keohane Director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

Among her priorities as second-in-command at the Treasury, Raskin emphasized solutions to enhance Americans’ shared prosperity, the resilience of financial infrastructures and consumer safeguards in the financial marketplace.

Jonathan B. Wiener, co-director of Kenan’s Rethinking Regulation, noted the breadth of expertise Raskin will bring to the program as it explores a variety of areas in research and practice.

“We are eagerly looking forward to working together with Sarah on questions on which she has extraordinary insight, such as how financial regulation can promote resilience to shocks, how financial regulatory systems can learn and adapt to change, and how conflict and cooperation can be managed among multiple regulatory agencies and oversight bodies,” said Wiener, who also serves as Perkins Professor of Law, Public Policy and Environmental Policy at Duke.

For more information about Raskin’s career and her appointment, which also includes the Global Financial Markets Center at Duke Law School, see this story on Duke Today.

 August 4, 2017