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Philosophy

Chloe Fitzgerald

I came to Manchester for a master's and then a PhD in Philosophy (2006-2010) and defended my thesis in March 2011 via video-link from Canada because I had already started my first postdoctoral position (a first for the Faculty and a favour I was grateful for).  I always had a huge amount of support from my supervisor, the late Peter Goldie, and from others in the department; it was an exciting time to be a graduate student at Manchester because the department was growing and there was a lot of energy around. I chose Manchester for my PhD partly for this reason. Other elite UK universities that had accepted me to do an MPhil/PhD were much less welcoming and gave me the impression that an honour was being bestowed upon me. At Manchester, it was the opposite; it seemed that they were happy to have me there and this made a big difference in my gaining confidence as a philosopher and in wanting to continue in academia.

My master's was funded by the AHRC and my PhD was funded by the Wellcome Trust, but I also obtained funding from the AHRC for the PhD that I had to turn down. Obtaining these funds was possible thanks to the commitment of the department to supporting me in my applications. For my PhD, I was supervised by Peter Goldie in Philosophy and by Jonathan Quong in the Politics Department, who provided a wonderfully illuminating contrast. There are many excellent political/moral philosophers in the Manchester Politics department and it is worth taking advantage of this if you come to study philosophy here.

In my thesis, I analysed empirical and philosophical work on emotion and the use of intuitions in normative ethics with the aim of uncovering the phenomena involved in moral intuition. Currently, my research interests lie at the intersection of moral psychology, ethical theory, and bioethics, with a focus on automaticity, dual process theories of cognition, implicit bias and stereotypes.

Although I still work with philosophers, I am based in an interdisciplinary institute in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. I am a postdoctoral fellow on the Swiss National Science Foundation project, ‘Understanding implicit bias in clinical care’, with Primary Investigator Samia Hurst. We are conducting empirical research into the presence of implicit bias in physicians and testing interventions that might reduce these biases. I have always enjoyed working at the boundaries where disciplines meet and here I have the opportunity to combine philosophical rigour with research in psychology and clinical ethics.

I first started working in bioethics when I became a postdoctoral fellow on the Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded project, ‘Let conscience be their guide?  Conscientious refusals in reproductive health care’, led by Carolyn McLeod in the Philosophy department of the University of Western Ontario, Canada.  Before that, in 2011, I was a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre de Recherche en Éthique de l'Université de Montréal (CRÉUM) for 9 months, where I worked with Christine Tappolet, who was my supervisor, but also Daniel Weinstock, the director of CRÉUM, among others.