Research in focus: Celia Edell
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28 August, 2023
Year I started working at UBC:
Provide an overview of your research in 75 words or less:
My research lies at the intersection of feminist theory, social epistemology, and ethics with a special focus on guilt, blame, and group oppression. I'm currently working on the ethics of internet relationality.
What first motivated you (or motivates you) to conduct your research?
I'm interested in the structures that allow or encourage people to act unjustly while perceiving their own roles or actions as justified or insignificant. One way that we justify harming others is by blaming them, and my doctoral work looked at scapegoating as a way of justifying oppression. My current research looks at how the internet exacerbates the ability to view our harmful interactions online as inconsequential, and what this means for us morally.
What have you learned during your research that has surprised you the most?
I was surprised to learn that, when it comes to online abuse, anonymity actually does little to explain why we treat each other so badly online. Studies have shown that people regularly write bigoted, abusive, and otherwise toxic comments online with their real names attached. This has prompted me to look for a more complex philosophical answer to why and how internet relationality seem to obscure our moral responsibility to treat each other with dignity.
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