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Samuel Sokolsky-Tifft

Samuel Sokolsky-Tifft

PhD Candidate

Trinity College, CB21TQ


I am currently completing my PhD at Cambridge. Since November, 2018, I have been affiliated with the philosophy department of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris.

My PhD focuses on the intellectual history of Modern European cultural, political, and philosophical thought. I combine archival work with philosophical and literary analysis to reconceive the thinking of Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Frantz Fanon, and Édouard Glissant in relation to congenerous literary writers of their time. More specifically, I work on ethics, tracing the unusual lineage of writing on moral responsibility that has lain unexamined in their work. More broadly, my work suggests that in tracing this account of guilt and moral responsibility from Heidegger to Glissant, we might conceive a more ontologically grounded understanding of the relation of guilt to moral responsibility and use it to rethink the moral illogic of certain democratic penal structures, in particular the carceral structures of Western prison systems.

My areas of expertise include ethics, aesthetics, phenomenology, critical theory, poetry and poetics, and theories of history; my areas of interest include amor fati, guilt, aphantasia, and the philosophy of prison abolitionism.