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Denise Celentano

Postes occupés

2019-2020 à aujourd'hui Stagiaire postdoctoral-e,


I am a Postdoctoral Fellow (2019-2020) in the Centre for Research on Ethics at the Université de Montréal, research area “Ethics and Politics”. I was previously a Berggruen Postdoctoral Fellow in Philosophy at New York University, working on an interdisciplinary project about the normative issues of work and its long-term changes directed by Kwame Anthony Appiah. In 2019, I earned a PhD from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and the University of Catania; as a PhD student, I was based at the Centre “Maurice Halbwachs” at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. At the EHESS, I taught seminars in topics of social and political philosophy. At the CRE, I will be teaching a seminar in Philosophy of Economics.

My primary area of research is contemporary political philosophy. I am interested in problems of social justice, work, and equality, with a focus on work as a normative problem of justice. Among the questions that my research addresses there are: How do we distinguish between fair and unfair forms of work and division of labor? What forms of work are objectionable from the perspective of justice? What strategies of labor justice are compatible with – or help realizing – the ideal of social equality? Can technology help us in making social cooperation fairer?

I also have an interest in issues of distributive justice, economic ethics, feminist theory, and the political philosophy of technology. In my work, I always attempt to fruitfully combine the resources that analytical political philosophy and critical social theory provide to address some of the most pressing issues of our time.

My dissertation, Cooperating as Peers: Labor Justice between Distributive and Relational Equality, addresses the problem of labor justice with a focus on labor inequalities, proposing a new framework of labor justice based on the norm of “contributive parity”. Rather than addressing normative problems of work merely in terms of subjective autonomy and self-realization, or as distributive issues of fair access into occupations, this view conceptualizes labor justice as demanding that individuals be not prevented from contributing to social cooperation as peers with regard to four key dimensions of labor justice: economic-distributive, relational, political, and contributive. That is, in order for contributive parity to be realized, individuals should be equally free from material need, be treated as equals both in the interactions and in the structures of work, take part in decision-making processes concerning their work, and be peers with regard to the qualitative and quantitative aspects of their work.

I have recently applied this perspective to the issue of the automation of labor in the article “Automation, Labour Justice, and Equality” Ethics and Social Welfare (2019), where I address the most common responses to the problem – universal basic income, ‘workist ethics’, and post-work ethics – and argue that instead of starting from a zero-sum game between work and technology, as it is often the case, the debate on automation should rather focus on the question of how to make technology an ally in making social cooperation fair. This requires to complement concerns for autonomy in the workplace with concerns for equality.