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Irina Schumski

img_0168.jpgI am a PhD candidate in Philosophy at the University of Warwick, on track to submitting my PhD thesis in June 2017. My current research focuses on the role of principles, exceptions, and circumstances in Kantian ethics. I am also interested in various topics in metaethics (thick concepts, constructivism, contextualism), moral psychology (love, respect, self-cultivation), political philosophy (John Dewey's political thought, ideal vs. non-ideal theory), and aesthetics.


PhD in Philosophy, University of Warwick, expected in August 2017
Visiting Scholar, University of Pittsburgh, Autumn 2015
PhD Thesis: “The Particularist Objection to Kantian Ethics”
Supervisor: Fabienne Peter

Thesis Abstract
The primary aim of my thesis is to examine whether and how Kantians can accommodate the intuitions that motivate moral particularism: the intuition that the moral realm is uncodifiably complex and that there is an exception to every rule. The secondary aim is to draw on the insights gained in this investigation to respond to objections that Kantian metaethicists have faced in the context of current debates. In the first two chapters I discuss and reject existing attempts to accommodate exceptions and complexity within a Kantian framework. I argue that these attempts fail because they rely on an overly restrictive reading of Kant’s notion of practical universality, which I call the “case-scope reading”. In the third chapter I therefore propose an alternative reading: the “agent-scope reading”. According to the latter reading, a principle can be universal even if it does not hold in all circumstances because the decisive question is whether all rational agents can agree that it would hold for any such agent in the circumstances at issue. The agent-scope reading addresses the particularists’ concerns because it entails a distinction between legitimate exceptions that are called for by the circumstances and illegitimate exceptions that agents make for themselves. As I show in chapters four and five, it also helps to dissolve Anscombe’s problem of relevant descriptions and to defend Kantian Constructivism against the objection that it detaches practical reasoning from the context in which it is embedded.

MPhil in Philosophy, University of Cambridge, 2013
MPhil Thesis: “Deweyan Doubts about the Liberalism-Egalitarianism Debate”
Supervisor: Raymond Geuss

BA in German Studies and Philosophy, University of Mannheim, 2011
Visiting Student, University of Melbourne, Autumn 2010

Awards and Fellowships

IAS Early Career Fellowship, University of Warwick, 2017-2018 (offer declined)
Chancellor’s International Scholarship, University of Warwick, 2013-2017
Full Scholarship and 2 Study Abroad Grants, Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes, 2009-2013
Fee-Waiver Scholarship, University of Mannheim, 2009-2010
Shortlisted: Fulbright Postgraduate Student Award, 2015

Papers and Talks

“The Problem of Relevant Descriptions and the Scope of Moral Principles”, forthcoming in the European Journal of Philosophy.

Work in Progress
“The Particularist Challenge to Kantian Ethics – A Trilemma”
“Kant on Self-Opacity and Self-Cultivation”
“Love and Respect as Second-Order Motives”
“How to Be a Formal Metaethical Constructivist – A Response to Street”
“Distinctively Non-Evaluative Shapelessness? Against Deflationary Accounts of the Thick”
“A Deweyan Critique of Rawls’ 'Four-Stage Sequence'”

Selected Talks
a) Invited
Response to Andrea Sangiovanni’s “Against Dignity”, Conference on “Kant, Rights, and the State”, University of Oxford, September 2016.
“How to Be a Formal Metaethical Constructivist”, Workshop on “The Prospects of Kantian Constructivism”, University of Groningen, December 2014.
b) Refereed
“The Particularist Challenge to Kantians Ethics – A Trilemma”
-Graduate Conference on “Kant, Metaethics, and Value”, Trinity College Dublin, May 2016.
-International Kant Workshop, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, April 2016.
-Conference on “Ethics and Explanation”, University of Nottingham, February 2016.
“Unpacking Kant’s Opacity Thesis”, Conference on “Conscience and Moral Self-knowledge in Kant and German Idealism”, University of Oslo, August 2015.
“Love and Respect as Second-Order Motives”, St Andrews Kant Reading Party, July 2015.
“On the Political Significance of G.A. Cohen’s Metaethical Reflections”, MANCEPT Workshops in Political Theory, September 2013.


Teaching Assistant, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick
“Meaning and Communication”, Guy Longworth, Summer 2016
“History of Modern Philosophy II”, Johannes Roessler, Spring 2016
“Contemporary Political Philosophy”, Kirk Surgener, Spring 2015
“Ethics”, Fabienne Peter, Autumn 2014

Guest Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick
“Objections to Grice’s Account of Conversational Implicature”, 26 May 2016
“Kant’s Theory of Freedom”, 14 March 2016

Course Co-Convenor, Department of Philosophy, University of Mannheim
“Marx and Neo-Marxism”, with Jochen Bojanowski, Autumn 2012 and 2013

Teaching Assistant, Department of Philosophy, University of Mannheim
“Applied Ethics”, Bernward Gesang, Spring 2012
“Informal Logic and Argumentation Theory”, Marcel Mertz, Spring 2011
“Logic”, Helge Rückert, Spring 2010
“Frege’s ‘On Sense and Reference’”, Helge Rückert, Autumn 2009

Service to the University of Warwick and the Profession

Co-Founder of Warwick MAP (Minorities and Philosophy) Chapter, founded in 2016
Sessional Teacher Representative, Department of Philosophy, 2015-16
PhD Representative on “Equality and Welfare Committee”, Department of Philosophy, 2015-16
Co-Organizer of Departmental Graduate Seminar Series, Department of Philosophy, 2014-16
Graduate Volunteer, Joint Session of Aristotelian Society and Mind Association, July 2015
Co-Organizer of Kant Reading Group, Department of Philosophy, Summer 2014