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Michael Wee


Postdoctoral Researcher

I am a Postdoctoral Researcher in Global Mental Health Ethics, within the Neuroscience, Ethics and Society group led by Professor Ilina Singh. My current research is on the ethics of genomic research for neurodevelopmental disorders, with a particular focus on the socio-cultural issues arising from such research done in an African context. Some topics that I am working on are the ethics of cell line creation, philosophical issues surrounding informed consent (especially for persons with intellectual disabilities), and the role of genomics in conceptualising mental illness. 

I obtained my PhD in Philosophy at the University of Durham, with a thesis on ‘Action and Necessity: Wittgenstein’s On Certainty and the Foundations of Ethics’. In this thesis, I develop and defend a new approach to ethical normativity, which I call the Linguistic Perspective. Its central contention is that language is an intrinsically normative and practical activity, and as such is not a neutral tool with which we study and reason about ethics; rather, the nature of language is a primary source for understanding the nature of moral reasoning. Therefore, in uncovering the ways in which linguistic concepts are shaped by multi-layered patterns of human action, we can better understand the logical limits of ethical concepts and the nature of moral agreement and disagreement. I remain interested in Wittgenstein's philosophy of language, as well as the intersection of action theory and moral philosophy. 

Recent publications

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