Charlotte Duffee

Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University

I am a John and Daria Barry Postdoctoral Fellow in the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University. My work explores the social and cultural factors at play when moral problems become objects of medical theory, assessment, and treatment. I focus specifically on medical constructions of tragedy as a window into broader cultural sensibilities about human values: what it means to be human, what our purpose is, what makes for a good life (especially when everything seems to be going badly), and the like. I explore why the historical actors who medicalized tragedy asked the questions that they did, and why they accepted some answers over others. I then work to fill the philosophical gaps my historical explanations expose in contemporary ethical scholarship. So far, I have focused on the following themes:

Histories of Suffering in Western Medicine and Thought

The Historiography of Suffering

Intellectual and Cultural Histories of Tragic Medical Experiences

Broader Histories of Suffering in Western Thought

Medical Philosophies of Suffering & Other Tragic Experiences

Philosophical Implications of My Historical Research

Additional Work:

Other Activities

Blog and Podcast

When I'm not researching, I'm thinking about how to square it with my family life as a mom to three rambunctious boys. To that end, I recently launched a Substack blog/podcast called Anscombe's Juggle, where I plan to interview parent-scholars and share insights from my own parenting journey.


BA: Philosophy

University of Toronto

MA: Philosophy

The New School

MA: Bioethics

New York University


Academic CV - August 2023