Charles Lesch F'15

Charles  Lesch
Postdoctoral Fellow
Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities
Vanderbilt University

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2015
Doctoral Candidate
Harvard University
The Ethical Commonwealth: Social Citizenship and the Moral Life of Political Communities

This dissertation aims to transform debates about the sources of political solidarity, exploring how aesthetic and religious thought can contribute to a new way of thinking about the decent society. In particular, it probes the relationship between ethical obligations and non-rational forms of cognition and moral epistemology. Departing from proponents of modern nationalism and constitutional patriotism, the study proposes a form of political solidarity that valorizes the non-rational for moral life but rejects its use for politics. Drawing from thinkers such as Kant, Rousseau, Weber, Levinas, Kojève, Habermas, Durkheim, George Eliot, and William James, it develops an original theory of “social citizenship,” understood as the practices by which people overcome moral indifference and take responsibility for one another.