Daniel Zimmer

Graduate Student

Summary

I am a doctoral candidate currently completing a degree in Government at Cornell University. Summed up a sentence, my research asks: How must our ideas about politics change now that human beings have acquired the ability to end all human life? My dissertation has uncovered a rich legacy of attempts to answer this question, ranging from the work of Hannah Arendt following the rise of thermonuclear weapons in the 1950s, Michel Foucault’s reflections in the wake of gene editing technology in the 1970s, essayist Jonathan Schell’s reframing of the ecological crisis in the 1980s, and philosopher Nick Bostrom’s pioneering work on artificial intelligence beginning in the early 2000s. My dissertation attempts to compare, contrast, and synthesize some of these answers in order to begin to make political sense of today’s vulnerable world of overdetermined existential precarity.

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