July 11, 2019
Hanna Pickard remembers participating in lively dinner-table discussions as a kid. She'd listen closely as her parents, both law professors, debated abstract ideas of equality and justice as well as current issues like the finer points of nuclear disarmament, the ethics of trade embargoes with South Africa, and the viability of civil disobedience as a legitimate form of protest.
She was still a child when her mother engaged in civil disobedience to protest against nuclear disarmament in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario. The protest was picked up by the press and became a small local sensation. Pickard remembers the complicated emotions she felt as a result of her mother's actions.
"On the one hand I was incredibly proud of my mother," she says, "but on the other hand it was in the newspaper and people were very critical. It was a moment when a conflict between doing the right thing and feeling comfortable and untroubled in one's life was very present to me, and I began thinking about that sort of ethical dilemma."
Pickard, now a leading applied philosopher in the fields of philosophy of psychiatry and moral psychology, joins Johns Hopkins as a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of philosophy and bioethics. She will hold joint appointments in the Department of Philosophy in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and in the Berman Institute of Bioethics.
"Through her work, Dr. Pickard shares profound insights into individual and collective human behavior," says Johns Hopkins University Provost Sunil Kumar. "We are thrilled to welcome her to our faculty, where her unique brand of applied philosophy will help us grapple with the pressing questions of our time and break new ground in a variety of interdisciplinary fields."