The workplace: Fei Teng and Michael Klenk's attic
In the series "The workplace", we find UU staff in their natural environment: their workplace. This week is an international one: the attic shared by PhD students Fei Teng and Michael Klenk.
Who are you and what do you do?
Fei Teng: I am a PhD student at the Ethics Institute, Department of Philosophy and Religous Studies. Currently my research interests are mainly the moral issues relating to climate change and sustainable development. I am working on the topic of the individual's moral duty to a green future. It is a comparative study in which the concept of moral duty will be explored from the western (human rights approach and deep ecology) and Chinese (Confucianism) philosophical traditions. By answering these moral questions, I am also interested in looking for their practical implications for climate-related policy making.
Michael Klenk: I'm a PhD candidate in Philosophy. My research is about the foundations of morality. It relates to the question of what makes actions or events good or bad. Whether it is our human perspective on certain events or actions or whether there is something about the events or actions themselves that makes them bad, independently of our own perspective. I do this in the context of a NWO-funded research programme, that investigates the implications of Evolutionary Theory on answering such questions.
Where is this workplace?
Fei Teng and Michael Klenk: This is the attic of Janskerkhof 13A; the main working place for PhD and post-doc researchers of the department of Philosophy and Religous Studies.
What is interesting about this workplace or about your research?
Michael Klenk: It is great to be located in the City centre. The city has a nice atmosphere and passing the Domtoren or the Oudegracht on every morning’s commute is wonderful. Besides that, we had some leakage in the ceiling of the attic. Some poor colleagues had to constantly move around to avoid the water. Needless to say that this was a sufficient reason for some good old German Schadenfreude.
My research is intriguing because it focuses on very fundamental questions about human life and conduct. Morality concerns us all. Yet, it also proves to be a very hard and manifold subject to think about. In the course of my research it will be interesting to see in what way, if at all, theories about the nature of morality are affected by the idea of human beings as evolved animals.
How does it feel to work in Utrecht?
Fei Teng: As a international researcher from China, working at Utrecht University is a very special and valuable experience for me. The autonomy and diversity of the research environment are very different from what I used to have. Although there were many challenges at the begining of my study, I have recieved so much support to overcome the language and cultural barriers. I believe I have learned a lot during my stay in Utrecht. It gives me different perspectives in learning to be a researcher and learning more about myself.
Michael Klenk: I thoroughly enjoy working in Utrecht. There are lots of ways to balance out work and it has all the amenities I could wish for, such as various ways to be active in sports. Utrecht seems to be just at the right spot between containing the variety of a larger city and giving you the feel of an intimate village.