Each year, Rotman Institute members organize and participate in reading and working groups exploring philosophical questions from a wide range of fields. Listed below are the groups planned so far for the 2019-20 academic year. Meetings are held in WIRB 7107, unless noted otherwise below. Learn more about each group, or join by inquiring with the group’s main contact person.

Lab Associates Basic Training

This program is for graduate students (primarily in philosophy) who want to acquire some basic knowledge of psychology and neuroscience, including experimental methods and data analysis. The goal is to place graduates of the program in a BMI lab to further their training in and ability to contribute to empirical research. Many graduates of the program have gone on to co-author scientific papers. This is highly recommended for any students with an interest in philosophy of science. Meeting times and dates for fall 2019 are TBD. Please contact Mike Anderson if interested in participating.

Introduction to Dynamical Systems Theory Applied to Cognitive Science (lab training course)

This training course is open to any grad student interested in philosophy of cognitive science and neuroscience. As we read a lot of literature on this specific topic, the idea is to introduce the main concepts, the way of thinking when offering dynamical explanations, etc. The course will be introductory and mostly theoretical but, depending on the availability and interests, we can also do some empirical work with models, simulations, etc. Regular meetings will be held on Wednesdays at 2:00 pm in the Rotman conference room. Please contact Vicente Raja if interested in participating.

Neurophilosophy Reading Group

The Neurophilosophy Reading Group is open to anyone interested in the intersection between neuroscience and philosophy. This group will be meeting every other Friday at 4:00 pm in the Rotman conference room. Please contact Ed Baggs if interested in participating.

Philosophy of Physics Reading Group

The Philosophy of Physics Reading Group is made up of some faculty and graduate students in the philosophy of physics.  Most of the reading is quite technical, so either a good background in physics or mathematics or a willingness to acquire it is required to get the most out of the group.  In addition to more pure philosophy of physics, we sometimes read and discuss some history of physics that’s of relevance to the philosophical development of physics. We meet every other week on Fridays at 10:30-noon, though there may be a skipped week or an additional meeting on what was to be an off-week at times.  Please contact Sona Ghosh if interested in participating.

Synthetic Biology and Philosophy Reading Group

This interdisciplinary reading group will meet once a month to discuss papers that address various philosophical issues arising in the context of synthetic biology. As of now, the plan is to meet on the last Tuesday of every month (except December), in the Seminar Room of the Rotman Institute, from 2:30-3:30. Please contact Eric Desjardins if interested in participating.

Well-being Reading Group

This group will meet 1 – 2 Tuesdays per month at 3:30 pm (please see calendar below for specific dates). The focus will be Richard Kraut’s The Quality of Life. Richard works in ancient philosophy and in ethics and he aims to work out a view of well-being that develops some themes in Aristotle. His work draws on historical and contemporary work in the study of well-being. The book is very accessible and should be of interest to people working in normative ethics, bioethics, and the philosophy of science (especially science and values). More info about Richard’s book can be found here: Please contact Anthony Skelton if interested in participating.


Events for Rotman Institute members (displayed in blue), public outreach events (yellow), and term dates from the Western University academic calendar (green) are shown below.