June 2018 Member News & Updates

2018-07-04T09:21:28+00:00 July 4th, 2018|Members, Rotman News|

Conference season is underway, and members of the Institute have been very busy! This month the Institute hosted the Rotman Summer Institute in Philosophy of Cosmology, held in Goderich, Ontario from June 11 – 20. The 10 day workshop was made possible by the recent grant from the Templeton Foundation, New Directions in Philosophy of Cosmology, that was secured by Rotman Director, Chris Smeenk, and Jim Weatherall (University of California, Irvine). Chris Smeenk organized the institute, which included a series of lectures and seminar-style discussions aimed both at surveying the current state of research in cosmology, and at discussing foundational issues, led by philosophers and cosmologists. Craig Fox, Marie Gueguen, and Adam Koberinski attended the summer institute and gave presentations.

The Institute was also a co-sponsor of the annual Western Philosophy of Physics conference, and the graduate student conferences, PhilMiLCog and LMP. This year’s physics conference, titled Thermodynamics as a Resource Theory, was held on June 20 – 22, and was organized by Wayne Myrvold. PhilMiLCog took place on June 14 – 16, and was organized by Peter Verveniotis, Derek Oswick, and Job Morales. The Philosophy of Logic Math and Physics conference, LMP, took place on June 23 – 24. This year’s LMP organizers were: Adam Koberinski (chair), Dimitris Athanasiou, Thomas De Saegher, Marie Gueguen, Philippos Papagiannopoulos, Yousuf Hasan, Peter Verveniotis, Jamie Shaw, Valerie Lynn Therrien, and Martin Zelko.

Other news for our members from this past month is listed below alphabetically.

Each year, Western’s Society of Graduate Students recognizes the efforts of extraordinary TAs who dedicate themselves to teaching and the educational experience of students at Western University with the Graduate Student Teaching Assistant (GSTA) Awards of Excellence. Please join us in congratulating Mark Baker and Eunice Chan who were both among the 2017-18 award winners!

Mike Cuffaro and Philippos Papagiannopoulos co-organized the 9th International Workshop on Physics and Computation. The workshop was held on June 26 in Fontainebleau, France, as a satellite workshop of the 17th International Conference on Unconventional Computation and Natural Computation (UCNC 2018). An online volume of the proceedings was published in Electronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science, Vol. 273. The workshop coincided with the publication of the interdisciplinary volume by Cambridge University Press entitled: Physical Perspectives on Computation, Computational Perspectives on Physics (Michael E. Cuffaro and Samuel C. Fletcher, eds.).

Becky Ellis was interviewed on the Vegan Vanguard podcast in an episode titled, “Insectageddon”: Bee Autonomy, (anti-)Capitalism, and Building a Multi-Species Commons.

Erlantz Etxeberria gave a talk titled “Counterfactual Explanations and the Problem of Asymmetry” at the 11th annual MuST Conference in Philosophy of Science, Models of Explanation, held  June 11-13, in Turin, Italy.

Lisa Forsberg has been made a member of Somerville College, Oxford University; her title is British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in Philosophy.

A recent article in The Globe and Mail on the Creative Destruction Lab, University of Toronto accelerator affiliate shoots for the starry-eyed entrepreneurs, included comments by Sarah Gallagher.

Cory Goldstein gave an invited talk titled, “Ethical issues in pragmatic cluster randomized trials in hemodialysis facilities.”, at the Gardener’s Grove 2018 Conference: Growing Knowledge to Live Well, in Mississauga, Ontario, on June 2.

Please join us in congratulating Cory Goldstein for successfully completing his prospectus defence on Thursday, June 21! Many thanks to his committee members: Louis Charland, Eric Desjardins, and Charles Weijer.

The Ethics of Pragmatic Trials research team published a new paper: Goldstein CEWeijer C, Brehaut J, Campbell M, Fergusson D, Grimshaw JG, Hemming K, Horn AR, Taljaard M. Accommodating quality and service improvement research within existing ethical regulations. Trials 2018;19:334.

Yousuf Hasan gave a talk titled “Applying Carnap’s Internal/External Distinction to the Realism/Instrumentalism Debate with Respect to Atoms” at the 11th annual MuST Conference in Philosophy of Science, Models of Explanation, held June 11-13, in Turin, Italy.

In early June, Rotman alumna Melissa Jacquart spent two weeks on San Cristobal Island in the Galápagos working on community science projects as a member of the Galápagos Education and Research Alliance, including a public astronomy night.

Melissa Jacquart has been appointed as Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Cincinnati, where she will be helping them found their new center focused on the public engagement of science. Please join us in congratulating her & wishing her all the best in this new position!

Andrew Peterson is a co-PI on a project entitled, “The Coming Home Dialogues“, which was recently funded by the US National Endowment for the Humanities for the third consecutive year. The project is co-directed by Dr. Jesse Kirkpatrick (George Mason) and Dr. Ed Barrett (US Naval Academy). The project uses humanities-based dialogue sessions to allow military veterans to explore the moral, psychological, and spiritual impacts of war.

Andrew Peterson has been appointed as a Greenwall Faculty Scholar, Class of 2021, by the Greenwall Foundation. The award will support Andrew’s continuing research in the ethics of severe brain injury. A press release from George Mason University can be found here: https://www2.gmu.edu/news/513166. More info about the Greenwall Foundation can be found here:  http://greenwall.org.

Andrew Peterson and Lorina Naci (Trinity College, Dublin) presented their research in a plenary session at the Neuroethics Network conference, hosted at the Charcot Library, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris. Andrew and Lorina are previous members of the Owen Lab and the Rotman/BMI project on “The Ethics of Neuroimaging After Serious Brain Injury“.

On June 8, Anthony Skelton and Lisa Forsberg gave a talk at Oxford University, titled Achievement and biomedical human enhancement.

Anthony Skelton and Lisa Forsberg will both attend the upcoming 15th Conference of the International Society for Utilitarian Studies, at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany on  July 24-26.  Both will take part in a panel on the Axiological Implications of New Developments in Welfare Science.

Anthony Skelton‘s paper “Children and Well-being“, in Anca Gheaus, Gideon Calder & Jurgen De Wispelaere (eds.), Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Childhood and Children. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. pp. 90-100 (2018), is being published in July.

Valerie Therrien gave a talk titled “The axiom of choice and the road paved by Sierpiński”at the 6th World Congress on Universal Logic, held on June 22 in Vichy, France. She will also be presenting that talk at the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science twelfth congress, HOPOS 2018, held in Groningen, the Netherlands, on July 9-12

Charles Weijer gave an invited talk titled, “Ethical issues in pragmatic trials in hemodialysis units in Ontario.”, at the Gardener’s Grove 2018 Conference: Growing Knowledge to Live Well, in Mississauga, Ontario, on June 3.

Tiwo Mtande of the UNC Project Malawi (Lilongue, Malawi) received a Global Forum on Bioethics in Research Fellowship funded by the Wellcome Trust and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to work with Charles Weijer in June 2018. Tiwo’s project explores Understanding ethical issues involved in HIV implementation research conducted in Malawi: The case of PMTCT Uptake and Retention (PURE) trial. Learn more about Tiwo in this interview she participated in during her visit to the Institute.


Pictured above: Attendees at the Rotman Summer Institute in Philosophy of Cosmology enjoy a visit to the shore of Lake Huron; A view from a hotel room from the Rotman Summer Institute; Erlantz Etxeberria presents at the Models of Explanation conference; Yousuf Hasan presents at the Models of Explanation conference; Andrew Peterson and Lorina Naci at the Neuroethics Network conference; Valérie Therrien presents at the 6th World Congress on Universal Logic.

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