Derek Oswick 2017-09-13T10:29:03+00:00

Project Description


  • Neurofeminism & Neuroscience

  • Methodology in Science

  • Political Philosophy



Doctoral Student;
Department of Philosophy, Western University

Derek is a current PhD student in Philosophy at Western. Originally having interests primarily in moral and political philosophy, Derek slowly became more and more fascinated by the question of how social commitments regarding moral and political matters (and social beliefs more generally) affect our efforts to gather knowledge about the world. This has lead to his current research interests, which concern the connections between science (especially neuroscience) and politics, and the way in which the two feed back into each other (as well as the resulting questions about the role of values in science). He has several side interests, including aspects of moral psychology, the ethics of punishment, feminist ethics and political philosophy regarding topics of race and gender and the ways in which these notions shape our social conceptions. Derek graduated from Huron University College with an Honors in Philosophy, a Minor in Social Justice & Peace Studies, and a Certificate of Practical Spanish. His Masters project looked at questions of moral and political feasibility, and how discourse around these concepts has changed in light of society’s fascination with human psychology.

My current research interests lie in examining the epistemology of experimental setups, especially in neuroscience, and particularly around politically charged issues. This issue can be examined in terms of how experimental methods are decided upon, and what background assumptions are in play to help choose a methodology.  This builds off some previous work of mine, which involved investigating how functional triangulation in neuroscience could ultimately fail to ground the objective validity of its results if the seeming-diversity of methods that produced it all share background assumptions. Ultimately, I hope for these points of investigation to be fruitful in at least two ways. First, I hope work in this area will be helpful in the larger project of ascertaining how we can put epistemic claims about the brain and its mechanisms on firm footing. Second, I would like to connect all this to the project of situating the neurosciences (and science more generally) as social enterprises.

Book Chapter:  Oswick, Derek. (Forthcoming).“’Fairly Queer’: Rawls on Assimilation and Queerness.” Oxford, United Kingdom: Interdisciplinary Press, excerpt of the paper presented at the International Conference on Sex and the State, Montreal, Canada (October 2014). MA Thesis ‘Born This Way’: Evidential Roles in the Divides Between Morality and Psychology. Western University. 2014. (Supervisor: Dr. Richard Vernon) Conference Presentations “Fairness in the Assimilation/Queerness dialogue; Rawls for a Queer State”. 3rd Global Conference (Inter-Disciplinary.Net publications): On Sex and the State. In Montreal, Canada.

Winter 2012, Reasoning & Critical Thinking, Huron UC (Grader) Fall/Winter 2013-2014, Philosophy of Law, UWO (Grader & Guest Lecturer) Fall/Winter 2014-2015, Reasoning & Critical Thinking, UWO (Teaching Assistant)