photo by Will Lane

Reading and Working Groups

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 this year. Meeting times and locations can be found on the calendar at the bottom of this page. Learn more about each group, or join by inquiring with the group’s main contact person.

Aristotle on Scientific Inquiry Reading Group

This group will meet every week and will work through an advanced copy of James Lennox’s new book, tentatively titled Seeking and Knowing: Aristotle on Norms of Inquiry. Meetings will take place on Fridays from 10:30-11:30am (starting September 23), in either StvH 2150H (Rotman seminar room) or StvH 1145, depending on availability. Please contact Adam Woodcox for further information regarding this group.

BiPED Reading Group

Founded in 1996, BiPED is an interdisciplinary group that brings together faculty, post-docs and students from biology, philosophy and related disciplines to discuss research related to evolution. BiPED meets about once a month, and also sponsors occasional guest lectures or special events. Meeting times and locations TBA. Please contact Gillian Barker for further information regarding this group.

Facilitative Climate Change Response Working Group

This group is working on interrelated projects that combine analytic and ethnographic methods to develop a framework to aid in devising and realizing viable, sustainable, and ethically adequate institutional responses to imminent climate change losses and damages. We meet bi-weekly to report progress on research tasks. We are currently interested in ramping up the empirical, ethnographic components of this work. Contact Justin Donhauser to discuss joining.

Foundations of Physics Working Group

The goal of these meetings is to have philosophers, physicists, and mathematicians at Western talk about the foundations of physics. We would like to get an idea what each one of us is doing, have discussions in a relaxed and informal atmosphere, and explore possible common interests that might lead to interdisciplinary collaboration. Meetings resume this fall — time and location TBA. One of the next speakers will be Wayne Myrvold. For more information, or to join this group, see their website or contact the group leader, Markus Müller.

French Conventionalism Reading Group

In this reading group, we will read a series of papers by Henri Poincare detailing his early and later views on conventionalism. We may also occasionally compliment these primary readings with some secondary literature. Meetings are held roughly bi-weekly on Fridays at 3:30pm in the Rotman seminar room. Please contact Jamie Shaw if interested in participating.

Geofunctions Working Group

This group is comprised of individuals and overlapping sub-groups of collaborators actively working on research projects that contribute to the larger Geofunctions Project. The group meets bi-weekly to report progress on projects, “workshop” ideas, and discuss plans going forward. For more on the Geofunctions Project see: (and also the Rotman page). Contact Justin Donhauser if you are interested in joining.

Neurophilosophy Reading Group

The Neurophilosophy Reading Group is open to anyone interested in the intersection between neuroscience and philosophy. The theme for the fall semester is brain networks and connectivity. Regular meeting time will be Thursdays 5 – 6:30pm, with meetings approximately every second week in the Rotman seminar room. Please contact Catherine Stinson if interested in participating.

Philosophy of Physics Reading Group

The focus of this group is the philosophy of physics, and we read classic and contemporary works on a wide variety of topics, including space and time, relativity, quantum mechanics, and statistical mechanics. Meetings will be held bi-weekly on Fridays at 11:30am in the Rotman seminar room. Please contact Lucas Dunlap if interested in participating.

Quantum Mechanics Working Group

The goal of the Quantum Mechanics Working Group is to provide the basic background to understand the literature about Quantum Mechanics in philosophy of science. Our aim is to actually learn Quantum Mechanics step by step through textbooks and exercises without any background presupposed. For the Winter Term 2017, the group will be working on chapters 1, 3 and 5 of The Principles of Quantum Mechanics by Shankar. Meetings take place every Monday, at 4:30pm in the Rotman Seminar Room. Please contact Marie Gueguen for further information.

Event Calendar

Reading and working group meeting times and locations can be found in the calendar below. Please note that all Rotman member events are displayed in green. Please direct questions regarding the event calendar to

Engaging Community


Reading and Working Groups

K-12 Outreach