We’d like to begin our monthly news post with two exciting announcements from December. First, please join us in congratulating Jackie Sullivan, who was recently promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, effective this July. Second, Lisa Forsberg has joined us as a new postdoctoral fellow. During her time at Western, besides her own research, Lisa will collaborate with Anthony Skelton on papers related to rights and bioethics, and on a grant application for a conference on well-being. Please join us in welcoming Lisa to the Institute.

Further member news and announcements from December are listed below (in alphabetical order).

Recent alumnus Yann Benetreau-Dupin was featured in the video series by the Center for Philosophy of Science, 5-minute Fellows, where he discusses his thoughts on theories and probabilities in physical cosmology.

Samantha Brennan and Tracy Isaacs were featured in an article published in Canadian Living titled, How Two Women are Rethinking What it Means to be Fit. The article focuses on the Fit is a Feminist Issue blog, and includes a brief interview of both Dr. Brennan and Dr. Isaacs.

On January 25th, Samantha Brennan will be participating in an AMA (Ask me Anything) on reddit as part of the Spring 2017 /r/philosophy AMA Series, a series of AMAs with 10 different professional philosophers. Announcements will be posted a couple days before each AMA where people can submit questions ahead of time for the philosopher doing the AMA. They will also take questions live during the AMA.

Louis Charland presented “Why science – and neuroscience – need “passion” at the Montréal Neuroethics Network on December 14th.

A paper by Justin Donhauser, Making Ecological Values Make Sense: Toward More Operationalizable Ecological Legislation, was published in Ethics & the Environment, and is available online. This is Dr. Donhauser’s third solo-authored publication since starting at the Institute last August.

Rotman alumnus Robert Moir wrote an article titled “Exploring Epistemology of Applied Math: Where Mathematicians and Philosophers Meet,” as part of the column series, Past and Present in Mathematics: Notes from the CSHPM. It was published in the December 2016 issue of CMS Notes.

A new publication by Stathis Psillos, Laws and Powers in the Frame of Nature, is now available in pre-print. The aim of this paper is to revisit the major arguments of the seventeenth century debate concerning laws and powers.

John Thorp read a paper called ‘Soft God, Hard God’ to an international conference on The Idea of God held at Memorial University of Newfoundland in late November. Descartes famously wanted God to be the author and creator, not only of the world, but also of the ‘eternal truths’ – the laws of mathematics and logic – and so to be above them, not bound by them. It looks like this idea, however, might reduce theism to incoherence; virtually all theologians and philosophers have rejected it, proposing a soft version of divine omnipotence: omnipotence is not the power to do everything, but only the power to do everything that can be done. This paper brings the resources of evolutionary psychology and of paraconsistent logic into this old debate and asks whether and at what price Descartes’ idea of ‘hard’ omnipotence might be resuscitated.

On December 15th, Charles Weijer gave a presentation titled Consciousness unbound: The ethics of neuroimaging after severe brain injury as part of the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Dr. Robert Zhong Research Seminar series at University Hospital.

Pictured above: Yann Benetreau-Dupin featured in a 5-minute Fellow video produced by the Center for Philosophy of Science.