Julian Savulescu: The Science and Ethics of Human Enhancement

Room 106 - Physics and Astronomy Building 1151 Richmond Street, London, Ontario, Canada

ABSTRACT Scandal after scandal has revealed that sport has been experimenting with human enhancement on a massive scale. These are among the most high-profile cases. But in fact human enhancement technologies influence all aspects of life. From students and professionals taking modafinil to enhance cognition, focus and drive, to evidence that SSRIs (anti-depressants) affect moral [...]

Panel Discussion: Canada Up in Smoke? Debating the Impact of Cannabis Legalization

Room 1200, Spencer Engineering Building Spencer Engineering Building, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada

EVENT DESCRIPTION The Society of Neuroscience Graduate Students at Western University is hosting an upcoming panel discussion on the legalization of cannabis, due to take effect in October. The event will include experts from a range of fields, exploring the medical, legal, and ethical considerations of the new policy. The Rotman Institute of Philosophy and [...]

Bipasha Baruah: Global Trends in Women’s Employment in Renewable and Clean Energy: Continuities, Contradictions, Disruptions

Room 1170 - Western Interdisciplinary Research Building Western Interdisciplinary Research Building, London, Ontario, Canada

ABSTRACT Concerns about environmental sustainability and fossil-fuel insecurity have motivated countries around the world to transition to clean energy supplies derived from renewables such as solar, hydro, bioenergy, geothermal and wind. Since producing and distributing renewables is more labor-intensive than producing and distributing fossil fuels, this shift is creating new employment opportunities and addressing energy [...]

Janet Martin: Evidence Reversals: How Fragile is the Evidence Base?

Room 1170 - Western Interdisciplinary Research Building Western Interdisciplinary Research Building, London, Ontario, Canada

What happens when an existing claim is tested and the original evidence is contradicted by new and stronger evidence? Join us for a talk by Dr. Janet Martin, director of the MEDICI Centre, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, on evidence reversals. SPEAKER PROFILE Dr. Janet Martin is Associate Professor in the Departments of Anesthesia [...]

Emily Thomas – Travel Writing as Thought Experiments: Science, Francis Bacon, and Margaret Cavendish’s Blazing World

Room 1145 - Stevenson Hall Stevenson Hall, Room 1145, London, Ontario, Canada

ABSTRACT Travel has a long and intimate history with philosophy. Travel also has a long and intimate relationship with fiction. Sometimes travel fiction acts as ‘thought experiments’, experiments that we can run through in our heads. This talk explores a 1666 fiction travelogue, Margaret Cavendish’s Blazing World. In the novel, a virtuous young lady is [...]

The promises and perils of A(rtificial) I(ntelligence)

Room 1130 - Western Interdisciplinary Research Building Western Interdisciplinary Research Building, London, ON, Canada

The rise of artificial intelligence inspires both fear and optimism. The creation and use of machines and software capable of learning and developing the ability to think and behave autonomously promises significant social benefits, but also great social upheaval. AI will affect how we travel, work, and receive health care. It will impact the quality [...]

Evidence & Belief in the Age of Mass Information

Stevenson & Hunt Room A - Central Library 251 Dundas St, London, Ontario, Canada

Perhaps at no other time in history has information been more widely & easily accessible. But how reliable is it? What do we do when confronted with fundamental disagreement about matters of social importance, including climate change and vaccination? Whom should we trust? Experts might help us. But who counts as an expert? Our [...]

Emerging Minds Colloquium Series

Virtual (register for Zoom link)

Beginning January 2021, The Rotman Institute of Philosophy will be hosting the 'Emerging Minds' colloquium—a series of virtual talks delivered by members of the Institute and scholars from around the world. We invite you to take part by both presenting and attending, in order to network with others who are completing novel interdisciplinary work [...]

Stewardship of Global Collective Behavior

A cohort of research and knowledge exchange networks are co-hosting a journal club discussion on the proposal that the science of collective human behavior should be considered a "crisis discipline." Read the paper and join us for the conversation. Advance registration is required and can be completed on the CAS Lab event page. Event [...]

Race and Racism

Virtual (register for Zoom link)

In the past year and a half, race and racism have been at the forefront of many people’s minds because of widespread Black Lives Matter protests and the disproportionately negative impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on certain racialized communities. But the underlying phenomenon is not only recent. For centuries, racialized communities across [...]

Artificial Intelligence, Harm, and You

Virtual (register for Zoom link)

To celebrate the official launch of Western's Interdisciplinary Development Initiative exploring the real-world social impacts of artificial intelligence (AI) in Canada and around the world, join us for a virtual panel discussion on the harms algorithms can cause, and the launch of a poster exploring the impacts of AI on the daily life of [...]

Rotman Dialogue with James Wilson: Philosophy for Public Health and Public Policy

Room 4190 - Western Interdisciplinary Research Building Western Interdisciplinary Research Building, Room 4190, London, Ontario, Canada

Making wise ethical choices is difficult. So, a crucial task of ethical theory is to make such decision-making easier, but without falsifying, or over-simplifying the choices to be made. The difficult question is what counts as good simplification, and what counts as over-simplification. This Rotman Dialogue discusses the theory and practice of making ethical public [...]

James Wilson: What makes a health system good? From cost-effectiveness analysis to ethical optimisation in health systems

Room 1170 - Western Interdisciplinary Research Building Western Interdisciplinary Research Building, London, Ontario, Canada

Abstract Fair allocation of scarce healthcare resources has been much studied within philosophy and bioethics, but analysis has focused on a narrow range of cases. The Covid-19 pandemic provided significant new challenges, making powerfully visible the extent to which health systems can be fragile, and how scarcities within crucial elements of interlinked care pathways [...]

Paul Bloom: Perverse Actions

Wolf Performance Hall - Central Library 251 Dundas St, London, Ontario, Canada

The 2023 Rotman Lecture will be delivered by Dr. Paul Bloom, Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto and author of the 2021 book, The Sweet Spot: The Pleasures of Suffering and the Search for Meaning. ABSTRACT: We occasionally act in ways that are wrong—morally or otherwise—at least partially because of the [...]

Patrick Fafard: Is Science Enough? Science Advice, Health Essentialism, and Pandemic Decision-Making

Room 4190 - Western Interdisciplinary Research Building Western Interdisciplinary Research Building, Room 4190, London, Ontario, Canada

Abstract: Policy decisions made during the COVID-19 pandemic were commonly defended by decision-makers on the grounds they were 'following the science'. This suggested decision-makers were relying heavily on the advice of experts in public health, notably infectious disease physicians, to inform policy decisions. This raises important questions about the exact nature and role of [...]

Ethical Issues in Artificial Intelligence: 2023 Annual Library Lecture Series

Lawson Room - Central Library 251 Dundas Street - London Public Library Wolf Performance Hall, London, Ontario, Canada

EVENT DESCRIPTION Each year, the Rotman Institute of Philosophy organizes a public lecture series co-sponsored with the London Public Library  and the Department of Philosophy. The theme for this year's lecture series is Ethical Issues in Artificial Intelligence. Abstract Questions about Artificial Intelligence and its appropriate use overwhelm recent discourse about technology. What is [...]

(Dis)Trust and AI: Perspectives from Across Disciplines and Sectors

Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre 551 Windermere Road, London, Ontario, Canada

Concerns about trust, distrust, and artificial intelligence (AI) are on the rise as our societies become more and more exposed to these technologies. This event will focus on pressing questions under the general theme of (dis)trust and AI and bring together people working in different academic disciplines and sectors of society to collaborate in [...]

NEW DATE – Berna Devezer & Erkan Buzbas: Theoretical Insights on Replication: A Miracle or a Crutch?

Room 3000 - Western Interdisciplinary Research Building Western University, London, Ontario, Canada

Please join the Rotman Institute in welcoming Berna Devezer and Erkan Buzbas to the institute December 1st! Please note, this will be a virtual event. Devezer will present, "Theoretical Insights on Replication: A Miracle or a Crutch?" at 11:30 am Lunch will be provided at 1:00 pm Buzbas will [...]

Charles Ling: Turing Test, Chinese Room, AGI, and GPTs

Room 4190 - Western Interdisciplinary Research Building Western Interdisciplinary Research Building, Room 4190, London, Ontario, Canada

Abstract: With the rapid development of large language models such as GPTs, many fundamental and philosophical issues of intelligence and the human mind can be re-visited.  In this talk, I will explore these related topics to foster potential collaboration between different disciplines. Register to Attend Turing Test, Chinese Room, AGI, and GPTs Speaker [...]

Rotman Research Retreat: AI & Democracy

Western Interdisciplinary Research Building Perth Drive, London, Ontario, Canada

This retreat will bring together researchers from across disciplines and departments at Western to look ahead to future normative, political, and technological dimensions of anticipated impacts that AI will have on democracies. There is already a substantial body of scholarship exploring the ways in which new technologies have impacted democratic practices and institutions and [...]