With the start of 2016, our blog will include a new monthly feature — a post summarizing the talks, publications, interviews, and other updates from the faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students who are members of the Rotman Institute. As our first post in this series, this update includes news from the end of 2015, as well as announcements of upcoming events and publications. Listed below (in alphabetical order) are some of the ways our members have been busy engaging with other philosophers, scientists, and the general public.

  • Visiting Fellow Michael Anderson, and Assistant Professor Jacqueline Sullivan are organizing a workshop to be held this April, Rethinking the Taxonomy of Psychology. They have successfully secured grants to fund the workshop from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRCC), the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Mind & Consciousness Program, and Research Western.
  • Gillian Barker will be the featured speaker at the Darwin Day events at the University of South Florida, organized by the Department of Integrative Biology and the Department of Philosophy, February 11 -14th. She will be delivering two lectures — a public lecture, based on her recent book, titled, “Human Nature in Darwin’s World”, and a colloquium talk for the philosophy department, “Geofunctions: A New Concept for Understanding Global Change”. She will also give a workshop for high school biology teachers at the Museum of Science and Industry, “Understanding Evolving.” Past featured speakers for Darwin Day have included Evelyn Fox Keller, Kevin Padian, Lee Dugatkin, Eugenie Scott, and Massimo Pigliucci.
  • Professor Samantha Brennan presented her paper “The Goods of Childhood, Parental Responsibilities, and The Exploitation of Children by Parents” at the American Philosophical Association Eastern Division 112th Annual Meeting in Washington DC on January 9th. The paper was part of a panel, Parent’s Rights and Responsibilities, organized by the Society for Applied Philosophy.
  • On January 20th, CBC Ideas re-broadcast an interview from 2002, featuring Samantha Brennan. THE TRUTH ABOUT LYING: Everyone agrees that lying is, generally, a bad thing to do. But it’s actually quite hard to figure out what’s wrong with it! In this IDEAS Classic from 2002, philosophers Michael Blake, Samantha Brennan, Arthur Ripstein and IDEAS host Paul Kennedy tell us the truth about lying.
  • Professor Rob Corless has been working with Rotman Alumnus Nic Fillion (currently Assistant Professor at Simon Fraser University) finalizing a paper, “Back Error for Perturbation Methods”. The paper has been submitted and is now under review. They have also been awarded a grant from the Fields Institute for an upcoming conference, ACMES II: Computational Discovery, which will be held here in London May 10-14, 2016.
  • Rob Corless spent a week working with John C. Butcher (Emeritus of University of Auckland) on various topics in numerical solution of ordinary differential equations.
  • Rotman Alumnus Spencer Hey was recently featured in a news story from the Harvard Medical School Centre for Bioethics. The article, Spencer Hey: Unpacking the Clinical Research Portfolio, also includes a video interview. Spencer Hey was one of the first students in the Rotman Institute — he finished his PhD in 2011.
  • Alida Liberman, postdoctoral fellow, will be presenting at next month’s Twenty-fifth Annual International Conference of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics in Reston, Virginia. She will be presenting a paper titled, “On Promising the Uncertain: Are Political Promises Ever Permissible?”
  • Emma Ryman, doctoral student, will be a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Agency, Values, and Ethics at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia from the beginning of February to the beginning of May. Her trip there is supported by a SSHRCC Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement.
  • Associate Rotman Director Anthony Skelton’s Journal of Moral Philosophy review of David Phillips’s Sidgwickian Ethics was made available in print this month.
  • The first of two proceedings volumes from PSA 2014, edited by Chris Smeenk (in his capacity as program chair of the meeting), appeared in print in December 2015.
  • Associate Professor Tony Weis was interviewed last December by Sasha Lilley on the Berkeley, California radio program, Against the Grain — a program devoted to politics, society and ideas. The hour long interview is titled Meatification: There’s a “population bomb” brewing, with enormous social and environmental consequences: it’s the immense growth in the numbers of livestock globally and the industrial system of production that has driven the explosive increase in animals for human consumption. Political ecologist Tony Weis reflects on the meatification of our societies, North and South. He enumerates its effects on global warming, ecosystem destruction, and inequality.

Pictured above – Professor Tim Bayne, our new Endowed Chair in Philosophy of Neuroscience (photo credit: Adela Talbot)