Late March brought the closure of campus, but despite challenges for all of us due to COVID-19 we still have exciting member news to share.

Craig Fox recently accepted a two-year postdoc at the Edelstein Centre for History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine in Jerusalem. He will be working on a research project at the intersection of epistemology, geophysics, astrophysics and philosophy of history–focusing on the epistemology and methodology of sciences that investigate the deep past, such as cosmology and geoscience. Other exciting news comes from Chris Smeenk. Chris was recently named a Faculty Scholar by Western University. Established in 2005, the Faculty Scholars Award recognizes significant recent scholarly achievements in teaching or research. Please join us in congratulating both Craig and Chris on these wonderful accomplishments!

Marc-André Lachance will become emeritus this July. He served as an elected member of the Institute Steering Committee for the past four years, and we look forward to having him remain with us as an associate member. Congratulations, André–we wish you all the best!

In March, we welcomed visiting fellows Corey Maley and Sarah Robins from Kansas University. During their visit, Corey delivered a talk titled “Analog Computation and Representation” where he argued that there is more to analog computation than just the use of continuous variables. A Rotman dialogue with Sarah, based on her paper “Memory and Optogenetic Intervention”, was held during a special session of Mike Anderson’s graduate seminar. Video of Corey’s talk is available on our YouTube channel, and video highlights of the event with Sarah are coming soon. We also had the pleasure of welcoming Stathis Psillos back to the institute as a visiting fellow. During his three-week visit, Stathis taught a graduate seminar on scientific realism, in addition to attending various reading groups and talks. Thank you to Sarah, Corey & Stathis for joining us and for all of your contributions during your stay! 

And finally, we couldn’t let winter pass without hosting another curling extravaganza. Philosophers on Ice V took place on March 2 at the London Curling Club–an annual tradition that’s great fun for all of our members!

All other news from our members is listed below in alphabetical order. 

Michael Anderson’s research team, The Eclectic Mind Research Group, is dedicated to the theoretical and empirical study of the mind and the brain and recently launched a new website. Check it out to learn about their team members (Juan Ardila Cifuentes, Ed Baggs, Tyeson Barton, Jonathan Bowen, Grace Estrada, Harshita Jaiprakash, Vicente Raja, Varun Ravikumar, Aubrie Schettler, Robyn Wilford, and Katrina Zmavc) and their current research projects.

Rotman alumnus Andrew Chater had an article titled “Will Canada’s North Finally be Taken Seriously in the Next Budget?” published in The Conversation. Andrew also had a new policy brief come out with the North American and Arctic Security and Defence Network. 

Rotman alumnus Klodian Coco’s article “Jean Perrin and the Philosophers’ Stories: The role of multiple determination in determining Avogadro’s number”, was published in the Spring 2020 issue of the journal HOPOS . Klodian wrote this article during his time at the Rotman Institute. 

Rotman alumnus Michael Cuffaro gave a talk titled “Ernst Cassirer and Grete Hermann: Metaphysics and Methodology” during the Conceptual and Methodological Aspects of Physics: Historical Perspectives workshop he co-organized with Guido Bacciagaluppi at Uretcht University in the Netherlands. Rotman alumnus Molly Kao was also a speaker at this conference. A book co-edited by Michael Cuffaro and Sam Fletcher, Physical Perspectives on Computation, Computational Perspectives on Physics, has just been released in paperback.

Melissa Jacquart had a new paper, titled “Bearing the Brunt of Structural Inequality: Ontological Labor in the Academy”, published in Feminist Philosophy Quarterly.

Adam Koberinski was a visiting scholar at the University of California Irvine from March 2-17. He gave a talk titled “Regularizing (away) vacuum energy” to the Philosophy of Physics group. 

Carolyn McLeod has two new publications: a book titled “Conscience in Reproductive Health Care: Prioritizing Patient Interests” published by Oxford University Press and a Commentary on ‘Four types of gender bias affecting women surgeons, and their cumulative impact’ published in the Journal of Medical Ethics. 

Rotman alumnus James Overton’s company Knocean Inc. is contributing to the Coronavirus Immunotherapy Consortium (CoVIC), a global non-profit project supported by the Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust. James is responsible for data integration and automated validation for CoVIC-DB: a database built to find the antibodies that are most effective against SARS-CoV-2.

Adrian Owen and his team at the Owen Lab had two recent papers released: “Bilingualism affords no general cognitive advantages: a population study of 11,000 people” and “Concussion-related deficits in the general population predict impairments in varsity footballers”.

Stathis Psillos and Rotman alumnus Jamie Shaw co-authored a chapter, titled “Relativism and scientific realism“, for the Routledge Handbook of Relativism.

Maxwell Smith received a CIHR Operating Grant titled “Ethical Pathways for Therapeutics and Vaccine R&D in the Context of Public Health Emergencies of International Concern: An Analysis of the 2013-16 Ebola Outbreak to Rapidly Inform COVID-19 R&D”. He also co-authored a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Fair Allocation of Scarce Medical Resources in the Time of Covid-19“. And finally, he worked with the WHO COVID-19 Ethics Working Group to publish the documents Ethics and COVID-19: resource allocation and priority-setting and Ethical standards for research during public health emergencies: Distilling existing guidance to support COVID-19 R&D.

Like countless other departments and institutions, we unfortunately had a number of events planned for this spring and summer that were cancelled. We look forward to rescheduling whenever possible & using this an an opportunity to adapt to hosting virtual events. Stay safe & healthy, everyone!

Pictured above: Corey Maley presents “Analog Computation and Representation” at the Rotman Institute; grad students attending the special seminar on scientific realism taught by Stathis Psillos; Rotman members take part in Philosophers on Ice V at the London Curling Club.