• This month, the Rotman Institute was a co-sponsor of PhilMiLCog — the 14th annual graduate conference in philosophy of mind, language, and cognition, held on May 19-21. Tim Bayne, one of the keynote speakers, delivered a talk titled Seeing the Mean: Ensemble Coding, Phenomenal Overflow and the Grand Illusion Hypothesis. Conference organizers included Jaclyn Lanthier, Job Morales, Blake Nespica, Derek Oswick, Jamie Shaw, and Jody Tomchinsen. Congratulations to all of them on a successful conference!
  • The 85th annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences began during the final weekend of this month. Twenty three Rotman members, including faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and alumni, participated in the congress — taking part in sessions organized by the Canadian Philosophical Association, Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science, Canadian Society for History and Philosophy of Mathematics, and Canadian Society for the Study of Practical Ethics. (View a full listing of Rotman member sessions at Congress 2016.)

Beyond PhilMilCog and Congress 2016, Rotman members have been featured in the media, given invited talks, presented at conferences, and had new publications. News and updates for May are listed below in alphabetical order.

  • Samantha Brennan will give a talk titled Wellbeing and Autonomy: The Balancing Act of Children’s Rights, at the conference Children’s Rights: origins, normativity, transformations and prospects taking place at Linköping University on June 6-9. About three decades after the introduction of the United Nations Convention on The Rights of the Child, children’s rights have to a certain extent gained hegemonic status in policy making and a wide range of social and political practices on children and childhood. This conference brings together scholars from various disciplines to address the historical origins, the normative foundations, transformations and prospects of children’s rights. What will such inquiries implicate for current political challenges and child related policies and how can it critically engage with the current focus on implementation of children’s rights?
  • An op-ed by Tracy De Boer, titled Verdict did not acquit misconceptions, was published in Western News on May 13. In the article, De Boer discusses the Ghomeshi decision, and examines how our misconceptions about sexual assault impact the criminal justice system.
  • Henrik Lagerlund co-authored an op-ed, titled Carrying on with wayward sons, that was published in the London Free Press on May 13. In the article, Lagerlund and co-author Erika Simpson (of Western’s Department of Political Science) argue that with their brains not maturing until their mid-20s, it’s time to use a different approach to life and learning with our young men.
  • Elina Pechlivanidi and Stathis Psillos co-authored a paper in PhilSci titled What powers are not.
  • On May 4, an episode of CBC Ideas from the Trenches, titled The Open Mind, featured Andrew Peterson. From the CBC: New scientific tools are opening windows into what goes on inside another person’s mind. People who’d once have been judged ‘vegetative’ or ‘lacking awareness’, might now be able to show they’re ‘still there’, and ultimately communicate with the outside world through a brain scan. Philosophy PhD student Andrew Peterson is embedded with scientists at the Brain and Mind Institute at Western University and considers the ethical and moral questions emerging from this cutting edge research.

Pictured above: Rotman member Louis Charland (photo courtesy of Western Media Relations)