We’d like to begin this post by congratulating several of recent graduates who took part in fall convocation this past month: Eunice ChanMarie Gueguen, Adam Koberinski, and Chang Liu.  We’d also like to recognize Jaclyn Lanthier (supervised by Jacqueline Sullivan) who successfully defended her doctoral thesis, “Understanding Interdisciplinary Corroboration: Lessons from a Review Paper in the Mind-Brain Sciences”, on October 2. It was a pleasure having you all at the institute and we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours!

We’re also pleased to share placement news from two of our alumni. Michael Cuffaro was recently awarded a visiting scholar grant at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, Vienna. He will also be a senior visiting fellow at the Descartes Centre, University of Utrecht until March of 2020. Adam Koberinski was hired as a postdoctoral fellow on Chris Smeenk’s research project, New Directions in Philosophy of Cosmology.

The Institute hosted a number of visitors and talks this month. Carlos Montemayor (San Francisco State University) delivered our first speakers series talk of the year, The Difference Between Consciousness and Attention: Scientific Challenges on October 4. Louise Barrett (University of Lethbridge) joined us as a visiting fellow from September 30 – October 18. During her visit, she took part in a Rotman Dialogue based on the paper “Enactivism, pragmatism…behaviorism?”, with commentary provided by Jon Bowen and Madeleine Brodbeck. Allan Franklin (University of Colorado, Boulder) was an Institute visiting fellow from October 15 – 29. During his stay he delivered a talk, titled Measuring Nothing Repeatedly: Null Experiments in Physics, to members of the philosophy of physics reading group. And Carlo Rovelli (Centre de Physique Théorique (CPT) of the Aix-Marseille University) joined us as a visiting fellow on October 1, and will remain at the Institute until November 15. He will be making several visits to the Institute over the course of the year, participating in the philosophy of physics reading group and collaborating with a number of faculty. Thank you to all of our visitors!

The Institute also hosted a one-day workshop, organized by Anthony Skelton, titled The Promises and Perils of A(rtificial) I(ntelligence) on October 18. The event was devoted to discussing a range of scientific and social aspects of AI from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, aiming to shed light on what counts as AI and how to responsibly respond to and regulate these technologies. The symposium comprised a lecture by one of the Institute’s new postdoctoral associates, Bartek Chomanski, on the social and political implications of AI, in addition to a panel of Western’s experts in ethics, computer science, health science, and information and media studies. Panelists included: Jacquelyn Burkell, Bartek Chomanski, Dan Lizotte, Max Smith, Jacob Shelley, and Anthony Skelton.

Finally, Western’s new President, Alan Shepard, and Acting Vice President (Research), Sarah Prichard, toured the Institute and other research facilities in our building on October 8. The tour was a great success, giving us an opportunity to showcase our collaborative workspace and tell them a bit about the interdisciplinary research being done here at the Institute. Thank you to everyone who took part!

All other member news is listed below in alphabetical order.

Andrew Chater co-authored a new article titled “Scotland’s New Arctic Policy: Deepening Collaboration with Canada”.

Rotman alumnus Michael Cuffaro had a few publications this month: “Quantum Computing“, String of PURLs: Frugal Migration and Maintenance of Persistent Identifiers“, “Kantian and Neo-Kantian First Principles for Physical and Metaphysical Cognition“, and “Putting probabilities first. How Hilbert space generates and constrains them“.

Rebecca Livernois gave a talk, titled “Epistemic Ascriptions and the Actualization of Externalities,” for the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Research Seminar at Arizona State University.

Carolyn McLeod went to China as part of a delegation from Western Arts & Humanities and Music. She met with people from top Philosophy Departments in China, including the departments at Peking University, Renmin University, and Fudan University.

Rotman alumna Catherine Stinson had a paper titled “From Implausible Artificial Neurons to Idealized Cognitive Models: Rebooting Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence” accepted in Philosophy of Science. Catherine also spoke on a panel about “Privacy, Stigma, and Autonomy in Mental Health: AI as Help or Hindrance?” at the University of Ottawa’s Symposium on Artificial Intelligence & Mental Health: Global Contexts for Diagnosis, Treatment, and Social Impacts.

Ozer Turker is currently working on a project regarding the problem of irreversibility in macro-physics with Chris Smeenk. Ozer will soon present a paper at the Brazilian Academy of Philosophy.

Francesca Vidotto delivered a colloquium talk to the Department of Physics & Astronomy titled “White holes: The bright side of black holes”. The talk focused on what white holes are, how black holes can create them, and how this could have implications for understanding dark matter.

Charles Weijer took part in the Epidemiology and Biostatistics Seminar Series lecture delivering a talk titled “Ethical issues in placebo controlled trials in surgery”.

Pictured above: Eunice Chan & Rob Corless at convocation; Jon Bowen, Madeleine Brodbeck & Louise Barrett at the Rotman Dialogue; Carlos Montemayor delivering his talk; Alan Shepard & Sarah Prichard during the tour of the Rotman Institute; Bartek Chomanski giving his lecture during the AI symposium; Carolyn McLeod and members of the Western delegation with members of the Philosophy department at Fudan.