Each year, Rotman Institute members organize and participate in reading and working groups exploring philosophical questions from a wide range of fields. Listed below are the groups organized for the 2021-22 academic year. Meetings this year will be held virtually, and dates & times vary. Learn more about each group, or join by inquiring with the group’s main contact person.

AI Ethics Reading Group

The AI Ethics reading group plans to discuss a variety of topics concerning the social implications of artificial intelligence (broadly construed). The initial focus will be on the challenges posed by currently existing AI technologies and their ethical and political impact, as well as solutions to these challenges. We’ll be discussing data privacy, algorithmic bias, automation and labour, and many related questions. Meetings will be held biweekly on Tuesday afternoons starting in January 2022. Please contact Mike Barnes if interested in participating.

EMRG Lab Social Group

This reading/working group is a part of the EMRG Lab, supervised by Michael Anderson, and is open to anyone interested in the topics of embodiment, sociocultural psychology and cognition, social ontology and epistemology, and topics at the intersection of the cognitive and social sciences. The group provides a workspace for interdisciplinary collaboration, and meets twice a month to discuss classical and contemporary research across philosophy, cognitive science, and social science. We welcome and encourage participation from all backgrounds. Please contact Varun Ravikumar if interested in participating.

Feelings and Psychiatry Reading Group

The Feelings and Psychiatry reading group is open to anyone interested in emotions and consciousness in psychiatric categories, as well as anyone working on some of these aspects (emotions, consciousness, philosophy of psychiatry). It aims at creating an interdisciplinary platform where researchers in philosophy and in empirical disciplines interested in these topics can meet and start collaborations. We will read and discuss papers with a philosophical scope on psychiatry and psychiatric categories, particularly those with an emphasis on emotions, feelings, or consciousness. We plan to meet bi-weekly for one hour each meeting. These meetings will be hybrid, allowing participation in person or via zoom. Please contact Sarah Arnaud if interested in participating.

Lab Associates Basic Training

This program is for graduate students (primarily in philosophy) who want to acquire some basic knowledge of psychology and neuroscience, including experimental methods and data analysis. The goal is to place graduates of the program in a BMI lab to further their training in and ability to contribute to empirical research. Many graduates of the program have gone on to co-author scientific papers. This is highly recommended for any students with an interest in philosophy of science. Meeting times are TBD. Please contact Michael Anderson if interested in participating.

Philosophy and Cognitive Science Reading Group

The Philosophy and Cognitive Science Reading Group is open to anyone interested in the intersection between cognitive science and philosophy. Meetings are held biweekly; dates & times for this year are TBD. Please contact Chris Viger if interested in participating.

Philosophy of Physics Reading Group

The Philosophy of Physics Reading Group is made up of some faculty and graduate students in the philosophy of physics. Most of the reading is quite technical, so either a good background in physics or mathematics or a willingness to acquire it is required to get the most out of the group. In addition to more pure philosophy of physics, we sometimes read and discuss some history of physics that’s of relevance to the philosophical development of physics. Virtual meetings take place every other week. Please contact Emily Adlam if interested in participating.

Process Philosophy & Philosophy of Biology Reading Group

The Process Philosophy & Philosophy of Biology reading group is open to anyone working in process philosophy or philosophy of biology, as well as those who want to learn more about either of these topics. We will begin by reading chapters from Nicholson and Dupre’s edited volume, Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology (2018). According to the editors, process philosophy is a “metaphysical thesis that…the world—at least insofar as living beings are concerned—is made up not of substantial particles or things, as philosophers have overwhelmingly supposed, but of processes.” (Ibid., 3). We will choose chapters based on participant interest, and we welcome participants from philosophical or scientific backgrounds. Meetings will be held biweekly, beginning in late September. Please contact Jacob Neal for further details.

Synthetic Biology and Philosophy Reading Group

This interdisciplinary reading group will resume meeting in January to discuss various philosophical issues arising in the context of synthetic biology. They will be hosting two guest speakers this year: Massimiliano Simons, from Ghent University, and Stefan Linquist, from Guelph University. Meetings will be held biweekly on Mondays at 3:00 pm. Please contact Eric Desjardins if interested in participating.

Well-Being Reading Group

This fall the Well-Being Reading Group will focus on excerpts, essays, and articles that fall under the general themes of the philosophy of ill-being, philosophical pessimism, and existentialism. The tentative list of readings thus far contains excerpts from The Myth Of Sisyphus (Albert Camus) as well as The World As Will And Representation (Arthur Schopenhauer), and The Last Messiah (Peter Wessel Zapffe). More readings will be added throughout the semester. Familiarity with any of the themes of focus is not required. Please e-mail Jordon Craib if you’d like to be added to the group.

Learn About Opportunities for Graduate Student Membership
Learn About our Postdoctoral Fellowship Program