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 2023-24 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.
Note: this reading group is not currently running this term.


 The Eclectic Mind Research Group (EMRG – read ’emerge’) is dedicated to the theoretical and empirical study of the mind and the brain.  Our research combines ideas and methods ranging from embodied cognition, ecological psychology, theoretical neuroscience, brain imaging, and dynamical system theory among others. Meetings are held bi- weekly at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesdays in WIRB 7107 this term. If you want to get involved, please contact Andrew Richmond.

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.
Note: this social group is not currently running this term.

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.
Note: this reading group is not currently running this term.

Knowledge Translation and Ontologies Reading Group

The Knowledge Translation and Ontologies Reading Group aims to investigate contemporary problems in knowledge representation and information ontology, or the study of integrating knowledge graphs with recent breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. Exploratory topics include the use of applied category theory to represent database schemas, and assessing the translation of knowledge across ontologies and domains. This reading group brings together topics from philosophy, computer science, linguistics, mathematics and library and information science. Meetings are held weekly at 2:00 p.m. on Fridays in WIRB 7107 this term. If you want to get involved, please contact John Kausch.

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. Please contact Michael Anderson if interested in participating.
Note: this reading group is not currently running this term, but is scehduled to resume in the winter term.

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 on Thursdays at 11:00 a.m. in WIRB 7107 this term. Please contact Andrew Richmond 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. Meetings are held biweekly on Fridays at 11a.m. in WIRB 7107 this term. Please contact Adam Koberinski 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.
Note: this reading group is not currently running this term.

Synthetic Biology and Philosophy Reading Group

This interdisciplinary reading group will discuss various philosophical issues arising in the context of synthetic biology. They aim to host two guest speakers this year. Previous speakers include Massimiliano Simons, from Ghent University, and Stefan Linquist, from Guelph University.
Note: this reading group is not currently running this term.

Weight Stigma and Eating Disorders Reading Group

This new reading and research group, supported by a Rotman Catalyst Grant, aims to bring together different communities of scholars and activists working at the intersection of weight stigma, eating disorders (EDs), and the “obesity epidemic.” We will be engaging with work from various perspectives over the course of the Fall 2023 and Winter 2024 terms, in preparation for a conference in Summer 2024. We aim to be an inclusive and transdisciplinary group, with members from diverse academic backgrounds (e.g., philosophy, psychology, law, and public health) and with different lived experiences. We invite anyone from the Western community and beyond with related interests to join, whether you are an expert, an activist, or someone who would like to learn more about these complex topics. For Fall 2023, we will meet via Zoom, from 1:00-2:30PM EST on Nov. 10, Nov. 24, and Dec. 5. Each session is self-contained, so participants who are unable to attend all three sessions are still welcome to join the group. For more information and to join the group mailing list to receive the readings and Zoom link, please contact Ashley Toor ( or Jacob Neal (

Well-Being Reading Group

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.
Note: this reading group is not currently running this term.

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