Western's Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) Chapter hosted its first annual Philosophy Undergraduate Conference
By Hannah Eastman, Nicole Fice, Julia Lei, March 16, 2018
On March 2nd, 2018 Western’s Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) Chapter hosted its first annual Philosophy Undergraduate Conference. The event aimed to support undergraduate work in philosophy at Western by providing
MAP is a multi-university network with 86 individual chapters around the world. It aims to examine and address theoretical issues regarding gender, race, sexual orientation, class, disability, native language, indigeneity, etc., and to increase participation of underrepresented groups in academic philosophy. In this regard, the organization, including our chapter, aims to support philosophers who identify as minorities in our discipline and support minority areas of philosophy.
The MAP undergraduate conference was necessary. It provided students with the opportunity to meet with professors as well as graduate students to hear their
The representatives for Western’s MAP Chapter (Nicole Fice [email@example.com] and Helen Fielding [firstname.lastname@example.org) would like to thank Western’s philosophy department, it’s climate committee, the Arts and Humanities Student Council, and the Marc Sanders Foundation for supporting this event. We would also like to thank the volunteers that helped make this event a success: Julia Lei, Hannah Eastman, James Belford, Cecilia Li, Sarah Murdoch, and Elisa Kilbourne. Finally, we would like to thank the speakers and everyone who attended the Philosophy Undergraduate Conference.
Summaries of each talk can be found here
Robert Stainton launches new book series in Philosophy of Language with Rowman and Littlefield
With the help of two colleagues, Professor Robert Stainton is launching a new book series with Rowman and Littlefield. It is called Philosophy of Language: Connections and Perspectives. The goal of the series is to publish volumes that connect philosophy of language to other areas of philosophy: aesthetics, ethics, history of philosophy, mind, science, social-political, etc. To areas of linguistics broadly construed: theoretical syntax and formal semantics, but also acquired and genetic impairments, dialectology, L1 and L2 acquisition, sociolinguistics, etc. And to social sciences such as anthropology, psychology, and sociology.
The series will include both monographs and anthologies. Among the former, the series will occasionally publish translations of especially important works fitting the above criteria, plus exceptional post-revision dissertations. The series will mostly aim, however, to publish regular scholarly monographs. Among the edited volumes, the focus will be on collections of peer-reviewed commissioned papers on a specific topic. Again, however, the series will occasionally to bring out language-focused festschrifts and proceedings of conferences/workshops. At present, the intended target audience for all of the above
More information can be found at Rowman.com.
New Edition, Revision and Completion of the Works of Immanuel Kant
Corey Dyck has been named (co-)editor of Kant's Anthropologie to be included in volume VII of the new edition of Kant's Werke by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences. For more information on the new Academy edition, see here (in German)."
5 Questions for Professor Carolyn McLeod on the CSWIP 2017 conference, “Feminism, Philosophy, and Engaging the Public"
1. What is CSWIP and how long have you been involved in it?
CSWIP is the Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy, a sister organization of the original SWIP, which was started in the U.S. in 1972. There are now societies for women in philosophy in many countries outside of the U.S., including the U.K., Ireland, and the Netherlands, to name a few. They exist to nurture and sustain women in philosophy, who continue to be underrepresented in our discipline. Personally, I have benefited from the support that CSWIP provides since I was a PhD student (so for quite a long time).
2. How was the theme of the 2017 conference, “Feminism, Philosophy, and Engaging the Public,” settled on?
I think more and more, philosophers are doing what has been called “publicly engaged philosophy” or just “public philosophy,” which can either just focus on issues of importance to the public or can occur as well in a non-academic setting, that is, literally for the public. We wanted to showcase both types of philosophy at the conference and discuss how philosophers who may be interested in the latter but haven’t done it before could go about doing it. Our keynote address by Françoise Baylis covered this very topic. Françoise is an inspiration to many of us who seek to do publicly engaged philosophy.
3. How is the theme of the conference reflected in your own work and in that of the other organizers?
I’ve used my skills as a philosopher to influence public policy, mainly in the areas of medicine and child welfare. For example, I worked behind the scenes to help shape current policies in Ontario on conscientious objection in medicine and public funding for in vitro fertilization. I also recently, with Erin Ingard Rau, made written and oral submissions to the Ontario Standing Committee on Justice Policy about Bill 89, “Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act.” While I’ve used a philosophical argument to try to convince policy-makers to change public policies, my co-organizers Tracy Isaacs and Samantha Brennan have tried to persuade the public that “Fit is a Feminist Issue,” which is the title of their highly successful blog. Their goal is to make change by encouraging the public to reflect on fitness from feminist perspectives. All of us including Helen Fielding, another co-organizer, also teach and do research in feminist philosophy, which I think is inherently a kind of public philosophy.
4. Did any former Western students participate in the conference?
The conference profiled many former Western students, including former undergraduate, MA, and PhD students. The former undergraduates were Catherine Clune-Taylor (Princeton) and Suze Berkhout (Toronto). Among the former MAs were Phoebe Friesen (CUNY). And a small army of former PhDs were on the program: Katy Fulfer (Waterloo), Stephanie Kapusta (Dalhousie), Katharina Paxman (Brighman Young), Emma Ryman (Toronto), Patricia Sheridan (Guelph), Angela Schneider (Western), and last but not least, Françoise Baylis (Dalhousie). What talented alumnae we have! I want to add that many of our current graduate students helped with the conference: Veromi Arsiradam, Nicole Fice, Austin Horn, Cecilia Li, Jaclyn Rekis, Valérie Therrien, and Aubrie Schettler. A big thanks to them, and as well to Amy Keating and Stephanie Brocklehurst from Women’s Studies and Feminist Research.
5. When and where will the next CSWIP conference be held?
We don’t know when exactly yet, but we do know where: in beautiful Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The conference will take place sometime in the fall of 2018 and will be organized by Sylvia Burrow, who is yet another graduate of our PhD program.
5 Questions for Professor Corey Dyck on Women Intellectuals in 18th Century Germany
1. What was the impetus for your workshop on Women Intellectuals in 18th Century Germany, held Oct. 20-21, 2017 at UWO?
Historians of philosophy have been paying increasing attention to the contributions of women philosophers and intellectuals to the debates in the 17th and 18th century. Among the more prominent examples are Project Vox, run out of Duke University, and New Narratives in the History of Philosophy, a project based at SFU. I noticed, however, that these projects tended to focus on the British and French contexts and that in fact little scholarly attention had been paid to the intellectual contributions of women in the German-speaking lands of Europe. This is understandable as the German context presents unique challenges of its own (with a distinct intellectual tradition and being rather more conservative than its neighbours), but this presented me with an opportunity to convene a group of experts in the history of German thought to look more carefully at the texts published by German women in this period and consider their various other contributions to intellectual life.
2. Who participated in the workshop?
The workshop featured an excellent group of scholars of 18th-century German philosophy. A number were specialists in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, the dominant figure in philosophy in this century, but others had broader interests in the period including the history of materialism, the history of aesthetics and popular philosophy, the thought of G. W. Leibniz, and Jewish Enlightenment thought. In the end, scholars from 6 different countries (Canada, USA, France, Italy, Germany, and Austria) participated.
3. What did you discuss in your presentation?
My presentation focused on the contributions of two very impressive women--Dorothea Christiane Erxleben, the first woman awarded a medical doctorate in Germany, and Johanna Charlotte Unzer, a well-known poet and author of the first philosophical text published by a woman in German. As I show in my presentation, while neither seems to have known of the other, both offer complementary defences of women's access to education and indeed both adopt similar strategies of deploying, infrequently ingenious ways, the philosophical resources of their most influential (male) contemporaries to frame and motivate their respective defences.
4. How does your interest in this topic fit in with your work on Kant?
I think that Kant scholars had, for a long time, regarded Kant as such a revolutionary thinker (a view that Kant himself encouraged) that his thought constituted a radical break from anything that came before. Recent scholarship, including my own, has shown that in spite of the many innovations of Kant's Critical philosophy, it remains importantly connected to the antecedent German philosophical traditions--and this is hardly a bad thing, since German philosophy before Kant was incredibly rich, including figures like Baumgarten, Herder, Platner, and Mendelssohn who can count the invention of aesthetics and anthropology among their accomplishments, and who made signal contributions to, among other fields, political theory, literary criticism, and religion. The point, then, is that my interest in Kant has led to an interest in the antecedent tradition considered on its own terms, and the women intellectuals considered in the conference are important if often overlooked part of this tradition.
Concerning Kant himself, there were not many women with whom he engaged intellectually, and there are even fewer for which there is a written record of their interactions. Kant did engage in an exceedingly interesting correspondence with one young noblewoman, Maria von Herbert (1769-1803) who sought Kant's moral advice and eventually committed suicide. Their fascinating exchange was the topic of one of the contributions to the conference.
5. What happens next?
I will be putting the contributions to the conference together into an edited volume, and putting together my own programmatic introduction that will make the case for the relevance of the contributions of these women to the history of German philosophy in the period. Given the quality of the contributions and the intrinsic appeal of the topic, I expect the volume to find a good home at a reputable press. Longer term, it would be nice if the conference and subsequent volume generates more interest in these women and more broadly in the many ways in which women succeeded in influencing and engaging with intellectual life in the German Enlightenment
By Adela Talbot, Western News, October 5, 2017
Ken Chung (1978- 2017)
It is with great sadness that we pass along the news that our former student Kenneth (Ken) Chung passed away on Wednesday, September 27, 2017. Ken graduated with a PhD in Philosophy from Western in 2010, having written a thesis on Kant’s ethics (supervised by Dennis Klimchuk) entitled “Kant and the Fact of Reason”. He was smart, creative, kind, and liked by everyone who knew him.
Ken started a blog on the day he received his diagnosis. You can find it at kenchung.org. If you knew Ken, you will hear his voice in it; if you didn’t, you’ll get a sense of what he was like.
Ken's last blog post, which he wrote before his death, ran as follows: "Ken Chung died on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, eighteen months after being diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. He wished he had more time to think, to write, to read, to figure out what life was all about. But mostly he wanted more time to spend with his wonderful wife, Emma Abman, and to hang out with his family and friends. He considered himself to be, on the whole, a lucky man. He was 39 years old."
Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy
Anthony Skelton has been made an Associate Editor of the Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy. For more information see https://jhaponline.org.
By Jason Winders, August 16, 2017, Western News
From delving into the modeling neurodegenerative diseases to looking into digital philosophy, David Bourget is among the four Western researchers who will share in nearly $1 million in funding through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund – part of a larger $52-million investment in 220 new infrastructure projects at 51 universities – allowing researchers from around the country to carry out ground-breaking research in world-class facilities. Read the full story here
The John Locke Society to take over ownership of Locke Studies in 2018
We are pleased to announce that The John Locke Society will take over ownership of Locke Studies in 2018. The journal will be moved to Western University and Benjamin Hill (Western) will be taking over as interim editor for 2018-19. The newly formed Editorial Board will appoint an editor to serve a five-year term beginning in 2020. The new website and portal for the journal will be available this fall. When it is ready, an announcement that we are accepting submissions for the 2018 issue will be released
Members of the new Locke Studies Editorial Board are Peter Anstey (Sydney), Martha Brandt Bolton (Rutgers), Jacqueline Broad (Monash), Mark Goldie (Cambridge), Antonia LoLorodo (UVA), Timothy Stanton (York), and Udo Thiel (Graz). Members of the Editorial Board will sit for six-year terms.
The move to Western will transform the journal from a subscription-based print journal to an open access e-journal. The journal will use the BePress e-publishing platform and will be housed on Scholarship@Western, supported by Western’s Library system and staff. There are significant advantages to publishing as an open access e-journal. Articles will be published as they are reviewed and readied rather than waiting for the end of the calendar year. Desktop delivery of articles will be available to members of The John Locke Society and on-demand delivery available to anyone in the world with internet access. The time between submission and acceptance will be driven downward toward a target of two months. Metrics for article downloads and views will be available. Special issues devoted to interesting topics and themes can be solicited and published and the journal would be able to expand issues and grow as submissions and readership demands. Western’s Philosophy Department is also offering the journal a Graduate Research Assistantship position for an editorial assistant.
We will also be making all of the back issues of Locke Studies and The Locke Newsletter available electronically as word searchable PDFs via the e-publishing platform. Past issues will be made available as they are digitalized and ready for distribution.
Locke Studies was founded by Roland Hall (York) in 1970 as The Locke Newsletter and has been edited by Timothy Stanton (York) since 2013. The Steering Committee of The John Locke Society would like to thank Roland Hall for his vision and tireless service to Locke scholarship for founding and maintaining the journal for so many years and Timothy Stanton for taking up the reins from Professor Hall and continuing to serve the community of Locke scholars. We are
More information about The John Locke Society, becoming a member, or accessing the new e-platform is available at
2017 John Locke Workshop, Toleration:
Its Epistemic and Anthropological Bases
The Western Philosophy Department, along with the Western Political Science and Columbia Philosophy departments, hosted the 2017 edition of the John Locke Workshop. This year's theme was Toleration:
An international line-up of distinguished scholars from Philosophy, Political Science, and Religious Studies programs met over the course of three days to discuss the origins of Locke's thinking about toleration and the background to his famous letter concerning Toleration. Much of the conversation
A second significant topic of discussion was the importance of Locke's conception of human nature, enthusiasm, and the workings of the human mind in driving his judgment toward toleration as a public policy. One of the additional highlights of the workshop was the presentation of two heretofore unknown Locke manuscripts (both discovered in North American library holdings) that are directly connected to the composition of Locke's 1667 Essay concerning Toleration and his early explorations of the toleration debates.
Descriptions of each of the sessions can be found on the blog at thejohnlockesociety.com/blog/ (thanks go out to Western's Alastair Crosby for blogging during the workshop!). Entertainment during the workshop included an excursion to the Stratford Festival to see Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. We'd like to thank the following members of the local scholarly community from joining us during the workshop: Lorne Falkenstein, Tom Lennon, Rob Stainton, and graduate students Remi Alie and Alastair Crosby. The workshop is part of an annual series of
New Honors Specializations in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE)
The Departments of Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics are pleased to announce the introduction of two new PPE (Politics, Philosophy, and Economics) modules, to be launched in the 2018-19 academic year; interested incoming students will need to take the required first-year courses in AY 2017-18.
The new PPE modules are composed of two distinct streams: PPE-E, which emphasizes Economics; and PPE-P, which emphasizes Philosophy and Political Science. Details of the modules can be found on the websites of the Departments of Political Science and Economics. General questions about the PPE program should be directed to the PPE Director, Professor Terry Sicular (Economics). Specific questions about Philosophy course selections for the PPE module can be directed to Professor Andrew Botterell (Philosophy)
Professor William George Demopoulos, 1943 - 2017
After a distinguished career as a philosopher, teacher, and mentor, William (Bill) Demopoulos died on May 29th, 2017. Read more here
By Scientia Halensis, May 16, 2017
Corey Dyck was recently interviewed on his Humboldt Fellowship research project and his research on women philosophers in Halle (in German). Read more here.
By Tara Filipovich, Western News, March 16, 2017
Western professor Tracy Isaacs
By The Guardian, March 8, 2017
Western University named among the top 50 universities in the world for philosophy, as ranked by higher education data specialists QS. Read more here
James Overton ( Ph.D. Philosophy 2012) speaks with Phil Skills about his change from academia to scientific ontologies
James Overton (PhD Philosophy, 2012) recently spoke about his shift from PhD student in philosophy of science to his current non-academic job as a founder of Knocean, Inc. Read more here
By Editors Hall Post, Halle Post, January 31, 2017
Corey Dyck participated in the founding of the 'Christian Wolff Society for the Philosophy of the Enlightenment' in Halle, Germany. Read the article here
By Nicole Fice, Cory Goldstein, Austin Horn, Western News, January 25, 2017
The Departmental newsletter for Winter 2017 has been released featuring the latest publications, presented papers and upcoming events. Read more.
The University Students' Council (USC) presents the 2015-16 Teaching Honour Roll awarded to Western'sbestinstructors, recognizing their exceptional efforts and contributions. In order to receive honour roll standing, an instructor must receive a cumulative average of 6.3 or higher out of 7.0 for the first 14 questions on the UWO Instructor & Course Evaluations. Evaluations are completed by students for every course taught at Western and it’s affiliated colleges. The following instructors in the Department of Philosophy received this distinction for their teaching Andrew Botterell, Lorne Falkenstein, Dennis Klimchuk, Angela Mendelovici, Rodney Parker, Ryan Robb, Anthony Skelton, Christopher Smeenk, Jackie Sullivan, and John Thorp.
By Lisa Mesbur, Canadian Living, January 5, 2017
Tracy Isaacs speaks with Canadian Living about what it means to be fit and who gets to claim the title. Read the full article here
Call for papers and abstracts: Feminism, Philosophy, and Engaging the Public: Theory, Policy, and Practice
The conference will feature a workshop from feminist philosophers involved in policy. We welcome submissions about the variety of ways that feminist philosophers engage the public whether that’s through blogging and social media, taking part in policy decisions, philosophy cafes, or through activism. More information can be found here
By Tracy de Boer, Western News, November 17, 2016
Tracy de Boer, comments on finding hope after the 2016 Presidential election results. Read more
By Tracy de Boer, Western News, October 26, 2016
Tracy de Boer, a
Feminist Philosophy Quarterly (FPQ) has just released their newest issue, Volume 2, Issue 2 (2016) Fall 2016. FPQ is dedicated to promoting feminist philosophical scholarship and strives to be a platform for philosophical research that engages the problems of our time in the broader world.Read it here.
2015-16 Chair's Annual Essay Prize
Congratulations to Francesco Lucia, winner of the Chair's Annual Essay Prize for 2015-16 for his essay "On the Alleged Inconsistency of Weak Epistemic Egoism”. The paper was written for Professor Sullivan’s PHIL 3501G: Epistemology.
The Departmental newsletter for Winter 2017 has been released featuring the latest publications, presented papers and upcoming events. Read more.
By Jason Winders, Western News, September 1, 2016
Charles Weijer, Philosophy and Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, has been named among the nation's top scholars in the arts, humanities, and sciences by the Royal Society of Canada. Read more.
By James Purtill, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, July 23, 2016
Louis Charland shares views about disorders and addictions being treated as passions. Read more.
By Tracy DeBoer, Western News, May 11, 2016
Tracey de Boer, a Philosophy
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
By Henrik Lagerlund and Erika Simpson, London Free Press, May 09, 2016
Henrik Lagerlund and Erika Simpson, Political Science, recommend a different approach to life and learning with young men. Read more.
CBC Ideas, May 04, 2016
Andrew Peterson, a Philosophy
By Cory Goldstein, Rotman Institue, April 5, 2016
Western Philosophy program named among global elite
By Jason Winders, Western News, March 21, 2016
Western Philosophy ranked 38 of Top 50 in QS World University Rankings by Subject Read more
By Tracey de Boer, Western News, March 9, 2016
Tracey de Boer
By Chris Smeenk, Western News, November 19, 2015
Chris Smeenk celebrates the centenary of Einstein's discovery of a new theory of gravity- general relativity. Einstein's achievement required perseverance and enormous creativity, as he struggled over a rough and winding road for eight years to formulate the theory. Read more.
By Craig Fox, Western News, November 19, 2015
Craig Fox writes about celebrating Einstein's discoveries. Read more.
By Carolyn McLeod, Toronto Star, October 30, 2015
2014-15 Chair's Annual Essay Prize
Congratulations to Andrew DiMarco, winner of the Chair's Annual Essay Prize for 2014-15 for his essay "Celebrated Texts of Aristotle: Solving Zeno's Dichotomy".
By Henrik Lagerlund, Charles Weijer & Christopher Smeenk, Western Alumni Gazette, Spring 2015
Western Chancellor Joseph L. Rotman, BA’57, LLD’09, O.C., a renowned Canadian business mogul and philanthropist, died January 27th in his 80th year in Toronto. As a memorial, Western Philosophy professors Henrik Lagerlund and Charles Weijer, and Christopher Smeenk offer thoughts on the legacy of learning Rotman leaves behind on Western’s campus. Read more.
August 01, 2015
By Anthony Skelton, Western News, June 18, 2015
By Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog, May 28, 2015
By Jason Winders, Western News, May 07, 2015
By Joanne Faryon,
By Jason Winders, Western News, April 29, 2015
By Julian Uzielli, Western News, February 26, 2015
Henrik Lagerlund, "The problems with the food industry cut across, of course, being a vegetarian or vegan. Because part of the problem is the labour issue. Even if you just eat salad, at least if you eat salad coming from the grocery store, you're still buying into this conventional food system." Read more.
By Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen, February 24, 2015
Charles Weijer comments on
Andrew Botterell is awarded a Bridge Grant from the University for the project: 'Rights & Tort Law: A Canadian Perspective". Read more
By Andrew Botterell, Western News, December 11, 2014
Andrew Botterell reflects on the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. Read more
By Louis Charland, The Globe and Mail, September 14, 2016
Louis Charland challenges conventional ways of thinking about the illness with a theory involving archaic ideas about torturous passions and their power to take over mind, body, and soul. Read more.
By Adela Talbot, Western News, November 21, 2013
Philosophy professor David Bourget is the director of the new Centre for Digital Philosophy at Western. With a mission of advancing philosophical research through technology, the
By Paul Mayne, Western News, November 13, 2013
Western professor Stathis Psillos, recruited from the University of Athens, has been named the Rotman Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Science. Part of the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, Psillos is a leading philosopher in examining aspects of scientific realism. Read more
Philosophy Professor Charles Weijer comments on Hassan Rasouli case
Charles Weijer, Canadian Research Chair in Bioethics and member of the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, was recently asked to comment on the Hassan Rasouli case on CTV News, Global News, and Maclean's Magazine
By Samantha Brennan, Western News, January 24, 2013
As a philosopher whose main area of research is ethics, and as a cyclist, I’m saddened, angered and intellectually puzzled by Lance Armstrong’s behaviour and recent confession. Like many, I’ve followed his career closely. It’s a compelling saga, triathlete turned Tour de France champion seven times over, with a life-threatening battle with cancer along the way. In the past, I believed Armstrong when he said he was clean, when time after time he denied accusations of doping, and when he said he was the victim of...Read
By Adela Talbot, Western News April 19, 2012
Imagine being able to write your own academic ticket to an Ivy League school of your choice. That’s just what Emily Kress was able to do. Thanks to Western’s Initiative for Scholarly Excellence, the 21-year-old got a head start to her post-secondary studies. Read
by Paul Mayne, Western News June 7, 2012
Matthew Leisinger came more than 4,000
by Communications Staff, August 27, 2012
A paper by Western Philosophy professor Wayne Myrvold, a member of the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, has been named among the 10 Best Papers of 2011 by Philosopher’s Annual. Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics: A Maxwellian View was published in Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, Vol. 42.l. Read more
by Andrew Peterson and Lorina Naci, Western News, December 13, 2012
Imagine that a close family member of yours was involved in a terrible car accident. The accident caused a traumatic brain injury that, despite the best efforts of physicians, has left your family member with a nebulous prognosis and severely diminished levels of consciousness. The attending neurologist explains to you that your family member has received a diagnosis of vegetative state — a disorder of consciousness characterized by cycles of wakefulness without concomitant awareness. Read more