Signature Research Areas | Philosophy of Science

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Highlights

Top tier of philosophy departments globally, building on international reputations in philosophy of science, ethics and history of philosophy

Canada Research Chairs in Philosophy of Science and Bioethics, and an endowed Chair in Philosophy of Neuroscience

15 core members of the Rotman Institute of Philosophy

Unique ‘philosophy laboratory’

Strategically aligned with Western’s Brain & Mind Institute

In 2012, established the first ethical guidelines for cluster-randomized trials, which will become part of ethics policies and practice around the world

Overview

Western’s philosophy department is world-renowned for philosophy of science. The Rotman Institute of Philosophy builds upon this strength by supporting projects that bring together philosophers, scientists, policy-makers and the public at large. By building bridges between philosophy and the sciences, and drawing upon their respective strengths, its members are better able to address challenges with broad impact on Canada and the world.

Key Initiatives

Philosophy of Science

  • Explores challenging changes to our world view and conception of human nature emerging from modern science;
  • Forges new concepts and poses novel questions at the frontiers of scientific research;
  • Resolves debates about sound methodology arising in new domains; and
  • Considers how science should best be pursued in a democratic society, and how to reach specific goals based on scientific knowledge.

Rotman Institute of Philosophy

  • Formed in 2008, houses a unique, collaborative ‘philosophy laboratory’ to better engage, explore and exchange ideas;
  • Focused on innovative research, public engagement and interdisciplinary training;
  • Engages philosophers, scientists, students and policy-makers in discussions of what is good for science and what science is good for;
  • Interdisciplinary venture composed of members from six faculties in science- and humanities-based disciplines;
  • Examines questions related to diverse areas of contemporary science, including: foundations of physics, philosophy of neuroscience, research ethics and environmental sustainability; and
  • Formulates ethical guidelines in light of new medical discoveries, and clarifies ethical commitments guiding research practice.

Strategic Priorities

  • Innovative Research: Create interdisciplinary, global research teams that include philosophers, scientists and policy-makers.
  • Public Engagement: Communicate with audiences locally and online, targeting activities that lead to constructive, open-ended dialogue.
  • Interdisciplinary Training: Train scholars in interdisciplinary teams to engage complex problems from new perspectives.