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: Its Epistemic and Anthropological Bases.

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 centered around emerging research on the nature of Locke's theological commitments and their role in structuring his thinking about toleration and the limits of political authority.

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 (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 workshop organized under the auspices of The John Locke Society. The 2018 edition of the Locke Workshop will be held at Mansfield College, Oxford University, July 16-18. Keynote speakers for the 2018 workshop will be Lisa Downing (OSU), Edwin McCann (USC), and Timothy Stanton (York). A call for papers will be released sometime this fall. More information about the Society and its activities can be found at

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.

Trace search in Halle: Forgotten philosopher and German metaphysicians

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.

Brennan: Why I didn’t protest Jordan Peterson’s visit but newspaper coverage almost makes me wish I did

By Samantha Brennan, Western News, March 30, 2017

Samantha Brennan writes about Jordan Peterson's recent visit to the Western campus. Read more here.

Professors’ feminist fitness blog named among top health influencers

By Tara Filipovich, Western News, March 16, 2017

Western professors Tracy Isaacs and Samantha Brennan were recently nominated as one of OptiMYz magazine’s Top 100 Health Influencers. Their blog, Fit is A Feminist Issue, was ranked fifth for its positive messages and community discussion around issues related to fitness and health. Read more here.

Western Philosophy ranked as one of the top 50 Philosophy departments in the world for 2017.

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.

Ask her anything: Philosophy professor connects with online community

By Julia Beltrano, Western News, February 9, 2017

Samantha Brennan speaks with Western News about her recent Ask Me Anything on Reddit, "It’s important for all academics to engage with the public about our work and our ideas, not just philosophers. But I do think philosophers have both a special obligation and a special ability to engage with the public since we are concerned with issues everyone thinks about to some degree." Read the article here.

Scientific Society for the Exploration of the Enlightenment was founded in Halle (Saale)

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.

Forgotten role of reproductive justice in Zika crisis

By Nicole Fice, Cory Goldstein, Austin Horn, Western News, January 25, 2017

Ph.D. students, Nicole Fice, Cory Goldstein and Austin Horn, write in the Western News about the response to the Zika virus and the effect on women's reproductive rights. Read more.

Winter 2017 Newsletter

The Departmental newsletter for Winter 2017 has been released featuring the latest publications, presented papers and upcoming events. Read more.

Competing Interests: The team doctor’s dual loyalty problem

By Roger Collier, CMAJ, January 10, 2017

Samantha Brennan comments on the difficult position team physicians face when dealing with sports team injuries. Read the full article here.  

2015-16 Teaching Honour Roll features nine Philosophy professors for their teaching excellence

The University Students' Council (USC) presents the 2015-16 Teaching Honour Roll awarded to Western's best instructors, 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 affiliate colleges. The following instructors in the Department of Philosophy received this distinction for their teaching Andrew Botterell, Lorne FalkensteinDennis KlimchukAngela MendeloviciRodney ParkerRyan RobbAnthony SkeltonChristopher SmeenkJackie Sullivan, and John Thorp

How two women are rethinking what it means to be fit

By Lisa Mesbur, Canadian Living, January 5, 2017

Tracy Isaacs and Samantha Brennan speak with Canadian Living about what it means to be fit and who gets to claim the title. Read the full article here.

Spring 2017 Reddit Ask me Anything (AMA) featuring Samantha Brennan


Samantha Brennan will be a guest on the Reddit Philosophy subforum Ask me Anything (AMA) on January 25th at 2:00 pm. After an excellent series of AMAs in Fall 2016, the moderators of r/philosophy are continuing this spring with another series of AMAs by professional philosophers. If you'd like to check out all the previous AMAs done on /r/philosophy please visit the Wiki page here. Full details can be found 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.

Finding reason for hope in a wrong-way election

By Tracy de Boer, Western News, November 17, 2016

Tracy de Boer, comments on finding hope after the 2016 Presidential election results. Read more.

Is this generation too soft?

By Tracy de Boer, Western News, October 26, 2016

Tracy de Boer, a Ph.D. student in Philosophy, asks the question, "Is this generation 'soft'?" in the latest issue of the Western News. Read more.

Feminist Philosophy Quarterly: Volume 2, Issue 2 (2016)

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.

Chris Bosh's Desire to Play Leaves Heat at an Ethical Crossroads

By Samantha BrennanNew York Times, September 27, 2016

Samantha Brennan comments on the ethically challenging Chris Bosh case in the New York Times. Read more

Fall 2017 Newsletter

The Departmental newsletter for Winter 2017 has been released featuring the latest publications, presented papers and upcoming events. Read more.

Scholars named among Royal Society elite

By Jason WindersWestern News, September 1, 2016

Royal Society 2016Charles 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.

Treating with emotions: The 'passion theory' of anorexia

By James Purtill, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, July 23, 2016

Louis Charland shares views about disorders and addictions being treated as passions. Read more.

Commentary: Verdict did not acquit misconceptions

By Tracy DeBoer, Western News, May 11, 2016

Tracey de Boer, a Philosophy Ph.D. candidate, comments on the Jian Ghomeshi acquittal. Read more

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.

Andrew Peterson discusses ethics of brain research on CBC ideas

CBC Ideas, May 04, 2016

Andrew Peterson, a Philosophy Ph.D. student, discusses the ethics of medical research on severely brain injured patients on an episode of CBC Ideas, "Ideas from the Trenches- The Open Mind". Read More

Physician Assisted Death: Challenges for Social Policy in Canada

By Cory Goldstein, Rotman Institue, April 5, 2016

Cory Goldstein, Philosophy Ph.D. Candidate, and a member of the Rotman Institute of Philosophy comments on physician-assisted death in Western News. Read more

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

What to make of Barbie's new bod

By Tracey de Boer, Western News, March 9, 2016

Tracey de Boer, a Ph.D. student in Philosophy and a member of the Rotman Insitute of Philosophy, comments on the new changes to Barbie's body. Read more

Markus Müller named Tier 2 CRC in the Foundation of Physics

By Media Relations, February 9, 2016

QS rankingMarkus Muller, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Philosophy and Applied Mathematics, was recently named Tier 2 CRC in the Foundation of Physics. Read more  

New chair embraces ‘meeting of minds’ 

By Adela Talbot, Western News, January 13, 2016

Tim Bayne is the new chair of the Philosophy of Neuroscience at Western, a post he officially took up in November. Read more