Congratulations to Nicole
Chris Smeenk and James Weatherall (UC Irvine) awarded a grant from the John Templeton Foundation for their project: New Directions in Philosophy of Cosmology
Chris Smeenk, Director of the Rotman Institute of Philosophy and Associate Professor of Philosophy at Western University, and Jim Weatherall, Professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science at the University of California, Irvine, have been awarded a grant from the John Templeton Foundation for $1.37-million USD. Their project, entitled New Directions in Philosophy of Cosmology, will offer a new model for collaboration between philosophers and cosmologists.
Physical cosmology has enjoyed decades of progress, leading to a new understanding of the cosmos and our place in it. But this success comes with new puzzles. Cosmologists seek to understand events that are far removed from us. Moreover, in many
The principal goal of this project is to articulate and scrutinize the philosophical commitments behind cosmology’s Standard Model. The project will dive more deeply into two pressing conceptual issues, identified in collaboration with cosmologists James Bullock (UCI) and Robert Brandenberger (McGill), both of whom are collaborators on the grant: (1) the epistemological significance of the crucial role now played by simulations in linking cosmological theory with observations; and (2) the status of the large-scale structure of the universe in light of suggestions from quantum gravity that characteristic features of general relativity, such as singularities, may not persist into future theories.
By Adela Talbot, April 12, 2018, Western News
Nearly six years ago, it started as a personal blog on which philosophers Tracy Isaacs and Samantha Brennan would share their fitness journeys, publicly tackling a challenge to be in the best shape of their lives by the age of 50.
Readership grew quickly, and the blog, Fit is a Feminist Issue, soon became an online community, with more than 200 individual contributors sharing their personal challenges, experiences and feminist views of fitness.
This month, Isaacs, Associate Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities and Philosophy professor at Western, and Brennan, a former Philosophy professor at Western (now the Dean of Arts at the University of Guelph) released a new book, Fit at Mid-Life: A Feminist Fitness Journey. Read the full story here.
Western selected 15 Faculty Scholars to recognize their significant achievements in teaching or research. The recipients are considered all-around scholars and will hold the title of Faculty Scholar for two years and receive $7,000 each year for scholarly activities. Read more
By Adela Talbot, March 22, 2018, Western News
Andrew Botterell couldn’t ignore the email. When a note from Academics Without Borders (AWB) popped up in his inbox, requesting curriculum support for Bahir Dar University’s law school in Ethiopia, it might as well have addressed him directly.
Botterell, who is the Chair of Western’s Department of Philosophy, and holds a joint appointment with the Faculty of Law, has adopted two children from Ethiopia. With a connection to the country and the skills to answer Bahir Dar’s need, he saw an opportunity to give back. It just happened to be during a time of political tension in the country.
“The proposal (from AWB) was to have someone visit their law school and teach a course on advanced jurisprudence, or the philosophy of law. Bahir Dar wants to create a new
“As I was getting ready to travel in February, the Ethiopian Prime Minister (Hailemariam Desalegn) resigned. The Minister of Defence declared a state of emergency in the country. There had been a lot of protests against the government, and while this was the first voluntary handing over of power in Ethiopia, the understanding is he was going to get pushed out, anyway,” he continued. Read the full story here
Western's Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) Chapter hosted its first annual Philosophy Undergraduate Conference
By Hannah Eastman, Nicole Fice, Julia Lei, March 16, 2018
Left to right: Faizaan Jaffer, Matthew Rieck, Austin VanderBurgt, Nicole Nowoselski [not pictured, Veromi Arsiradam, Jasmine Wang, Adanna Odunze]
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 students an opportunity to present and share their work with their peers, graduate students, and faculty. Approximately 50 people attended the event and engaged thoughtfully with students’ ideas, which included themes like human nature, technology, structural racism and health care, marginalization, racialized children, oppression, and identity.
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
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.
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
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
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
4. Did any former Western students participate in the conference?
The conference profiled many former Western students, including former undergraduate, MA, and
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
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 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
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
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
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."
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
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
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
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 honored and excited to follow their
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: 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 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
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
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
Brennan: Why I didn’t protest Jordan Peterson’s visit but newspaper coverage almost makes me wish I did
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 (
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
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
The Departmental newsletter for Winter 2017 has been released featuring the latest publications, presented papers and upcoming events. Read more.
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.