News Archive

Resisting Scientific Realism: Former Philosophy MA and PhD student publishes book with Cambridge University Press

Brad Wray, a former Western Philosophy MA and PhD student, has just published a book with Cambridge University Press. The book is called Resisting Scientific Realism

Brad completed his PhD at Western in 1997 under the supervision of John Nicholas.  Brad's dissertation was on social epistemology. Kathleen Okruhlik and Bruce Freed were readers, and Alison Wylie was a departmental examiner.  Cheryl Misak, from Toronto, was the external examiner.

If you are interested in learning more about Brad’s work, feel free to email him at

Journal of Medical Ethics appoints Charles Weijer to the editorial board

Charles Weijer has been appointed to the editorial board of the Journal of Medical Ethics. In 2016, JME was recently ranked number 1 in the “Top 50 Bioethics Journals” by Georgetown University. For more information see

Adoptive parents need more time off to bond with kids, say Western researchers

By Hala Ghonaim, December 3, 2018, CBC News

A group of Western University researchers and community partners are asking Canadian politicians to grant adoptive parents and caregivers more time to bond with their children during the early stages of adoption.

The London, Ont.-based research team and Adopt4Life: Ontario's Adoptive Parents Association officials were in Ottawa last month to request an additional 15-week "attachment" leave to be part of a new class of employment insurance benefits for adoptive parents and customary and kin caregivers. They met with members of parliament and policy advisors.

"Our concern is that there isn't a separate class of benefits that recognizes the unique challenges adoptive parents face," said lead researcher Carolyn McLeod. The Western University Arts and Humanities professor is also chair of the board at the non-profit.

"What we are asking for is parity with biological parents," she said.

Right now, both biological and adoptive parents are granted a parental leave of up to 35 weeks. However, biological mothers are granted an additional 15 weeks of maternity leave. Read the full story.

Adoptive parents seek longer leave

By Paul Mayne, December 4 2018, Western News

Western researchers are leading a national push for 15 more weeks of work leave for adoptive parents as an important way to strengthen the bond between parents and their adopted children.

Biological and adoptive parents currently receive parental leave of up to 35 weeks; biological mothers receive an additional 15 weeks of maternity leave.

“There are unique challenges that come with adoption, and there are unique challenges that come with biological parenting too, and we think the 15-week maternity leave responds to that,” said Philosophy and Women’s Studies & Feminist Research professor Carolyn McLeod.

“The problem is there isn’t a similar leave for parents who provided permanent homes for children in care.

The team’s main partner is Adopt4Life: Ontario’s Adoptive Parents Association, of which McLeod is chair. McLeod said the ‘attachment leave’ would offer adoptive parents caregivers and children more time to address the unique needs of adoptive families. Read the full story.

World-changing research fueled by new CRCs

By Communications Staff, November 15 2018, Western News

Western will be home to three new Canada Research Chairs whose work will have global impact on earthquake disaster preparedness; psychology and brain science; and neuroimaging to help people with epilepsy.

The federal announcement this week also highlights one researcher upgraded to a Tier 1 (from a Tier 2), specializing in wireless engineering; and three renewals for researchers working in advanced robotics in health settings; meteor analysis; and particle technology.

The Canada Research Chair Program is intended to attract, support and retain outstanding scholars and scientists. Funding flows through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSRC), National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Chairholders with Tier 1 designation are outstanding researchers acknowledged as leaders in their fields; Tier 2 chairs are exceptional emerging researchers recognized for their potential to lead in their fields.

Western’s new Canada Research Chairs:
Michael Anderson, Philosophy, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Science (SSHRC): His research explores new conceptual systems for psychology and provides a deeper understanding of how the brain works. His work emphasizes an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to the cognitive sciences in helping researchers understand complex systems like the brain. Anderson comes to Western from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. Read the full story here.

Western’s MAP Chapter is pleased to announce that our second Philosophy Undergraduate Conference will be held on MARCH 15th, 2019. This conference celebrates the excellent philosophical work of undergraduate students at Western.

Reflecting the commitments of MAP, the theme of the conference will broadly focus on any of the following areas: philosophy of gender, race, sexual orientation, class, disability, etc. These themes can intersect with other areas of philosophy. Although papers should be philosophical, authors who apply need not be specializing, majoring, or minoring in philosophy.

Presentations will be no more than 15 minutes in length, followed by a short Q & A period.

Students are encouraged to submit a relevant term paper from a previous class, roughly 1500-2000 words or 15 minutes read aloud.
Papers will be reviewed anonymously and selected by faculty based on relevance to the theme of this conference. The selected authors will be notified by email. Faculty and graduate student organizers will be available to help authors of accepted papers prepare for the conference.

Please submit papers to Western’s MAP email address: by JANUARY 31st, 2019.

If you have any questions about this conference, please send an email to Western’s MAP email address (

Summer Vacation with Professor Wayne Myrvold

Andrew Botterell, Department Chair, sat down with Philosophy professor Wayne Myrvold to chat about what he did during his summer vacation.

AB: Can you talk a bit about your philosophical background and research interests?

WM: I’m a philosopher of science, with particular interest in philosophy of physics.  My route into philosophy was one that, I believe, is a common one for philosophers of science.  I started out, as an undergraduate, in a science major (physics), became intrigued by philosophical questions arising from the science, and made a move into philosophy for my PhD.  Much of my work has been on the foundations of quantum mechanics, but more recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the use of probability in physics, and, in particular about its role in statistical mechanics.  Early this summer I completed a draft of a book manuscript on the topic, which I hope will be published in the none-too-distant future. It’s called Beyond Chance and Credence.

AB: I understand that you participated in several conferences and events this summer; can you say more about them?

WM: For me, the value of going to conferences is that it gives me an opportunity to talk to people face-to-face about matters of mutual interest, to meet new people and re-establish connections with people I’ve known for a long time, and to be exposed to work that might otherwise escape my attention.  This year I was involved in four events.  The first was New Directions in Foundations of Physics, an annual conference that brings together philosophers and physicists to discuss topic in foundations of physics.  Participants are encouraged to float new ideas, so it’s a terrific opportunity to be exposed to work that I might otherwise be unaware of.  This year it was in a lovely location: Viterbo, in Italy.  This year’s conference was special for me because it included a session in honour of our sorely missed long-time colleague, Bill Demopoulos, who passed away last year.  This included talks by a member of our department, Robert DiSalle, and by one of my former graduate students, Michael Cuffaro.

That was in early June. Later in June there was a workshop I organized, called Thermodynamics as a Resource Theory, bringing together physicists and philosophers to discuss what I regard as an exciting recent shift in direction in work on thermodynamics.  You can see videos of the talks on YouTube.

The other events were in July.  I attended, and gave a talk at, Foundations 2018, in Utrecht, and was participating faculty at a summer school in Split, Croatia, with the title The Chimera of Entropy.  The Foundations conference was this year’s instantiation of a longstanding series of interdisciplinary conferences in the UK and Europe.  These are huge events, involving philosophers and physicists at all stages of their careers. 

AB: Which event did you find most interesting/rewarding?

WM: Well, going to Italy involves eating Italian pizza, and there’s little that’s more rewarding than that.  Though, I must say, since Split is on the Adriatic coast, and attracts a lot of Italian tourists, they do pizza pretty well, there, too. Professionally, I’d have to say that it’s a toss-up between the workshop I organized, and the Split summer school on entropy. It’s always great to meet and interact with graduate students and other up-and-coming researchers from other institutions, and I’m pleased to say that, at the summer school, many of them took full advantage of the opportunity to ask questions in between sessions.  One of the things that the organizers did right was to schedule a day in the middle in which there were no talks, and participants had an option to join on an excursion to Trogir, just up the coast.  That meant that we were all on a boat for several hours, talking to each other.  Lots of good conversations.

AB: What value do you think these sorts of summer schools have for students and faculty members?

WM: One thing that’s very important, for students, is that they get exposed to different approaches to the subject.  We all do our best to steer our students towards what is most important. There’s a danger that students will become too enmeshed in a particular approach, and not realize that the presuppositions of that approach are not universally shared. It’s also valuable to have discussion face-to-face, as things that people take for granted, and don’t explicitly say in their published work, can come out.  For me, it’s valuable, as I get to meet at an early stage of their career people who are on the way to becoming the leading researchers of tomorrow.

AB: Will any of the issues discussed in Croatia make their way into your teaching or research?

WM: Absolutely.  As soon as I got back I made some adjustments to the draft of the book I mentioned earlier, in light of the discussions at the summer school. In particular, I added a section because of a question and follow-up discussion with one student, which made me realize that there was need of an explanation of a point brought out in the discussion that isn’t clearly made in any of the existing literature, as far as I know.  This will affect how I teach the topic next time I do a seminar on it.  And I’ll be doing a grad course on philosophy of quantum mechanics in the Winter term, and some of the things I learned at Utrecht conference will find its way into that.

2017-18 Chair's Annual Essay Prize

Congratulations to Nicole Nowoselski, winner of the 2017-18 Chair's Annual Essay Prize for her essay "The Unbecoming of the Self? An Existential Analysis of Identity and Dementia". The paper was written for Professor Helen Fielding's course PHIL 3555G: Continental Philosophy.

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 cases they study historical episodes that are apparently unique – such as the origin of the universe – and which cannot be studied experimentally. To overcome these challenges, cosmologists have often revisited basic questions concerning what constitutes an acceptable scientific theory, what sorts of explanatory demands a theory of cosmology can meet, and how to understand confirmation in this context. Their answers to these – essentially philosophical – questions have shaped the character of cosmological theory. 

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.

Find out more information about the New Directions in Philosophy of Cosmology and visit the John Templeton Foundation.

Forging on the feminist fitness journey

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 JourneyRead the full story here.

 Corey Dyck among the 2018 Western Faculty Scholars

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.

Professor crosses Borders for global understanding

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 PhD program in law but, to do that, they need people who can supervise PhD students,” Botterell explained.

“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

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.

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 peers present papers on topics that are not always discussed in the classroom. Popular philosophical perspective tends to lack intersectional topics and opinions. Philosophy aims to weave together answers and truth, yet for many underrepresented groups in this field of study, our stories and our quests for truth are missing. Being a visible minority, I sometimes feel like an island within my program. As our keynote speaker so accurately expressed, standard western philosophical programs narrow in on topics that do not acknowledge the underrepresented. This conference was the first step in creating a space for the underrepresented groups within the UWO philosophical field. The topics presented ranged from oppressive aspects of technology, racism within healthcare and childhood, the dehumanizing stigma surrounding illnesses such as dementia, to other issues that need to be discussed. It was such an encouraging experience to meet like-minded peers, eager to become advocates for the untold stories of the minority. To sit in that room with a group of people all at different stages of their philosophical career, all willing to place these stories, my story, at equal value to the popularized Eurocentric philosophy was perspective changing. I am a part of the underrepresented and I look forward to attending this conference again.

The representatives for Western’s MAP Chapter (Nicole Fice [] and Helen Fielding [ 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 are fellow scholars and advanced students.

More information can be found at

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.

New program a chip off the Oxford block

By Adela Talbot, Western News, October 5, 2017

As of next year, Western undergraduate students will have the opportunity to enroll in a program inspired by what The Guardian and BBC once dubbed “the degree that runs Britain.”
Oxford University’s PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) program – which makes up a large proportion of British politicians and even counts former U.S. President Bill Clinton among its students – helped generate a similar PPE program at Western, housed within the Faculty of Social Science. Read more here.

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 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

Four Western Projects earn CFI backing

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 honored and excited to follow their leadership and move Locke Studies forward for the next generation of scholars.

More information about The John Locke Society, becoming a member, or accessing the new e-platform is available at . Please sign up for our newsletter, follow our blog, or like us on Facebook to keep abreast of the developments this fall and winter.

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.

Professors’ feminist fitness blog named among top health influencers

By Tara Filipovich, Western News, March 16, 2017

Western professor Tracy Isaacs 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.

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.

 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'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 BotterellLorne 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 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.

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.

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

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.

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

Appreciating Einstein's bridge between philosophy and science a century after Relativity

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.

Celebrating Einstein

By Craig Fox, Western News, November 19, 2015

Craig Fox writes about celebrating Einstein's discoveries. Read more.

Building families equitably in Ontario

By Carolyn McLeod, Toronto Star, October 30, 2015

The new proposed funding for infertility and adoption in Ontario is clearly inequitable, writes Carolyn McLeod, Department of Philosophy at Western. Read more

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". 

A life examined: Joseph Rotman's legacy at Western

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.

Feminist Quarterly Journal Launched

August 01, 2015

A new online, open access, peer-reviewed journal called Feminist Philosophy Quarterly (FPQ) has just launched. Edited by Samantha Brennan (Philosophy/Women's Studies), this initiative 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 more.

Skelton: Firing may be severe, but not unreasonable

By Anthony Skelton, Western News, June 18, 2015

Anthony Skelton weighs in on questions about the public and private self, and an employer’s responsibility to govern the latter at the expense of the former. Read more.

Western Philosophers listed among most cited worldwide

By Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog, May 28, 2015

Charles Weijer and Stathis Psillos from the Rotman Institute of Philosophy are listed among the top 85 most-cited living philosophers worldwide, according to the popular philosophy blog The Leiter Reports.

Rotman Institute of Philosophy shares BIG IDEAS

By Jason Winders, Western News, May 07, 2015

In this special edition of Western News, members of the Rotman Institute of Philosophy offer up their BIG IDEAS on the questions you’ll be facing tomorrow – and beyond. Read the full article

Weijer interviewed on life support ethics

By Joanne Faryon, inewsource, May 05, 2015

Charles Weijer, Canada Research Chair in Bioethics and member of Rotman Institute of Philosophy, comments on a California medical case involving an unidentified man who as been on life support for the last 15 years. Read the full article

Philosophy cracks global Top 50

By Jason Winders, Western News, April 29, 2015

Western Philosophy was named among the Top 50 programs in the world, according to the 2015 QS World University Rankings by Subject. In total, Western programs ranked among the world’s elite institutions in 23 of 36 areas. Read the full article 

Course opens eyes to food sourcing, security

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.

Why don't people trust science?

By Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen, February 24, 2015

Charles Weijer comments on skepticism and opposition to science. Read more

Rights & Tort Law: A Canadian Perspective

Andrew Botterell is awarded a Bridge Grant from the University for the project: 'Rights & Tort Law: A Canadian Perspective". Read more.

Massacre opens eyes to different ways women experience the world

By Andrew Botterell, Western News, December 11, 2014

Andrew Botterell reflects on the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. Read more.

What if anorexia wasn't a disorder, but a passion?

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. 

Professor fuses philosophy, technology for answers

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 center maintains and develops online tools and services that are widely used by philosophers. Read more.

New CRC looks to bridge science-philosophy divide

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 NewsGlobal News, and Maclean's Magazine.

Spin cycle - Armstrong, doping and the lies he told

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 more

Head start, hard work pay off in Ivy League bid

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 more

Stepping into the Ivy League

by Paul Mayne, Western News June 7, 2012

Matthew Leisinger came more than 4,000 kilometers from his hometown of Prince George, B.C., to earn an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from Western. So what're another 1,000 kilometers – especially when he’ll find himself walking the hallowed halls of Yale University this fall? Read more

Philosopher named among year's best

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

Confronting ethical implications of detecting awareness in the vegetative state

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