Charles Weijer: Canadian Research Chair in Bioethics

Research Area: Bioethics Philosophy of Medical Science Clinical Trials

Biography: Charles Weijer is a philosopher and physician. His academic interests center on the ethics of medical research. Charles has written about using placebos in clinical trials, weighing the benefits and harms of medical research, and protecting communities in research. Charles’ most recent work talks about a special kind of clinical trial in which groups of people— rather than individual patients—are randomized to one treatment or another. He is one of the co-founders of the Rotman Institute and he has worked with a number of organizations around the world, including the World Health Organization, the United Nations, and the U.S. National Academies Institute of Medicine. Charles’ work is motivated by the belief that medical research raises profound philosophical questions about the nature of our obligations to one another, particularly in relationships of inequality, such as that between researcher and research subject.

Recent Media:

Western-led team delivers world- first ethics guidelines
by Jason Winders, Western News, November 21, 2012

Led by Charles Weijer of Western’s Rotman Institute of Philosophy, in association with Jeremy Grimshaw and Monica Taljaard of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, an international team of researchers has issued world-first ethics guidelines governing cluster randomized trials (CRTs). Read more.

Louis Charland: The 'passion theory' of anorexia

Research Area: Philosophy of Emotion and Foundations of Affective Science, Philosophy of Medicine (Psychiatry), Cognitive Science, Bioethics

Recent Media:

Treating with emotions: The 'passion theory' of anorexia
by James Purtill, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, July 23, 2016

Treatments for anorexia are normally cognitive - they reason with the person - but patients often describe the disorder in emotional terms: anxiety and fear, love and hate. They feel it as much as they think it.

When Louis Charland, a professor at the University of Western Ontario, learned this from clinical psychiatrists, he had what he called a "Eureka!" moment.

"How do you fight passion? With passion. You fight it with passion," he told Hack. 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. Read more.

Chris Viger: Putting philosophy into practice half a world away

Research Area: Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Psychology, Philosophical Issues in Cognitive Science

Recent Media:

Putting philosophy into practice half a world away
by Adela Talbot, Western News, January 30, 2014

Chris Viger is helping reform education half a world away.

“What we philosophers do is often far removed from anything practical,” Viger said. “So it seemed to me an important opportunity to take advantage of.”
Partnering with Abdessalam Ben Maissa, an academic colleague in Morocco, the Western Philosophy professor is developing a curriculum for teaching critical thinking in the North African country. “

In the MENA region – the Middle East and North Africa – it’s been criticized by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) for not having critical thinking as part of their educational system,” Viger said.

Ben Maissa wanted to address the issue and, eventually, became a UNESCO Chair in Critical Thinking, based out of the Mohammed V University at Agdal in Morocco. He organized a conference to mobilize its implementation in Morocco’s educational system. Read more.