Congratulations to Dr. Ty Branch, who graduated at Fall convocation! Here’s a photo of Ty with Dr. Doreen Fraser at the reception:
Ty’s doctoral dissertation was about the role of values in science communication. A detailed interview with Dr. Branch can be found at the upcoming Fall issue of our Rational Enquirer e-magazine.
Our Chair Dr. Patricia Marino reports that: “In early November, I had the great pleasure of presenting a paper on the use of mathematics in economics at the 20th Midwest Philosophy of Mathematics Workshop at The University of Notre Dame. Philosophy of math was one of the first areas I worked in, and for a long time I’ve been working on other topics, especially in value-theory. In economics, I get to bring these fields together, and it was so fun spending some time talking about topics like the nature of mathematical explanation. My paper — “On the Use of Mathematics in Economics: Formalism, Fit, and Physics” — examined the relationship between formalism as a philosophy of mathematics and formalism as a way of axiomatizing math and science. Because of the effect of flying on climate change, I chose to travel the 400 miles to South Bend by train and bus; if you want to read about that experience, I wrote about it here. Finally, here is a picture of me with an old friend from graduate school, Sean Duggan, who works on Frege”:
“I’ve also”, she continues, “recently presented a paper on “Moral Pluralism, Bioethics, and the Complexities of Informed Consent” — at the Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy conference [http://www.cswip.ca/] and at a bioethics workshop at the Romanell Center at the University at Buffalo. Here’s a picture of the conference speakers in Buffalo”:
“On Friday December 6th,”, Patricia adds, “I’ll be participating in an author-meets-critics session at Ryerson University on Brian Weatherson’s new book on normative externalism. It’s just down the road, so if you want to attend, just let me know!”
Dr. Mathieu Doucet’s latest research project has been featured and promoted by the University. Called “Ethical by Design,” it involves examining how biotechnology and bioengineering impact our lives; Matt’s input focuses on the moral and political dimensions of such impact.
Matt’s expertise in applied ethics complements the expertise of other Waterloo faculty in engineering- and computer design, for an exciting new interdisciplinary investigation into cutting-edge technological change. Check out the full story here:
Dr. Shannon Dea reports that: “In October, I gave a talk entitled “On Silence” at the Freedom of Expression in Canada workshop held at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). In the talk, I argued that we should avoid conflating self-censorship (which is bad) with virtuous- and morally neutral refrainment from speech.
“Also in October,”, she notes, “I published my latest column in my monthly University Affairs series, Dispatches on Academic Freedom. The October column, “Middle Eastern studies, Greta Thunberg and Institutional Autonomy” [https://www.universityaffairs.ca/opinion/dispatches-academic-freedom/middle-eastern-studies-greta-thunberg-and-institutional-autonomy/] draws on two recent cases from the U.S. to show just how critical institutional autonomy is for academic freedom.
“As well,” she adds, “I have just been appointed as Cult 5 Fellowship expert panellist on Philosophy and Ethics for the Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek – Vlaanderen (FWO) for the period 2020-2023. The panel comprises twelve international experts who meet in Brussels twice a year to adjudicate Belgian national grant applications.”
In early November, Ian MacDonald successfully defended his PhD thesis, Communal Inferentialism: Peirce’s Critique of Epistemic Individualism. Examiners were Drs Shannon Dea (supervisor), Gerry Callaghan, and Dave DeVidi (internal examiners), Andrew McMurry from English (internal-external examiner), and Paul Forster from the University of Ottawa (external examiner). The thesis includes the material for which Ian won this year’s Charles S. Peirce essay prize, announced last blog. Ian will present his prize-winning paper in January at the annual meeting of the Charles S. Peirce Society: [https://peircesociety.org/home].
In early October, the department celebrated the launch of the Gender and Social Justice (GSJ) program (formerly Women’s Studies) with afternoon cake and refreshments. The launch of the program this term is the culmination of work that began in 2014, when the Women’s Studies Board and Shannon, then-Women’s Studies Director, started the process of moving the program into the philosophy department, revamping the curriculum for the program, and renaming it accordingly. The department will hold a larger celebration of the activation of the GSJ program on April 2, in 2020, with a showcase of student work and a public talk by Toronto Star equity and race reporter (and Atkinson Fellow) Shree Paradkar. Stay tuned for more details on that as the date approaches.
Finally, from October 21 to 25, the department played host to Professor Kyle Powys Whyte, who was this year’s Brian Rudrick Visiting Scholar.
Dr. Whyte is Professor & Timnick Chair in the departments of Philosophy and Community Sustainability at Michigan State University. During his visit, Professor Whyte gave a colloquium talk, “Is Indigenous Research Possible within the Confines of Anglophone Philosophy Departments?”, led an informal workshop on “Reconciliation,” and gave a public talk (co-hosted by Philosophy and Shatitsirótha, the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre): “Not Done Critiquing Wilderness Areas, National Parks & Public Lands.”
Professor Whyte also generously met with students, including the department’s Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) chapter, visited the Six Nations reserve, and spent time with Indigenous students, staff, and elders at Shatitsirótha.
Professor Whyte was the third Brian Rudrick Visiting Scholar the department has hosted. That visiting scholar program is supported by a generous bequest from long-time friend of the department, Dr. Brian Rudrick, who died suddenly in 2013.