Wednesday March 20, 2013

Another great campus photo by Vicki Brett.

Another great campus photo by Vicki Brett.

Hi everyone, lots of news this week.

Heather Douglas spent Friday March 15 at the University of Guelph, talking to students in Maya Goldenberg’s graduate seminar on science and values and then giving a talk to the department on “The Moral Terrain of Science.”  Heather says that the talk induced a great discussion, especially about science-society relations and collective responsibility.

Brian Orend now has a lecture up on iTunes.  Brian says, “if you search “Orend” on iTunes, you can down-load for free a 30-minute interview with me regarding my book The Morality of War (second edition forthcoming this Fall).  Also, in the past few weeks, I delivered lectures on “War and Memory” and “Post-war Reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan” at Texas A & M University, and spoke at the University of Guelph on the question: “Did the European Union Deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?”

On Friday March 15, graduate student Ben Nelson gave a talk in the grad student colloquium series:  The Indeterminacy of Hunches: A Non-Standard Account of Intuitive Contents.”  Ben says, “In the talk, I gave a short primer on one contemporary debate in meta-philosophy on the subject of intuitions. I then introduced a new way of thinking about how to use intuitions in philosophy.”

Sharon Lee

Sharon Lee

Hoping to start a trend of posting updates from alums, I wrote to ask Sharon Lee, PhD UW 2008, what she’s been up to over the last few years.  Sharon writes:  “Immediately following graduation, I returned to the publishing industry to work on the development and delivery of resource support materials and textbooks for both Oxford University Press and Pearson Publishing.  I discovered an industry facing some deep and transformative questions regarding the role of print resources in Canadian schools. Questions such as: what should students learn, what is the best way for them to learn this information, which technological advancements are pedagogically sound, and how can an entire industry embrace radical change when it has been doing the same thing for a hundred years. I had the opportunity to participate in many focus groups and product development meetings aimed at trying to find innovative solutions to these questions. And through this experience my own academic exploration of these questions was reignited. So in 2011 I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work as a lecturer at UW again and also at WLU and Western. Teaching courses like children’s rights, social foundations of education, theories of justice, and political theory enabled me to readdress my dissertation and the research I started during my time in the philosophy department at Waterloo. My paper titled “Education as a Human Right in the 21st Century” was recently published as a feature article in the journal Democracy & Education. And my paper titled “Gender and Education: Of what are humans made?” was included in the course book for the Social Foundations of Education course which all teacher candidates must take at Western’s Faculty of Education. I continue to be a member of Wilfrid Laurier’s contract academic staff and my current research project is looking at sustainable teaching practice.”  Nice to hear from you Sharon!


Katie Plaisance

Kathryn Plaisance

Carla Fehr and Kathryn Plaisance just got back from the Advancing Public Philosophy Conference in Atlanta Georgia, sponsored by the Public Philosophy Network.  Together with their collaborator, Kyle Whyte, from Michigan State University, they developed and ran a panel discussion on “Socially Relevant Philosophy of Science.”  Carla says,  “all three of them gave papers about ways that philosophers of science can improve scientific research by helping knowledge move smoothly among different groups of researchers and among groups of researchers, and various public groups including journalists and policy makers.”

Finally, Shannon Dea writes to tell us: “the past week was a busy one for me as a public intellectual. Last Monday evening at Kitchener City Hall, I served as the invited delegation on women’s issues to the Ontario Federation of Labour’s Waterloo Region “People’s Budget” consultation session. This was one of seven regional consultations being held around the province to highlight the adverse effects of austerity budgeting on the most vulnerable Ontarians. I adduced evidence that women are disproportionately disadvantaged both by government service cuts and by tax breaks for high income earners. A couple of days later, I did an interview with CKCO News (the local CTV affiliate) about a controversy in Guelph around Pro-Life advertisements on public buses. Friday, I gave a guest lecture on freewill and determinism to eighty public health students studying the social determinants of health. Finally, Tuesday afternoon, I joined local poverty activists and labour leaders on a local cable talk show (Rogers Talk Local) to discuss the People’s Budget consultations, and the effects of austerity budgeting. Again, my emphasis was on the particular harm that austerity budgeting does to women, especially racialized women, disabled women, and newcomer women. I love having opportunities like these to talk to the broader public about matters of consequence, but last week was an embarrassment of riches!

Don’t forget our grad student conference is coming up this Thursday and Friday!As always, you can see more news and check out upcoming events at our Department website.

— Patricia Marino


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