Monthly Archives: July 2013

July 17, 2013

Hi and welcome to mid-summer! I hope everyone is finding ways to stay cool. Here’s a campus squirrel, captured by Vicki just the other day, expressing the same mid-summer lethargy I feel myself:

Mid-summer campus squirrel, by Vicki Brett.

Mid-summer campus squirrel, by Vicki Brett.

Here’s what we’ve all been up to.

Graduate student Ashley Keefner is just back from a conference in Maryland.  Ashley says, “I presented at the ‘International Association of Computing and Philosophy (IACAP) 2013′ conference; my talk was on models for similarity judgments and the paper was called ‘Semantic Pointer Model of Similarity.'” Nice work Ashley!

On June 26, a workshop Heather Douglas organized on “Science, Policy, Values: Exploring the Nexus” was held at the University of Toronto as a pre-conference event for the biennial meeting of the Society for the Philosophy of Science in Practice.  Heather writes, “The workshop featured speakers from Canada– such as Jim Brown (U Toronto), Maya Goldenberg (U Guelph), Sergio Sismondo (Queen’s U), Frederic Bouchard (U Montreal), Jennifer Liu (U Waterloo), Kieran O’Doherty (U Guelph)– and from the U.S.– Kevin Elliott (U South Carolina)  & Jacob Stengenga (Utah).  Marc Saner (U Ottawa) and I provided end of day commentaries.  With over 70 registrants and vibrant discussions after talks and into coffee breaks, the day was really fun.   More details on the talks can be found here: http://www.philosophy-science-practice.org/en/events/spsp-2013-workshop/   I hope to bring the talks together in an edited collection in the coming year.”

Joseph Novak gave a paper at the University of Denver and Marquette University, Annual Summer Conference on Philosophy in the Abrahamic Traditions. Joe says, “My paper, entitled, “Axiomatic Method in Anselm and Aquinas” was given on Wednesday July 10 and dealt with a comparison of the axiomatic approaches of Aquinas and Anselm in the consideration of God and his nature.  As opposed to the sketchy notions entertained by many who have just a textbook knowledge of the proofs of Anselm and Aquinas on the existence of God, the writings of the two authors themselves show a fairly rigorous development of the nature of the Deity for whose existence they argue.”

Chris Eliasmith recently gave four lectures at a recent neural engineering conference and also the keynote at this conference on cognitive modeling. His lab is presenting 4 talks, 4 posters and a day long tutorial, at the end of July/beginning of August, at the 2013 meeting of the Cognitive Science Society.  Also, a little bird told me Chris was recently featured on CBC’s science show, Quirks and Quarks.

Brian Orend visited the Grand Canyon.

Brian Orend visited the Grand Canyon.

Brian Orend gave an invited lecture on cyber-warfare at Arizona State University in late May, and visited the spectacular Grand Canyon afterwards. In June, he served as chair of the opening session at the Royal Military College’s workshop on “Ethical Warriors” and had published a book chapter, “Post-War Policy,” in F. Allhof, et al, eds. The Routledge Handbook of Ethics and War. Two weeks ago, he published “Drones are Justifiable Tools of Warfare” with the edited online journal e-International Relations. The short piece is available for free. And just yesterday he finished reviewing the final proofs of the second edition of his Morality of War, due out this Fall. Next up: a new translation of, and commentary on, Kant’s Perpetual Peace (forthcoming Broadview, 2014).

Recent Faculty Publications

Matt Doucet says “I have a new paper out in Utilitas: “Playing Dice with Morality: Weighted Lotteries and the Number Problem.” A recent debate in normative ethics concerns so-called Number Problem: how ought we choose between groups of different sizes in distributing a benefit? Some critics of consequentialism reject automatically choosing the larger group on the grounds that it is unfair, and propose a lottery in its place. In this paper, I criticize the lottery solution on the grounds that it is excessively demanding and misunderstands the nature of moral decision-making.”

Don’t forget, as always, you can see more news and check out upcoming events at our Department website.

Thanks for reading!

— Patricia Marino

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