Monthly Archives: January 2014

Wednesday January 22, 2014

Hi everyone and welcome to Winter 2014!


Stuffed geese, at the UW campus store.

First, some exciting graduate student news:  back in December Tracy Finn defended her PhD dissertation. Her thesis was “Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Case Study in Causation and Explanation in Psychiatric Conditions.” Sounds fascinating, and our warmest congratulations, Tracy!

In other graduate student news, Cathy Gee tells us her paper, “The Role of Emotional Intuitions in Moral Judgments and Decisions,” was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics. Wonderful news!

Tim Kenyon says, “A paper I co-wrote with Guillaume Beaulac (PhD candidate at Western) recently won the 2013 Essay Prize from the Association for Informal Logic and Critical Thinking. The paper is called ‘Critical Thinking and Biases’, and a version of it is available here.”
Carla passes along some updates about the Consortium for Socially Relevant Philosophy of/in Science and Engineering: “Tiffany Lin and I just got the website up and running for the Consortium. We are adding content every day. Katie Plaisance and I spearheaded the formation of this international group of universities, and so far,  Katie  Plaisance, Heather Douglas, Paul Thagard and I represent Waterloo in this organization.  Check out the new webapge here:
In other science in society news, Heather Douglas writes to tell us of a trip to Arizona: “I participated in a Board of Visitors meeting for the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University, Jan. 6-7, at Saguaro Lake.  I got to hear about all the research CNS has been conducting, talk to their students at the Anticipatory Governance School, and generally have great conversations about science, technology, and the public.  Here I am at the Saguaro Lake Ranch, where it all took place:
Also, a paper in Philosophy of Science came out, The Value of Cognitive Values, which organizes the various cognitive and epistemic values so often discussed by philosophers and shows that they are appropriate for different functions in scientific reasoning, thus reducing the tensions among them. A link to the article is here.” Heather has also been elected as a member of the Electorate Nominating Committee (ENC) of the Section on History & Philosophy of Science of the AAAS for 2013.”
Shannon Dea writes from her sabbatical, “On January 8, I gave a talk called ‘The Nice Bloke Trap’ for British Philosophy heads of department, journal editors and representatives of learned societies. The talk was part of a panel at the University of London co-organized by the British Philosophical Association and the UK Society for Women in Philosophy to introduce those groups’ new joint ‘good practices’ guides for supporting women in Philosophy. The guides are  useful and well crafted, and the response to the event by audience members was extremely positive, with quite a rich group discussion at the end of the panel. The other panelists were Jennifer Saul, Rae Langton, Paul Lodge and Helen Beebee. It was a huge treat to get to talk about inclusivity in the discipline with these distinguished philosophers.”
Finally, I have my own news: my Philosophy Compass survey article, “Philosophy of Sex,” is out. It covers some topics you might expect, like objectification, rape, and queer theory, and some you might not, like polyamory, the medicalization of sexual desire, and the need for a theory of sexual justice. Check it out here! If you can’t access this version, contact me by email.
Also, I am excited to be teaching a new Special Topics course on Philosophy of Economics this term. If you’re curious, you can check out the syllabus.
Don’t forget, as always, you can see more news and check out upcoming events at our Department website.
And thanks for reading!