- Janet Michaud and Ashley Keefner presented research on the controversial “Mr. Big” technique used by the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) to elicit confessions in criminal cases. In this completely novel line of research, Janet and Ashley found that several aspects of the technique are widely judged to be coercive, which has potentially important implications for whether confessions elicited this way should be admissible in court.
- Sara Weaver presented research on judgments of personal identity. Building on prior work on identity judgments in the life and social sciences — and contrary to the consensus in the recent philosophical literature — Sara found that our concept of personal identity seems to allow for one person to be embodied in two entirely different places at a single time.
- Wesley Buckwalter presented research on the relationship attributions of ability and moral obligations, an important but previously unstudied aspect of moral psychology. Wesley found that being unable to to perform a certain task is perfectly consistent with being morally obligated to perform the task, strongly suggesting that “ought implies can” is not a principle of ordinary moral cognition.
- Finally, I presented research on the relationship between judgments of knowledge and reliability. I found that, according to the ordinary concept of knowledge, knowledge does not have to be reliably produced, which strongly suggests that reliabilist theories of knowledge are deeply revisionary.
- Also, at least some (but not all!) of us also ate Buffalo Wings in the very bar where Buffalo Wings were invented.
Doreen Fraser writes, “I just returned from a trip to Oxford and Florence. In Florence, I participated in a workshop on dualities in string theory. Dualities are philosophically interesting because they are cases in which, faced with theories that are mathematically distinct and apparently physically distinct, physicists arrive at the judgment that the theories are in fact not physically distinct. The workshop provided an opportunity for philosophers with different backgrounds to analyze dualities from different perspectives and to share expertise. While in Florence, I also saw some of Galileo’s telescopes and an interesting collection of instruments used for physics demonstrations in salons in the 18th and 19th centuries at the Museo Galileo.
Shannon Dea says, “Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been sharing my latest research on abortion and harm reduction with colleagues in the region. On September 11, at Western University, the Southwestern Ontario Feminism and Philosophy Workshop discussed my paper “Beyond Choice: An Ecological Approach to Abortion Access.” Last Friday, September 19, I delivered the same paper to the McMaster Department of Philosophy colloquium series. And two days earlier, at the Kitchener Public Library, as part of the One Book One Community events concerning Charlotte Gray’s The Massey Murder, I delivered a talk called “Women, Chastity, and the Law.”
Finally, here are a few photos from our Department’s welcome party!