Wednesday November 26, 2014


Hi everyone and welcome to the last week of Fall term! As always, it seems like just yesterday that we were gathered for the welcome party, and here we are in week 12.

First, we are thrilled to announce that two of our graduate students are SSHRC scholarship recipients! Graduate chair John Turri writes, “Ashley Keefner and Sara Weaver each won a Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in the 2013-14 competition. These are extremely competitive and prestigious awards. According to SSHRC’s statistics, in this round, only seven CGSs were awarded to PhD students here at Waterloo and only eighteen were awarded to philosophy PhD students nationally. I know that the entire Waterloo philosophy community joins me in congratulating Sara and Ashley on their amazing accomplishments.”

Sara says:
“The award came as a wonderful surprise and I feel so honored to have my work recognized like this. The scholarship will be an immense help in my studies both in terms of the travel expenses it will help cover and in terms of the extra time I may now have to invest in my research. It is also so thrilling to me to have my proposed thesis, which is a project dear to my heart, be noticed as so worthwhile. A big THANK YOU goes out to Carla Fehr who helped me articulate that proposal in my application!”

And Ashley says:
“The CGS will support my doctoral research on the abilities of animals, both human and non-human, to represent and reason about the mental states of conspecifics. I’m grateful to have won a CGS as it has allowed me to focus more directly on my research. Thanks to everyone who provided feedback on my many drafts, and special thanks to Paul Thagard for his help and guidance.”

Congratulations, both!

In other graduate student news, Ty Branch recently presented a poster at the recent Calgary Summit of Philosophers of Science. She writes “My Poster talked about the potential of near-living architecture to be used as an example of weekly emergent phenomena based on my work over the summer as a result of my MITACS internship.” Check out the abstract here, and you can see a profile of Ty’s internship on our Dept. website. Plus here’s a great picture of Ty with her poster in Calgary!


Ty also presented a paper at the Workshop on Research Agendas in the Societal Aspects of Synthetic Biology in Arizona in early November. This conference was an opportunity for “scholars and practitioners to help articulate research agendas for societal research on synthetic biology… As an emerging
technology with high stakes, uncertain outcomes, and contested definitions
and values, synthetic biology requires systematic inquiry into its ethics,
governance, and desired (or undesired) futures.” She sent along this amazing photo of a concept map produced in one of the conference sessions:


In exciting faculty news, Chris Eliasmith became one of the (80) inaugural members of the RSC College on the weekend in Quebec City. Congratulations Chris!

Doreen Fraser writes that Waterloo was well-represented at the biennial meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association (PSA) in Chicago a few weeks back. Heather Douglas presented a paper co-authored with John Turri and Wesley Buckwalter entitled “Inductive Risk and Data on Values in Science” in a symposium on Naturalism and Values in Science. The session included presentations of evidence about how scientists and the public view the role of values in science, and what implications philosophers of science should take from such evidence. Carla Fehr and Katie Plaisance contributed papers to a special session co-sponsored by The Consortium for Socially Relevant Philosophy of/in Science and Engineering (SRPoiSE) and The Association for Feminist Epistemologies, Methodologies, Metaphysics, and Science Studies (FEMMSS). The session highlighted a successful example of an ongoing collaboration between the two groups which is resulting in refinements to the Toolbox project  for improving communication within interdisciplinary research teams. And I (Doreen) chaired a session of contributed papers responding to her work on axiomatic and heuristic approaches to quantum field theory and was also a member of the Program Committee. This was the largest PSA meeting in the history of the association! All of the abstracts and some of the papers are available at As usual, some of the papers will be published in two forthcoming volumes of Philosophy of Science.

On November 16, our very own Shannon Dea was appointed Director of Women’s Studies! Check out all the cool stuff that Department is doing here at their website.

In other faculty news, Shannon  Dea and Carla Fehr participated in the Tech Feminism 101 panel put on by the Women in Computer Science Undergraduate Committee November 13.

And on Nov 17,  Chris Lowry was interviewed  by 570News with respect to the recent court decision allowing a First Nations family to withdraw their child from chemotherapy and treat her cancer using traditional medicine. You can hear the interview here.

Plus, you may remember Heather Douglas was part of a Rotman panel on climate change?  The video from that event has been posted.

In a bit of teaching news, I (Patricia Marino) recently invited McMaster PhD candidate Joanna Zaslow to visit my seminar on Autonomy in Sex and Love to present on her dissertation work on submissive women in Master/slave BDSM relationships and its implications for feminist theories of autonomy. We found her presentation most interesting and had a great discussion. Thank you Joanna!

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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