Monthly Archives: April 2015

April 10, 2015

Our grad students continue to shine.

Ramesh is happy that his paper titled, How the creative use of analogies can shape medical practice, has recently been published in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. This paper is based on his course work in PHIL680. Ramesh would like to give special thanks to Doreen for her helpful suggestions and guidance in the project.

Dylon will be presenting at the On New Directions conference here at UW on April 30th. His talk will be on promoting participation and learning in higher education through gamification.

The PGSA held their 22nd Annual Graduate Student Conference with Prof. Julia Driver as the keynote. Graduate students from universities across Canada and the US presented on topics relating to 20th century analytic philosophy, epistemology and practical reasoning. Prof. Driver presented her paper Virtue and Moral Deference which was thought provoking and positively critiqued during the Q&A period.

March and April has been a busy time for our faculty members.

Tim has been doing a lot of different things in Portugal and abroad over the past few months of his sabbatical. In January he led a public Café Filosófico in Porto, on the topic “What is critical thinking?” In February he gave a two-part workshop on critical thinking education: Part 1 was “How could everybody be teaching critical thinking, if it’s so hard?” and Part 2 was “Intellectual virtues and social skills as critical thinking strategies.” The workshop was co-organized with Tomás Magalhães Carneiro, in affiliation with the Universidade do Porto, Instituto de Filosofia, and Clube Filosófico do Porto. Also in February, the Department of Philosophy at Sheffield University were very kind and philosophically helpful hosts for Tim’s talk “Confounds for convergent testimony”. And with Guillaume Beaulac (Yale) Tim gave a talk, “The scope of debiasing in the classroom,” at Reasoning, Argumentation, and Critical Thinking Instruction conference, at Lund University. Finally, Tim’s paper “Oral history and the epistemology of testimony” recently came out in online-first publication at the journal Social Epistemology. The article is available at:

At the end of March seven folk from Waterloo went to Detroit for the second annual conference of the consortium of socially relevant philosophy of/in science and engineering. Katie and Carla started this group a few years ago and it has really taken off. There about 70 individual members, and 8 institutional members. There were 60 presentations at the meeting in Detroit. We can all be very proud of the work that the Waterloo folks shared! Here are the talks that Waterloo folks gave at this meeting:

  • Janet Michaud and John Turri, University of Waterloo, Values in Science Communication
  • Carla Fehr and Mathieu Doucet, University of Waterloo, Implicit bias and negative health outcomes for members of racialized groups
  • Rob Gorbet and Katie Plaisance, University of Waterloo, Overcoming Institutional Barriers to Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration
  • Ty Branch, University of Waterloo, Accountability in Science Communication: Perspectives on Exhibit Design
  • Heather Douglas, University of Waterloo, Science, Power, and the Problem of Openness
  • Katie Plaisance and John McLevey, University of Waterloo, The impact of philosophy of science on scientific research
  • Vanessa Schweizer, University of Waterloo, Elisabeth Lloyd, Indiana University, Philosophy and Conceptualizing the Human Dimensions of Climate Change

On March 19, Heather Douglas, David Isaac, and Rebecca Moore (a recent PhD from U Toronto) presented a Current Issues talk at BSIA on “Canadian Science Policy: Past, Present, and Future,” where we discussed the historical development of Canadian science policy, the current problematic state of things, and how positive changes could be made in the future.

Heather also had an essay on Canadian science policy published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists this month, available here:
A preprint is available here:

Shannon gave a talk called On Spinoza’s Worldly Acosmism twice, once at the end of February to Western’s Seminar in the History of Modern Philosophy and once in March as a colloquium speaker to Guelph’s Department of Philosophy. In March, Shannon was one of the speakers at Cal State Fullerton’s annual Phlosophy symposium. This year’s symposium “Why We Argue and How We Should” ( brought together argumentation theorists, social psychologists, and scholars doing public philosophy on applied issues to consider the character and limits of public debate. In her presentation, “On Abortion as a Cause of Harm,” Shannon drew on her research on harm reduction and my media interventions on the abortion issue. Also in March, the online version of Shannon’s article A House at War Against Itself: Absolute Versus Pluralistic Idealism in Spinoza, Peirce, James and Royce came out in British Journal For the History of Philosophy. Read it here, if you like: (The print version is still in the queue awaiting publication.)

Patricia is back from the Pacific APA where she presented a paper on Love and Economics: The Problem of Altruistic Preferences. The paper considers various ways economists have tried to model the kind of other-regarding preferences Patricia takes to be characteristic of love, and considers problems with each. Patricia was also there as co-President of the Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love, which put on two panels: one on sex and disability, and one with papers that touched on various topics including rape and social media, faking it, and the tenderness of love. You can check out the full info about the SPSL paper line-up at our website here:

In Department news, we welcomed back Department alumna Ruth Poproskie and friends of the Department James Overton and Aaron Barth March 18. All three are Philosophy PhD holders who have gone on to successsful careers outside of the professoriate. They spoke to current graduate students as part of a series of workshops we are offering on multi-track career planning. The following week, Stephanie Burley from the Centre for Career Action led grad students in a series of exercises to help them reflect on their transferable (and marketable!) skills. In April, UW Philosophy PhD alumnus Erich Hochstein (a post-doc at UWash St. Louis), faculty member Chris Lowry, and Wesley Buckwalter spoke to grad students on the topic of pursuing academic careers.

As for our colloquium series, Heidi Grasswick concluded the series for the year in fine style on April 1 (no joke), with a great talk on Scientists as Experts: understanding trustworthiness across communities.