Monthly Archives: May 2015

April 08, 2015

April was a busy month for everyone in the philosophy department. Here is a taste of what people have been doing.

A group from Waterloo — Shannon Dea, Ian MacDonald, Nathan Haydon, and Matt Silk, all attended an April workshop on pragmatism and phenomenology at King’s University College at Western Ontario. At that workshop, Shannon led a discussion of Peirce’s phenomenological categories, and Ian, Nathan and Matt led a discussion (animated by an ongoing debate amongst the three of them) about Peirce’s and Dewey’s respective theories of experience. Waterloo had the largest turnout of any university at the workshop. This, combined with the participation in the workshop by Waterloo Philosophy alumni Paul Fairfield and Kimberley Baltzer-Jaray, led some reminiscences about the heyday of Waterloo pragmatism, when such Waterloo (since retired) faculty members as Don Roberts, Brian Hendley, Angus Kerr-Lawson and Jim Van Evra were active researchers and teachers of classic pragmatism.

Patricia Marino recently participated in a conference on Scientific Imperialism at TINT: The Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences The paper she presented, “Ethical Implications of Economics Imperialism: Two Examples” brings together her research in ethics, philosophy of economics, and philosophy of sex and love. In the first example she talks about attempts to model altruistic preferences in economics and in the second about claims of “rationality” in studies of sexual behavior. Patricia reports it was great talking with so many other people interested in the philosophy of social science.

Here is a picture of the interior of the interesting and beautiful building Patricia’s conference was in.


Just by coincidence, Doreen Fraser and Patricia were on the same overnight flight to Frankfurt for the first leg of their respective trips. Here is a picture of them in the Frankfurt airport in the early European morning.

Patricia and Doreen

On April 22 Dave DeVidi was a panelist at a Diversity and Inclusion Workshop for students at McMaster University DeGroote School of Medicine’s Waterloo Regional Campus. The other panelists spoke on LGBTQ issues and on Ethnocultural Sensitivity, while Dave gave a presentation on gender equity. The other panelists were able to bring useful first-person experience to their presentations, which was something that made them illuminating, for everyone in the room. Both those presentations focused on issues likely to arise in the sorts of day-to-day and person-to-person interactions that aspiring medical professionals can expect to have with patients. Being the straight, white, middle aged, middle class male on the equity panel, Dave had less of that sort of experience to bring to the panelist job, so he took quite a different tack. Dave called his presentation “Gender and Equity: Think Process to Make Progress.” During their careers medical professionals are going to have many roles, including as colleague, employer and employee. Dave tried to make the take-away message of his talk that in professional contexts changing people’s hearts is neither necessary nor sufficient for making progress on equity issues: if you just change hearts, bad processes will continue to do the discriminating for you; and changing a process can improve outcomes even if people go home at night and complain about “political correctness gone wild.” There was a very interesting Q&A session after the presentations. As Dave reported, “the audience laughed at my jokes, too, so I had a terrific time.”


Heather Douglas gave a talk at Wesleyan University on April 23 entitled “Science & the Public: Rebuilding the Relationship.” Heather reported that it was great to visit Wesleyan and talk to Joe Rouse about his work. Slides and a description of the talk can be found here:

In April, Paul Thagard gave 7 talks on Natural Philosophy at the University of
Trnava, Slovakia. A link to the slides can be found here:

The department was well represented at the annual teaching and learning conference held at Waterloo. Dylon McChesney gave a presentation on promoting participation and learning in higher education through gamification. The session was well attended and gave rise to many insightful questions and comments. Shannon Dea gave a presentation on how to use in-class micro-readings to cultivate student literacy skills. Greg Andres, along with 2 others, led a workshop on creating student centered rubrics.

Last, but not least, the department held its annual awards ceremony in April. Congratulations to all who won. Your hard work and dedication to the discipline is greatly appreciated. For information about who won what, you can find details here: