BU Philosophy News

BURC – New Faculty Research Grant: Health in Ecological Systems

June, 2019 – Dr. Andrew Inkpen was awarded a BURC New Faculty Research Grant, funding a two-year project at the intersection of philosophy of science, ecology, sustainability, and health studies ($7,431). This research project will culminate in a book manuscript tentatively titled Ecosystem Health and Well-Being, co-authored with Dr. C. Tyler DesRoches (Assistant Professor of Sustainability and Human Well-Being at the School of Sustainability, Arizona State University). The book will critically review recent literature about ecological function, ecosystem health, and ecosystem well-being. These concepts are central to current scientific, medical, and environmental discourse, but their application faces three challenges: (1) they are applied in disparate and imprecise ways, resulting in a confusing and unfocused literature; (2) there is no agreed upon metaphysical foundation of ecosystem health or well-being, thus there is no standard for how they ought to be applied; and (3) these first two problems are compounded by the fact that health and well-being are concepts that have the potential to motivate action in public health and conservation policy. Given these problems, the book will offer a framework to help us evaluate when uses of ecological function, ecosystem health, and ecosystem well-being are appropriate and how we can recognize when this language is improperly applied, as when it is exploited for its emotional content under the guise of scientific impartiality.

Research Manitoba – New Investigator Operating Grant: Blame and Belief

June, 2019 – Dr. Cameron Boult was awarded a Research Manitoba New Investigator Operating Grant (2019-2021) for his project Blame and Belief ($17,850). This project will culminate in a book manuscript examining the nature and norms of “epistemic blame”. Blame is a central part of our moral and practical lives. Negative emotional responses, reproach, and demands for apology are all typical features of our blaming practices. We are most familiar with the idea of blaming people for their actions. Increasingly, research in the philosophical theory of knowledge—or epistemology—has turned its attention to the ways we blame one another for our beliefs. In addition to one’s actions, a person can be the target of negative emotional responses, reproach, and possibly even demands for apology for their beliefs, or intellectual conduct more broadly. For example, we sometimes blame others for engaging in biased thinking, or believing in the absence of sufficient evidence. In epistemology, this is known as epistemic blame. What exactly is epistemic blame? Is it a species of moral blame, or is it something distinctive? What is the relationship between blame for action and blame for belief? The book will develop a new account of epistemic blame, with the aim of answering these questions. Project funding will support the hiring of two student research assistants over the course of two years. It will also support a major research visit at the COGITO Glasgow Epistemology Group, University of Glasgow (UK), forging links between the BU Philosophy Department and Philosophy at Glasgow University.

First Annual BU Philosophy Workshop – Riding Mountain, MB

March,  2019 – The Philosophy Department held its first annual Philosophy Workshop at Riding Mountain National Park. The workshop brought together six researchers for a day of presenting and sharing feedback on research work in progress. Stay tuned for details about next year’s workshop!

Fabien Denis-Cayer explains a subtle point

Fabien-Denis Cayer explains a subtle point about Plato’s lesser-known dialogue, Clitophon.

Dr. Hanemaayer and Dr. Inkpen in conversation

Dr. Hanemaayer and Dr.  Inkpen discuss the lighter side of philosophy of medicine.

Presentation Researcher
Clitophon and the Success of Philosophy Fabien-Denis Cayer (U of Ottawa)
Automated Judgements: Historicizing AI in Biomedicine Ariane Hanemaayer (BU, Sociology)
Health, Ecology, and The Microbiome S. Andrew Inkpen (BU, Philosophy)
Analyzing Impermanence Tyler D. P. Brunet (Cambridge)
Pragmatism, Truth, and Cognitive Agency Cameron Boult (BU, Philosophy)
Russellian Completeness and the Axiom of Uniplicity F. Adam Sopuck (BU, Philosophy)

Philosophy Reading Group 2018-2019

Fall, 2018 – The Philosophy Department formed the Philosophy Reading Group. The group meets once every two weeks during term time. Members discuss papers in a wide range of topics in philosophy! This year we read papers in philosophy of biology, philosophy of medicine, epistemology, philosophy of perception, and social theory.  Paper topic selection is determined by the interests of the members of the group.

The reading group will be up and running again in Fall 2019! Please email Dr. Cameron Boult at boultc@brandonu.ca if you’d like more details!