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2021 U of T Undergraduate Philosophy Research Conference - Apr 13-14

ug_conference_2021[1].png2021 University of Toronto Undergraduate Philosophy Research Conference

It’s that time of year again! Join us to learn about and celebrate the exciting research done by our undergraduates in philosophy. Look forward to insightful and probing presentations by the students on their current work, as well as to a keynote address by Professor Talia Mae Bettcher of California State University, Los Angeles. Dr. Bettcher describes herself as “an engaged philosopher who integrates critical reflection with tangible and meaningful action in our lived world.” She teaches and publishes in the areas of transgender studies, feminist philosophy, and queer theory.

Events will take place online between 12 noon, Tuesday, April 13 and 5 p.m., Wednesday, April 14, 2021.

A schedule of the events and Zoom links can be found below. 
We hope to see you then!
Tuesday April 13 
12:00-12:10 Welcome 
12:10-1:00 Sanghoon Oh (STG) “Art-as-Art; A Precursory Exploration of Art as a Politics of Recognition” 
1:10-2:00 Veronique Rousseau (STG) “The Subject of Existence” 
2:10-3:00 Mel Ramsammy (UTM) “Including the Audience: A Pragmatic Approach to ‘Silenced’ Speech” 
3:10-4:00 Yiting Tang (STG) “Is Argument the Universal Method of Philosophy?” 
4:10-4:20 Video presentation on analytic metaphilosophy by Gavin Foster (STG) 
4:30-5:00 Virtual Reception 
Zoom meeting details (note that all talks on April 13th will be held in the same zoom meeting): 
Topic: University of Toronto Undergraduate Philosophy Research Conference: Day 1
Time: Apr 13, 2021 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 822 3094 0896
Passcode: 536350
Wednesday April 14 
12:00-12:10 Welcome 
12:10-1:00 Alyssa Izatt (STG) “Parental Rights: Investment Over Biology” 
1:10-2:00 Parinaz Esmaeili (STG) “Epistemic Injustice and Radical Externalism” 
2:10-3:00 Rachel Kandiah (UTSC) “Is Ethics too Emotional? The Utilization of Anger in Moral Decision Making and Character Development” 
3:10-4:30 Dr. Talia Mae Bettcher (California State University, Los Angeles) "The Phenomenology of Illusion: Rethinking Trans Gender ‘Dysphoria.’” 
4:30-5:00 Virtual Reception
Zoom meeting details (note that all talks on April 14th will be held in the same zoom meeting): 
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 815 7185 1037
Passcode: 530284
Questions? Email Julia Smith.

Dr. Jessica Wilson participating in panel discussion - A Theory of Everything - Mar 23, 2021

Our own, Dr. Jessica Wilson will be a panelist at the event, "A Theory of Everything?" organized by LSE's Forum for Philosophy

Date: Mar 23, 2021

Time: 2:00 - 3:15pm EST

Photo Credit: A. M. Cassandre, ‘Bijoux Modernes‘

The biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. Is there an even more general theory that can make sense of all the sciences? The various scientific disciplines each have their own methods, theories, and practices. This is the case even when different sciences try to explain the same phenomena. Can we translate between these distinct disciplines? What does this even mean? Might all of science be reduced to physics one day? Panel to discuss reduction, emergence, and the unity of the sciences.

Philip Ball
Science Writer and Editor, Nature
Vanessa Seifert
Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Bristol
Jessica Wilson
Professor of Philosophy, University of Toronto

For any queries, email

All Welcome.


Choosing Your Program Fair - Mar 2, 2021

Need to better understand your program options? 

Chat with us at the UTSC ‘Choosing Your Program Fair’ on Mar 2 and discover why a major or specialist degree in philosophy provides outstanding preparation for any post-graduate direction, and how philosophy also makes an ideal double major. Click here to sign up.

Ontario High School Ethics Bowl - Feb 27, 2021

The UTSC Philosophy department is a proud sponsor of the 2nd annual Ontario High School Ethics Bowl, happening virtually on Feb 27, 2021.

The event, which was launched at UTM last year by Philosophy student, Jeffrey Senese offers high school teams from across the province the opportunity to come together to discuss important topics, both collaboratively and competitively. The aim of the event is to help high school students improve (and showcase!) their abilities to think critically, research effectively, and discuss controversial ideas respectfully.

The event has been featured in the local media by the National Observer and Toronto Star.

Visit the Ontario Ethics Bowl website to find out more.

Virtual Memorial for Prof Waheed Hussain - Feb 26, 2021

UTSC Philosophy Students are invited to join us as we honour the life of Professor Waheed Hussain.

We will be holding a Virtual Memorial for Professor Hussain this Friday, February 26 from 1:30-2:30pm via Zoom. 
This gathering will be specifically for our UTSC student community. Some of our faculty members will say a few words of remembrance before opening up the floor to students to share your thoughts, feelings and memories.
You will find the link to the Zoom meeting below.
Topic: Memorial for Professor Waheed Hussain
Time: Feb 26, 2021 01:30 PM America/Toronto
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 869 0961 9936
Passcode: 759488
Additionally, you are most welcome to submit a memory of Professor Hussain to be included on our Tribute Wall (coming soon) on our department website


Association of Philosophy Students is now offering a Writing Clinic

Looking to improve your writing skills?

The Association of Philosophy Students is now offering a Writing Clinic! Meet with your peers (who have been mentored by the faculty) to get feedback on your philosophy paper drafts. Visit to book your appointment.


Professor Waheed Hussain (1972-2021), in Memoriam

With immeasurable sadness, we announce the loss of Professor Waheed Hussain.  Professor Hussain was special in every way, a superb and beloved teacher and a profoundly original philosopher.  Professor Hussain worked at the intersection of political philosophy, moral philosophy, economics and business ethics. He developed a deeply original criticism of market societies that focused on the ways that market societies ‘pit people against each other.’  But he also offered a constructive way to re-conceive the roles that markets can play if they are embedded in socially co-operative societies. He was working on his book Living with the Invisible Hand: Markets, Corporations, and Human Freedom at the time of his death.  We will hold a celebration of Professor Hussain as soon as we are back together on campus.  In the meantime, please feel welcome to remember him on our tribute wall.  Professor Hussain’s passing is a devastating loss to his family and to all of us – students, colleagues, friends – who benefitted from his work, his humour and his character.  We will miss him and remember him always.

Association of Philosophy Students Faculty Meet & Greet - Jan 29, 2021

Attention Philosophy Students:

The APS is pleased to announce their first event of the year - a 'Meet and Greet' with the Philosophy faculty on January 29, 2021 from 12 - 1pm.  This is your opportunity to meet, network, and connect with your professors! 

Are you interested in Ethics? How about Epistemology? Maybe Metaphysics? There is so much to philosophy that you can explore. 

Be sure to mark the date and time in your calendar, you won't want to miss it! 

Zoom Link:

Meeting ID: 880 6004 1451          Passcode: 529732

Christian Pfeiffer Among Recipients of 2020 Connaught New Researcher Award - Sep 2020

Congratulations to assistant professor Christian Pfeiffer (UTSC) for ranking among the 56 U of T scholars awarded a 2020 Connaught New Researcher Award. The award recognizes junior professors within the first five years of a tenure-stream academic appointment and aims to help recipients establish a strong research program and increase their competitiveness for external funding. It forms part of U of T’s commitment to fostering excellence in research and innovation by supporting faculty members at the beginning of their academic careers.

Pfeiffer’s project, Aristotle’s Metaphysics H, seeks to provide an original and more accurate interpretation of Aristotle’s theory of hylomorphic substances in Metaphysics H. Pfeiffer will here establish that book H contains the authoritative Aristotelian account of hylomorphic substances, which is based on Aristotle’s theory of scientific definitions. Pfeiffer’s work will also seek to clarify whether these considerations imply that Aristotle proposed two different models of hylomorphism.

The funding for the Connaught New Researcher Award comes from U of T’s Connaught Fund, founded in 1972 when the university sold the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories for $29 million. This year, the Connaught New Researchers program has awarded funding to 14 researchers in the humanities, 9 in life sciences, 8 in physical sciences and engineering, and 25 in social sciences.

2019-2020 UTSC Undergraduate Philosophy Conference - Biomedical Ethics - Mar 7, 2020

Presented by the Association of Philosophy Students

  • Keynote Speaker - Phoebe Friesen (McGill University) - Medical Aid in Dying and Suicide: How are they different and how are they similar?
  • Student Speaker - Abbey Horner (University of Western Ontario) - A Realistic Analysis of rCRISPR: The Inevitability and Necessity of Research on and Regulation of Reproductive CRISPR
  • Student Speaker - Kate Tsiandoulas (University of Toronto: St. George) - Arguments against Bonnie Burstow's Anti-Psychiatry Movement
  • Student Speaker - Soaad Hossain (University of Toronto: Scarborough Campus) - Approaching patient-clinician relationship issues involving artificial intelligence using ethics of care and nursing ethics

Special Feature: Panel discussion on Graduate Studies in Philosophy with Tania Sleman (New York University), Sydney Campbell (University of Toronto) and Adrian Ma (University of Toronto)

Welcome to Assistant Professor Christian Pfeiffer - Jan 2019

Christian Pfeiffer will join the Department of Philosophy in January 2019 from his assistant professor position at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich.  His research focuses on ancient philosophy, in particular Aristotle. His book, Aristotle’s Theory of Bodies is coming out with Oxford University Press in August 2018. Current research projects include a monograph on Aristotle’s Metaphysics H as well as a series of articles connected to topics in Aristotle’s physics and metaphysics.

Christian received his Ph.D. from the Humboldt-University of Berlin in 2012. He studied philosophy and ancient Greek at the Humboldt Universität, the Freie Universität in Berlin, the University of Edinburgh and Princeton University.

Welcome Back Assistant Professor Joshua Brandt

Joshua Brandt will return to UTSC to continue leading our program in biomedical ethics. Joshua received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 2017. His research offers an original approach to the issue of negative partiality in ethics, and in biomedical ethics he is developing a research project that critiques existing justifications of randomization in clinical trials and proposes a new alternative justification.







Welcome Mark Fortney

Mark Fortney is joining us to teach courses in philosophy of mind and philosophy of sexuality.  Mark received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 2017 in the philosophy of mind.  Most of Mark’s research so far has been about the nature of attention and the relationship between ordinary and scientific talk about attention. He’s also recently started to work on accessibility and the scientific study of romantic love. He’s previously taught advanced courses about consciousness and objectivity, and introductory courses about the mind, sexuality, and ethics.