Lectures, Workshops & Webinars

Lectures, Workshops & Webinars

Lectures, Workshops & Webinars

Derek Allen talk poster

Justification in Ethics with Professor Derek Allen

The Association of Philosophy Students invites you to attend Professor Derek Allen's talk "Justification in Ethics" on Friday, February 17, 2023 @ 5:00 p.m. via Zoom.

Abstract: The issue I will be mainly concerned with in this paper is whether justification in ethics can be of the sort appropriate to knowledge and therefore epistemic. It can only if moral judgments can be true. I present a selection of views on whether there is truth in ethics and selected views on the nature of ethical justification. Ethical justification can be on-balance justification. I provide an example using an adaptation of a schema proposed by the philosopher Hans Hansen for balance-of-considerations arguments. I conclude with a suggestion for a non-epistemic account of justification in ethics.

All welcome.

👉 Register here: https://forms.gle/r9DXsMgF15wzm2NF9

👉 Join Zoom Meeting: https://utoronto.zoom.us/j/89283505468

Meeting ID: 892 8350 5468


Hope to see you there!

Christof Rapp talk poster

“I’ve Got the Flow”: The Positive Psychology of Ancient Philosophers with Professor Christof Rapp (LMU Munich)

When? Wednesday, February 15th, 2023  2-4pm

Where? The Catalyst Centre (EV-151/152), UTSC

Abstract: Positive psychology is a relatively new branch of cognitive-empirical psychology that inquires into phenomena such as well-being, happiness, positive emotions, engagement (incl. the so-called ‘flow’), accomplishment, meaning in life, character traits and positive relations. The attribute ‘positive’ is meant to indicate a major departure from the so far predominant pathology-centred (and in this sense ‘negative’) style of modern psychology. Applied positive psychology aims at bringing about behaviors that can lead to improved performance and a more satisfactory life. The presentation tries to show that, even though positive psychology is a recent development within scientific psychology, ancient Greek and Roman moral philosophers (i.e. philosophers who lived approximately 2,500 to 1,800 years ago) shared more or less the same goals, addressed the same core phenomena and ended up giving similar recommendations. If this so, the purported goal of applied positive psychology (namely bringing about behaviors that can lead to improved performance and a more satisfactory life) can, in principle, also be reached by studying the works of these ancient Greek and Roman philosophers.

All Welcome

Brendan de Kennessey

The Game of Achievement with Brendan de Kennessey

When? February 8, 2023 @5pm

Where? Zoom

Abstract: Many philosophers hold that achievement is an objective good, or part of what makes for a good life. On this view, the fact that a person has achieved something difficult or impressive contributes significantly to the goodness of that person’s life. I explore the idea that the value of achievement lies not in the achievement itself, but in the activity of pursuing the achievement. I draw on an analogy with games: to play and enjoy a game, one must take on the end of winning; but winning is not what gives a game its value. Instead, the value lies in the activity of playing itself. Similarly, I suggest that while many valuable activities require adopting achievement as an end, what makes the activity valuable is not that it ends in achievement, but rather the nature of the activity itself.

Join Zoom Meeting: https://utoronto.zoom.us/j/87017259347

Register here:  https://forms.gle/oAC4KxhfqAXdC2mD8

All Welcome.

Chris Fraser talk poster

A Daoist Critique of Morality

When? January 26, 2023 @5pm

Where? Zoom

Abstract: A striking passage from the Daoist classic Zhuangzi likens devoting oneself to benevolence and duty and seeking to distinguish right from wrong to suffering the ancient Chinese corporal punishments of tattooing the convict’s face and amputating the nose. Common sense morality is not merely a mistake, the passage implies. It mutilates us, leaving us blind to the features by which to navigate the Way. This astonishing rejection not just of a particular understanding of morality but of the very idea of morality as a guide to action is representative of an intriguing thread of discourse that winds through several of the classical Chinese philosophical anthologies. According to this discourse, benevolence and duty obscure the Way and impair our ability to follow it. They are treated as pathological, as redundant, short-sighted measures that interfere with people’s spontaneous capacities and constitute obstacles to adroit action. This talk elucidates these themes, explains their significance in the context of early Chinese ethics, and relates them to ethical discourse today. I explain how, given early Daoists’ understanding of the structure of action and of the factors that guide it, their critique may be surprisingly plausible. I briefly situate the Daoist critique in relation to well-known ‘morality critics’ in the West, including contemporary writers such as Nagel, Wolf, and Williams and nineteenth-century figures such as Nietzsche and James. I then consider potential objections to the Daoist position and tentatively suggest how Daoist's might respond.

Join Zoom Meeting ID: 875 3061 5817

Register here: https://forms.gle/3pXu1TZPMTGQGxaPA

All Welcome.


Willi Goetschel talk poster

Difference and Alterity in Early Modern Philosophy: Montaigne and Spinoza

When? January 24, 2023 @5pm

Where? Zoom

Abstract: Upon closer examination we can see that in philosophy difference and alterity have not only more recently become issues of critical attention (at the latest with the beginning of the 20th century) but that they play a central critical role in the projects of philosophers in the early modern period. In Montaigne and Spinoza, for example, we can find a sustained interest in rethinking difference and alterity in ways that cast difference no longer as a deviation, deficiency or failure to fit concepts of identity and rationality. Instead, their projects reimagine philosophy in a way that embraces rather than polices difference and contradiction not only for moral but also for epistemological reasons. Both philosophers, in different ways, think through the significance of difference and alterity as a challenge to traditional forms of philosophy that necessitates a radical rethinking of the project of philosophy itself. As a result, Montaigne and Spinoza provide us with resources to reimagine difference as an emancipatory project. In other words, instead of mistaking difference and otherness as deviations from some perceived norm they accentuate the constitutive significance of affirming difference and otherness for a more thorough understanding of selfhood and identity.

Join Zoom Meeting ID: https://utoronto.zoom.us/j/84283043522

Register here: https://forms.gle/tJzHsfhm1uD2YJXU6

All Welcome.

Reza Hadisi talk poster

Al-Ghazālī’s Two Conceptions of Certainty" with U of T's Assistant Professor, Reza Hadisi

When? Wed, Jan 18, 2023 @5:00 p.m.

Where? MW379 (Seminar Room in the Philosophy Department)

Abstract: In his Deliverance from Error, Al-Ghazālī (1058-1111) offers an argument for global skepticism, i.e., the view that none of our beliefs amount to knowledge. However, his response to this skeptical argument appears abrupt and merely fideist. He writes: “At length God Most High cured me of that sickness. My soul regained its health and equilibrium and once again I accepted the self-evident data of reason and relied on them with safety and certainty.” In this talk, I propose that we can appreciate the philosophical significance of Ghazālī’s response to skepticism when we place it in the context of his views about different kinds of certainty. To do this, I look at Ghazālī’s magnum opus, the Revival of Religious Sciences. Along the way, we’ll talk about Ghazālī’s view that imagination can become a unique and fundamental source of knowledge.

Please fill out your information on the attendance sheet here: https://forms.gle/odA98edx1YFjJKVL7

Drinks and snacks will be provided.

All students welcome. We hope to see you there!

Griffin Klemick talk

Perceptual Justification and the Demands of Effective Agency with Griffin Klemick

When? Friday April 1 @ 3pm

Where? Zoom (Meeting ID 894 9989 9819)

Abstract: If you're like me, when someone first posed a radical skeptical hypothesis to you, your first reaction was something like: "That's stupid; clearly I've got to trust my faculties if I'm going to, you know, live." And then you took a course in epistemology, and you were told that this is a shallow, naive, and inadequate response to skepticism, one that refuses to see the force of the problem. My claim in this talk is, in effect, that our first reaction was the right one. We do have strong reason to reject radical skeptical hypotheses, and this reason is practical rather than evidential. (If you aren't averse to spoilers, the reason is specifically that you need control over your empirical circumstances, and that you have a chance to meet that need only if you accept that your perceptual faculties are reliable.)

Sign up here:


Join Zoom Meeting


All welcome.

Alexandra Gustafson Poster

The Forgotten Phenomenology of Love with Alexandra Gustafson

When? March 24th @4pm

Where? Zoom (meeting ID 873 2282 1699)

Abstract: In this talk, I'll propose we start using love’s phenomenology as a test of the explanatory power of our current best views on love: as they are, can they account for this forgotten feature? As the first application of this procedure, I'll analyze a group of views I call relationship-directed attitude views. These argue that love is—at least partially—constituted by an attitude toward a relationship (such as judging it to be valuable). I'll argue, however, that the phenomenology of love can’t be successfully explained in terms of any relationship-directed attitude. This should prompt philosophers of love to think not only about the plausibility of describing love in relational terms, but also about the theoretical promise of love’s phenomenology.
All welcome.


Martin Dimitrov Talk Poster

The Perils of Naivety in Moral Epistemology: Ethical Intuitionism and Cross-Cultural Disagreement with Martin Dimitrov

When? March 18, 2022 @5pm

Where? Zoom (meeting ID 860 7466 6079)

Abstract: Ethical intuitionism is a view in moral epistemology according to which the basic moral principles are self-evidently true. Ethical intuitionists like W. D. Ross and Robert Audi generate numerous deontological principles using this approach. I will argue that there is higher-order evidence about some of these supposedly self-evident moral propositions serves as a defeater for their self-evidence. Specifically, the fact that there is cross-cultural disagreement about some of the moral propositions we appraise as self-evident is evidence that the origin of these intuitions is epistemically untrustworthy. Since the moral philosophers who defend these claims often only support them through intuition, these claims are unjustified, and instead must be supported by argument.

All welcome.


Henry Krahn Poster

Between Persuasion and Coercion: Protest as Holding Accountable with Henry Krahn

When? March 15 @ 5pm

Where? Zoom (Meeting ID 822 1201 3026)


Abstract: In the face of injustice, we often protest. Citizens chant slogans, march down highways, chain themselves to construction equipment, and sail into nuclear testing sites. But sometimes protest goes too far—rather than persuading others, protestors use force to coerce them. Where do we draw the line? Is the use of force in protest ever justified? This problem, I suggest, is analogous with another. When others act badly, we often hold them accountable. And being held accountable is often an unpleasant experience. Nobody likes to be scolded or criticized. But how does holding others accountable work? When I scold you, do you change my behaviour just because I hate being scolded? It seems not. I don't want you to change because you hate being scolded. Rather, I want you to change because you see that what you did was wrong. So my suggestion is that, in holding others accountable, our force is often communicative. If that's the case, it seems we can say something similar about protest: forceful protest need not be coercive because force itself is sometimes communicative. One place to draw a line, then, is between coercive protest and forceful protest as a form of holding others accountable.
All welcome.


Polycarp Ikuenobe Poster

Substantive Human Rights, Priority of Duties, and African Communalism with Kent State University's Polycarp Ikuenobe

When? February 18th 2022 at 4 p.m.
Where? Zoom (meeting ID 848 7280 6457)


Abstract: "I argue for a plausible African idea and practice of substantive individual rights based on a communal system of the moral correlativity of rights and duties. This system specifies, (a) the priority of self-regarding and other-regarding duties, and, (b) the reciprocity of duties. These duties, which are a means of promoting general welfare and enhancing substantive rights and dignity, include perfect duties of non-interference that are engendered by rights. Communalism also emphasizes imperfect duties that do not necessarily correlate to rights, including supererogatory duties that are beyond the call of duty, and prima facie duties that can be overridden by different moral considerations. The ideas of priority and reciprocity of duties are exemplified in the social-communal nature of humans as implicated in African normative conception of 'personhood'. 'Personhood' involves an earned status that derives from, (a) human metaphysical capacities and, (b) social-moral recognition based on how properly these capacities are used in agency for moral excellence, by performing relevant duties."

Event organized by the Association of Philosophy Students.

All students welcome.

Andriy Bilenkyy Poster

Conversations with Friends? Art Interpretations and Conversational Ethics with Andriy Bilenkyy

When? January 28th 2022 at 2 p.m.
Where? Zoom (meeting ID 881 5064 2856)

"Philosophers of art commonly believe that a characteristic feature of works of art is that they warrant interpretation. But what fixes the proper object of interpretation, how do we adjudicate interpretative disagreements, and are our interpretative activities subject to any ethical constraints? In this talk, we will explore the relationship between these questions, focusing on intentionalism, the view that the proper object of art interpretation is fixed by the intention of the artist. I will discuss recent attempts to defend this view by appeals to the ethics of conversational interpretation. I will argue that, on the contrary, conversational ethics suggests that some important properties of works of art — their aboutness-properties — are fixed not by the intention of the artist but by the ongoing and revocable tacit agreement between the artist and the audience."

Event organized by the Association of Philosophy Students.

All students welcome.

Jack Beaulieu Poster

Pārthasārathi and Gaṅgeśa on Absence in Retrospect with Jack Beaulieu

When? January 21st 2022 at 5 p.m.
Where? Zoom (meeting ID 827 8808 8938)

"Cases of past absence (prāṅnâstitāsthala) involve agents noticing in retrospect that an object or property was absent, such as when one notices later that a colleague was not at a talk. Such cases pose substantive questions for the epistemology of absence: how is that we become aware that an object or property was previously absent, now that its absence is temporally and spatially distal? And in the process, do wegainknowledge that the object or property was absent? Or are we somehow recalling its absence, even though we did not take note of its absence at the time? We'll look at two competing views from the Sanskrit philosophical tradition about how agents learn of absence in retrospect: one from the 11th century Bhāṭṭa philosopher Pārthasārathi, and another from the 14th century Nyāya philosopher Gaṅgeśa, who raises a series of convincing objections to Pārthasārathi's view."

Event organized by the Association of Philosophy Students.

All students welcome.

Professor Sedivy gave a talk on "Wittgenstein, Plurality, and Context: Art as a Case Study" for the Twenty-Fifth British Wittgenstein Society Lecture Series on June 1, 2021.

Using Art as her example, Sedivy proposes that Wittgenstein’s later work suggests that we need to understand historically specific arts in their contexts and how this gives us just the outlook we need to understand art and art practices in their diversity.

The talk is accessible via the British Wittgenstein Society website here. Be sure to check it out.


b2B Career Panel Poster

b2B Career Night: Philosophy Careers in Bioethics – Thursday, April 29th 6:00-7:30pm

The Department of Philosophy invites you to the Backpack to Briefcase (b2B) Philosophy Career Panel – Careers in Bioethics.Take this great opportunity to connect with Philosophy alumni now working in the field of medicine and bioethics. The event will engage participants through a moderated Q & A session to discover various career opportunities after graduation. We will be meeting on Zoom.
The panel will take place on Thursday, April 29 between 6:00pm and 7:30pm.
Please RSVP to eric.correia@utoronto.ca.


The Zoom Link is:

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 878 0099 0504

Passcode: 639653


Our Panelists:

James Anderson – Bioethicist, Sick Kids Hospital

Eric Mathison – CEO, Canmore Ethics (Health Ethics Consulting); Clinical Ethicist, Alberta Health Services

Victoria Shelep – Coordinator, Research Ethics, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre

The panel will be moderated by Professor Andrew Franklin-Hall and Maja Soltysiak (Philosophy Course Union Bioethics Liaison).


We hope to see you there!

Socrates Project Poster

Socrates Project Students Present Their Research

On April 28 & 30, Socrates Project students will be presenting some of the research they have been working on over the past year. Everyone is welcome to attend and discuss their projects with them!


April 28:


1:00 - 1:20 "Colonial Ressentiment: Fanon’s appropriation of Nietzsche”, Syed Ali

1:20 - 1:40 Q&A

1:40 - 1:50 Break


2:40 - 3:00 "The Axiology of Panpsychism", Marybel Menzies

3:00 - 3:20 Q&A


Zoom information for April 28 talks:



Meeting ID: 880 6620 2219

Passcode: 825844



April 30:


1:50 - 2:10 "Autonomy, Disability, and Assisted Dying", Joel Persaud

2:10 - 2:30 Q&A

2:30 - 2:40 Break


2:40 - 3:00 "An Umbrella Definition of the Act of Shaming", Zachary Tsang

3:00 - 3:20 Q&A


Zoom information for April 30 talks:


Link: https://utoronto.zoom.us/j/86252371593

Meeting ID: 862 5237 1593

Passcode: 596359  

A Theory of Everything Poster

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

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 events@lse.ac.uk

All Welcome.

Click here to register to join the Zoom webinar



The Neurobiological Platform for Moral Behavior

Guest Lecture by Dr. Patricia Churchland (UCSD) - Mar 8, 2021


Mark your calendars! The Association of Philosophy Students is proudly hosting a talk by Dr. Patricia Churchland next week via Zoom. Dr. Churchland will be summarizing some of the main points of her recent book, Conscience: The Origin of Moral Intuition (2019, Norton Press).

Join us

Date: Monday, March 8th, 2021

Time: 12pm (EST)

Topic: The Neurobiological Platform for Moral Behavior


Zoom information:


Meeting ID: 816 9266 9131

Passcode: 971155

Publishing in Bioethics Webinar Poster

Attention Biomedical Ethics Students: Want to get familiar with the publishing process?

Join Dr. Ariella Binik (McMaster University) and Dr. Angel Petropanagos (Impact Ethics) on Thursday, March 25, 2021 from 4-5pm for an informative webinar.

Email guerre2@mcmaster.ca to register.





Grad Studies in Philosophy Poster

Considering grad school in Philosophy at U of T?

If so, join us on Thursday, Oct. 22nd from 5:00-6:00pm for our annual Applying to Grad School workshop. Our panelists for this event are:

  • Prof. Amy Mullin, Director of Graduate Studies

  • Prof. Peter King, Director of Undergraduate Studies

  • Andriy Bilenkyy, PhD Student

  • Jashan Mavi, MA Student

Please RSVP to eric.correia@utoronto.ca by Wednesday, Oct. 21st.

A Zoom link for the event will be sent to all student who RSVP.