The Kenneth Mark Drain Chair in Ethics at Trent University

Looking for my research? You probably need the Weebly website.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

CSWIP poster!

CFP: Theorizing the body with CSWIP

The longer version of the cfp below, with all the details, can be found here, and an eye-catching, awesome poster is available in pdf here.  Deadline: FEB. 15!


Theorizing the Body, Embodiment, and Body-Practices


Mount Royal University, Calgary, AB
Friday (pm) October 26 - Sunday (am) October 28
THEME: Theorizing the Body, Embodiment, and Body-Practices

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Dr. Cressida J. Heyes, Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of Gender and Sexuality, University of Alberta

The Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy invites papers from all areas of philosophy related to the theme of the conference, including the history of philosophy, analytic and continental philosophy. We also welcome submissions of panel proposals that focus on specific questions, problems and concepts at work within analyses of the body, embodiment, and body-practices.
Topics might include, but are not limited to:
• The metaphysics of the body itself and the materiality of somatic practices like dance, sports, and yoga
• The aesthetic, ethical, or moral dimensions, real or imagined, of body-practices
• The role of bodies as the subjects of research science, in scientific testing, and in scientific practice more generally
• The integrity of the body in medical practice and intervention
• The taxonomies of bodies, like identity-categories of sex, gender, sexuality, race, disability and fatness, as well as the social, political, biomedical and epistemological processes by which such categories are mobilized, reinforced, and undermined
• How technologies of the body intersect with conceptions of health, bodily capacity, and life, and, conversely, with norms that give rise to judgments of deviance, incarceration, and other forms of social exclusion
• Personhood, language and agency in human and non-human animal bodies
• Methodological debates about the study of embodiment, including somatocentric and phenomenological explanations of behaviour, the study of embodied consciousness and situated cognition, and the relations between cognitive and corporeal processes
• Theoretical accounts about the embodiment of pedagogy and the complex interplay between desire, affects, and bodies in the classroom
This conference will be an accessible conference, and if you have any questions about accessibility, please do not hesitate to contact the conference organizer, Ada Jaarsma, at: ajaarsma at Ada Jaarsma
Feel free to print, post or distribute posters: EmbodimentPoster_English.pdf

Standard submissions:
Submissions of long abstracts (1000 words) are invited (for eventual presentation of papers not exceeding 3000 words). Please email the abstract as both a double-spaced Word.doc and also as a RTF attachment, prepared for anonymous review. Please note: this requires that you remove all identifying-author tags from your document content and file properties. Please include your full contact information in the email only (not with the abstract). Along with your contact information, we are asking for the brief biographical material that will be required for our SSHRC conference grant application: your institutional affiliation and degrees (starting with the most recent and specifying the discipline); recent positions, especially those relevant to the event; recent publications, especially those relevant to the event.

We welcome submissions of panel proposals, and so if you are submitting a panel, please send all of the long abstracts and the biographical information in one email, indicating clearly that this is a panel submission.
Submission deadline: midnight Mountain time, Wednesday Feb 15, 2012.

Carolyn McLeod at Trent University

'Not for the Faint of Heart': Adoption and Licensing 

Monday, February 6, 2012
6:00 to 8:00 pm
SC 115
Prof. McLeod, whose publications include Self-Trust and Reproductive Autonomy, is Associate Professor and Graduate Chair in the Department of Philosophy, an affiliate member of the Department of Women's Studies and Feminist Research, and a member of Rotman Institute of Science and Values.
The process of adopting a child is not for the faint of heart. This is what we were told when we, as a couple, began this process. Part of the challenge lies in fulfilling the licensing requirements for adoption, which, beyond the usual home study and background checks, can include mandatory participation in parenting classes. For many of us who struggle to meet these requirements, the question arises whether they are morally justified. We tackle this question in this paper and argue that some form of licensing for adoption is indeed morally necessary. After clarifying the reasons why this is so, we identify the kind of licensing that the reasons support. We leave open the question whether the licensing of so-called “natural” parents may be justified as well.   
The paper begins with an examination of reasons against licensing adoptive parents. Some of these reasons are general, being identical to those found in the philosophical literature on parental licensing. For example, if we require that parents be licensed then we will inevitably harm some people for whom parenting is an important interest by preventing them from becoming parents, including adoptive parents. This is a general reason not to require parental licensing. Some of the reasons not to license adoptive parents are, however, unique to adoption and include the harm done to children who would otherwise have parents but for a system of licensing that prevents some adoptions from occurring. A failure to be licensed for adoption may also harm adults who have a special interest in becoming adoptive parents, rather than mere parents. We argue that because many of the reasons against licensing are morally significant, any system of licensing must be supported by strong reasons. 
Turning to those reasons, we again note that they, like reasons against licensing adoptive parents, may or may not be unique to the adoption context. For example, worries about child trafficking in this context are part of a larger concern about disastrous parenting, which provides the state with reasons to license all parents. Some contend, however, that disastrous parenting is more likely to occur in adoptive families because of the absence of biological ties within these families. This concern is clearly specific to the adoption context. We consider those arguments in favour of licensing adoptive parents that focus on the absence of biological ties and show that they are unpersuasive.
There is, however, one reason in favour of licensing adoptive parents that we find compelling and that does not apply to natural parents (or at least not to all people who reproduce in order to become parents). The reason highlights the fact that before an adoption occurs there is a child for whom someone—the state or an actual person—is responsible. Surely, the transfer of responsibility for this child to the adoptive parent(s) ought to occur in a morally serious manner. But that can happen only if the party or parties who relinquish responsibility for the child can reasonably expect that the child’s future will be good or at least decent. Licensing serves the role of providing such assurance to the child’s pre-adoptive guardians. We defend licensing for adoption on these grounds and conclude by considering whether our position on licensing adoptive parents commits us to the licensing of parents who reproduce with the assistance of third parties, namely gamete providers or contract pregnant women.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Society for Analytical Feminism's new page

Carol Hay designed a fresh new webpage for SAF.  As SAF 2012 conference organizers have more developments on the big shindig at Vandy, we'll post conference details there.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dempsey, all over Strawson, tonight at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - 
Philosophy's Colloquium speaker series features our own Liam Dempsey tonight!
The topic: 
Micropsychism and the Explanatory Gap: 
Assessing Galen Strawson's Panpsychic Physicalism
6:00 to 8:00 pm - Champlain College Council Chambers (CCN M2), Trent University

Friday, January 20, 2012

Montreal, in April: The Status of Minorities in Philosophy

Graduates and undergraduates, note the extension of the CFP to FEBRUARY 1 for this lovely looking conference, accepting abstracts of 300-600 words.  Hmm, I wonder if I know any talented young people in Canada who philosophize, hmmm...

Friday, January 13, 2012

CFP: Conference of the Society for Analytical Feminism

SAF in 2012!
Special Conference Theme:
Take it to the Bridge:
Crossing between Analytic and Continental Feminist Philosophies
October 4-7, 2012
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Submission deadline: May 30, 2012

Take it to the bridge: 1. (In music) A phrase that connotes a change of key, a connecting but distinctive series of notes

The Society for Analytical Feminism invites long abstracts (1000-1500 words) on all topics in feminist philosophy.  Analytical approaches to feminist topics are happily invited as usual.  

In addition, special consideration will be given to abstracts that bridge feminist analytical and continental approaches, including the history of the analytic/continental “divide” in philosophy, mutually informing applications of analytic and continental philosophical methods to specific questions, analyses of the work of philosophers who bridge analytic and continental traditions or of collaborations between analytic and continental philosophers, methodological debates about the study of philosophy, including the value of different traditions, theoretical accounts of pluralism in philosophy.

Plenary speakers

Brooke Ackerly, Vanderbilt University
Amy Allen, Dartmouth College
Samantha Brennan, U of Western Ontario
Sharon Crasnow, Norco College
Heidi Grasswick, Middlebury College
Kelly Oliver, Vanderbilt University
Anita Superson, University of Kentucky
Naomi Zack, University of Oregon

Submission information

Send abstract in MSWord as an attachment via email to the chair of the program committee at <safcon2012 [at]>.  Please delete self-identifying information from abstract. Include in body of e-mail: name, title, contact information, and, if applicable, institutional affiliation.

For questions about local arrangements, including accessibility, at Vanderbilt University, contact Marilyn Friedman: <marilyn.friedman [at]>.

 Generous support for the conference has been provided by the Philosophy Department and the Dean of Arts & Sciences of Vanderbilt University.

Monday, January 9, 2012

My courses for 2012-2013

My courses for next year are, in a way, all new!  This will be interesting.

FALL 2012
PHIL 2010: Love and Desire
PHIL 2110H: Moral Issues
PHIL 4010H: Major Texts I
PHIL 1100H: Introduction to Philosophy: Moral and Political (est enrolment 200)
PHIL 3180H: Social and Political Philosophy