Past Conferences and Workshops

May 5-6, Harbour Centre

Ancient Approaches to Perception

Most of the earliest philosophers practiced what looks to us like science, observing and trying to understand natural phenomena such as lightning or eclipses. Perception is central to this search for wisdom. But to the Socrates of Plato’s dialogues, wisdom is not of the natural world, which lacks the stability that objects of wisdom must have, and is accessed not through perception but reflection ... Organized by Rosemary Twomey. Program.

April 7-8, Harbour Centre

The Intellect and its Philosophical Limits

What is the intellect? Although significant attention has been paid to the cognitive bases of much of our rational belief and knowledge – including perception, memory, imagination, metacognition, self-knowledge, knowledge of other minds, communication, and inference – the intellect has been mainly overlooked ... This workshop was organized by Gurpreet Rattan. Program.

The Direction of Moral Duties:  Foundations and Applications
A two day conference at SFU Harbour Centre, May 20-21, 2016


Kantian Freedom Conference
October 2-4, 2014, SFU Harbour Centre

more information

SFU Summer Symposium on Early Modern Philosophy
July 13, 2015 ~ SFU Harbour Centre Campus

(All talks take place in Harbour Centre, Barrick Gold Lecture Room, Rm. 1520)

    8:45               Coffee and light pastries

    9:00 - 10:15    Abraham Roth, The Ohio State University

                            "The Psycholology and 'Language' of Identity in Hume's Treatise"

    10:25 - 11:45    Dai Heide, Simon Fraser University

                            "Kant on Cosmological Unity and the Unity of Space"

    11:45 - 12:50    Lunch

    1:00 - 2:15        Lisa Shapiro, Simon Fraser University

                            "Spinoza's Principles of Association and the  Workings of the Human Mind"

    2:20 - 3:35        Sukjae Lee, Seoul National University

                            "Conservation as Continuous Creation: Just Like Creation but Not Necessarily

    3:40 - 4:55        Lisa Downing, The Ohio State University

                            "Are Body and Extension the Same Thing?:  Locke vs. Descartes (vs. More)"

Workshop on the Philosophical History of the Concept of Pleasure
May 4-5, 2014, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, SFU Harbour Centre room 1400-1410.

Participants:  Matthew Strohl (Montana); Sajjad Rizvi (Exeter); Martin Pickave (Toronto); Lisa Shapiro (SFU); Melissa Frankel (Carleton); Hans Lottenbach (Kenyon); Jennifer Uleman (SUNY); Dominique Kuenzle (Zurich); Murat Aydede (UBC)

What is pleasure? Or perhaps better, in what way is pleasure philosophically interesting?  Historically, pleasure has been conceived in an array of different ways, and in contemporary discussion, which focuses on pleasure as motivating of action, one of those ways – the role of pleasure in our cognitive life – has dropped out of view.  The papers in this workshop all aim towards retrieving that way of understanding pleasure, as integrated into our understanding of the world, rather than as interfering with our ability to achieve knowledge. This focus is not to deny that pleasure plays a role in motivating action (as is a focus of ethicists), or in our affective experience of beauty (as is a focus of aesthetics) but rather to acknowledge the epistemic role of pleasure.

Contributors were invited to consider the following set of questions: What is distinctive about intellectual pleasure? Is it related to sensible pleasure? How is pleasure related to other sense modalities? What role, if any, does pleasure play in mental representation? How is the cognitive role of pleasure related to its motivational role? What sorts of philosophical considerations led to the discounting of the cognitive role of pleasure in favor of its motivational role?

Workshop on the Pragmatic Metaphysics for Philosophy of Science
April 25-26, 2014. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Room 370

Participants include:

Sandy Mitchell (Pittsburgh)
Jenann Ismael (Arizona)
Huw Price (Cambridge)
John Dupre (Exeter)

More information and registration

"The Ethics of Drones: A Panel Discussion"
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 6:30 pm. Harbour Centre, 515 W Hastings St., Vancouver. Room 1400-1410.

David Lyon (Queen's University)
Stephen McCammon (Office of the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner)
Richard Smith (Simon Fraser University)
Micheal Vonn (British Columbia Civil Liberties Association)
Ciara Bracken-Roche (Queen's University)

Drones or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) have been in existence for several decades but in recent years a number of factors have combined to foster their development and use in numerous spheres, both military and civilian. This panel focuses on the surveillance capacities and uses of UAVs, in a number of different contexts, both in North America and around the world, but with particular focus on Canada. Building on what is known about other forms of visual surveillance, notable terrestrial camera surveillance, the panel will explore what new dimensions are added when aerial vision is added to terrestrial and will consider these in legal and ethical terms.

Of particular interest are situations where policing, law-enforcement and public order functions are at the forefront, but more general issues of privacy and data protection are also in view. Legal questions relate both to questions of visual surveillance in general and also to particular ones such as the relevance of the regulation of aviation and the integration of public and private agencies in UAV use. Ethical questions lying behind these include the appropriateness of purposes for which UAVs may be deployed, along with questions of proportionality and limits. These relate not only to possible harms produced by the use of UAVs but also to how and under what circumstances UAV surveillance may enhance human flourishing. The accountability of UAV developers and users and establishing democratic practices in UAV use will also be considered, especially in contexts of policing, law-enforcement and public order.

This talk is presented by ViPS, the Institute for Values in Policy and Science and is part of the 2013-2014 Public Lecture Series in Privacy.

SFU Workshop on the Applicability of Mathematics
Saturday, September 14, 2013, 1:00 - 5:00 pm

Robert Batterman (Pittsburgh)
Nicolas Fillion (SFU)
Doreen Fraser (Waterloo)

More info (pdf poster)

Video available - please click