Graduation, May 2012
The department's honour students for 2011-12, Paul Niesiobedzki (left), Cassidy Fortin, Hillary Reid and Hannah MacDonald.
Cassidy Fortin (pictured above) was honoured with the Father Edo Gatto Memorial Award.
Paul Niesiobedzki received the 2012 Father Charles R. MacDonald Memorial Award. Shown below with Dr. Christopher Byrne at the post-convocation celebration.
Amanda Daignault was awarded the Dr. Paul V. Groarke Book Prize in Philosophy. Christopher Byrne (left), Amanda, Louis Groarke and William Sweet.
Hail! Hail! The gang's all here (mostly)
Professor William Sweet was invited to give the opening address at the International Jacques Maritain Conference held in "the most serene republic of San Marino," in April 2012.
Dr. William Sweet has had two books published recently: *Intercultural Dialogue and Human Rights* (CRVP, 2011), and *Responses to the Enlightenment* (Rodopi, 2012).
Drs. Groarke and Sweet with Christina Behme and Jude Dougherty, at the recent meeting of the Canadian Jacques Maritain Association meeting, held in Waterloo, Ontario (May 2012)
Dr. William Sweet was invited as the 2012 Jacek Woroniecki Memorial Lecturer, at the Catholic University of Lublin, Poland. Here he is with a number of the students who attended the lectures, with a painting of Albert the Great in the background.
Dr. Christopher Byrne (right) presents Oliver Cresswell with the 2011 Father Charles R. MacDonald Memorial Medal.
David Faour (left) is congratulated by Dr. John Cook for winning the Dr. Paul Groarke Book Prize in Philosophy. The book prize is presented to the student exhibiting academic excellence in the areas of ethics, political philosophy and the philosophy of law.
Drs. Sweet (left) and Byrne take a moment after the afternoon graduation ceremony, May 2011
In November, the Department was pleased to host two external reviewers. Dr. Joseph Novak (Waterloo) and Dr. Steven Burns (Dalhousie). They spent a couple days evaluating our department and programme of study. With the assistance of Dr. Yvon Grenier (Political Science) as internal coordinator, the review was a success.
Back left: E. Carty, L. Groarke, D. Al-Maini, W. Sweet, S. Baldner
Front left: C. Byrne, S. Burns, J. Novak, J. Cook
PHIL 451: Ethics, Politics & the Law I - Humans and the natural world
Instructor: Dr. Judith C. Stark
This course will examine the current theoretical and practical issues in the field of environmental philosophy with a particular emphasis on ethics. This course analyzes the various paradigms of the natural world that have been developed over the course of the western intellectual tradition. These paradigms have had enormous influences on the ways that we in the west have thought about, organized, and acted upon and in the natural world. These paradigms include significant descriptions and norms about the relationship of humans to the natural world and have been conceptualized in philosophy and the religious traditions, especially in Christianity. Some topics covered include: human relationships to nature, global climate change, obligations to future generations, pollution, diminishing species, ecology and justice worldwide and growing public awareness of environmental problems. A number of local field trips will be organized during the course of the semester that will highlight some specific environmental issues in northeastern Nova Scotia. Three credits. Taught in the T block.
Spring Convocation, St. Francis Xavier University
Dr. Christopher Byrne (left) presents Jared Richards with the 2010 Father Charles R. MacDonald Memorial Medal.
Ryan Blood (left) is presented the Dr. Paul Groarke Book Prize in Philosophy by Dr. Byrne, at the convocation social, May 2010. .
(no picture available)
The Gatto Prize in Medieval Philosophy was presented to Mr. David McKernan.
Spring Convocation at St. Francis Xavier University
Dr. Christopher Byrne (left) congratulates Peter Lamey, winner of the 2009 Father Charles R. MacDonald Memorial Medal. The MacDonald medal is the Department’s highest award and is presented at the spring convocation ceremony.
Ms. Emily Gray (left) was the winner of the 2009 Paul Groarke Book Prize, awarded at the post-convocation celebration with the Department of Philosophy and her fellow philosophy graduates.
Additional pictures from the post-graduation celebration...
Spring Convocation at St. Francis Xavier University
Drs. Christopher Byrne (right) and Matthew Kostelecky, display the Father Edo Gatto Memorial Award certificate, presented to Ms. Mary Joanne Curry (centre) after the 2008 Convocation. The Gatto award is for excellence in Mediaeval philosophy. Ms. Curry, a first class honours graduate in Philosophy, was also the winner of the Father Charles R. MacDonald Memorial Medal. The MacDonald medal is the Department’s highest award honouring Fr. C.R. MacDonald, who taught at StFX from 1946 to 1974.
(For more on Fr. MacDonald and Fr Gatto click here.)
Ms. Nadia House who graduated with a first class honours degree in Philosophy at Spring Convocation, was the third recipient of the Paul Groarke book award.
Dr. Christopher Byrne has been appointed Chair of the Department of Philosophy, 1 July 2007.
Spring Convocation, May 2007
Dr. Louis F. Groarke (left) received the Outstanding Teaching Award. Pictured with Dr. Groarke are Bishop Raymond Lahey (middle) and StFX President Dr. Sean Riley
Professor William Sweet's latest book, Religion and the Challenges of Science, was published by Ashgate Publishers (UK) in the late summer.
In June, Dr William Sweet travelled to Taiwan, where he was a Visiting Professor at Soochow University in Taipei. In addition to teaching a graduate course on "The Dialogue of Cultural Traditions," Dr Sweet also lectured at a number of universities, including Fu Jen Catholic University, the National Taiwan University, and the National Tsing Hua University.
The 2007 Father Charles R. MacDonald Memorial Medal was awarded to Dary L. Jessome, who graduated at the May 2007 convocation with an Honours degree in Philosophy. The MacDonald medal is the Department’s highest award to a graduating student, and is normally awarded at spring convocation. It honours Fr. C.R. MacDonald, who taught at StFX from 1946 to 1974.
(For more on Fr MacDonald, click here.)
Dary completed his honours thesis on "Body Rights, Distributive Justice, and Human Gene Patenting," and is currently planning to pursue an MA in public affairs ethics and philosophy at Saint Paul University in Ottawa.
James Snow, who graduated with a first class honours degree in Philosophy at Spring Convocation 2007, was the second recipient of the Paul Groarke book award.
Dr William Sweet recently spoke on Parliament Hill as part of the Breakfast on the Hill Seminar Series. A large audience, including a number of MPs and Senators, attended Dr Sweet's talk, entitled, 'Whose Dignity is it Anyway?'
Senator Dr Noel A. Kinsella (Speaker of the Canadian Senate, Dr Noreen Golfmann (Executive Director, Canadian Federation for the Humanities), and Dr William Sweet.
In March, Dr William Sweet travelled to Malta and Rome to lecture on problems in contemporary applied ethics and the call for parental licensing.
The Department is pleased to announce that Dr Doug Al-Maini (PhD, Guelph) will be returning to the Department for the next 2 years. Matt Kostelecky (ABD, Leuven [Belgium]) will also be joining the Department and will be teaching courses in mediaeval philosophy.
The principal guest speaker of the Department of Philosophy in the 2006-07 academic year was Dr Timothy Christie, Director of Ethics Services at the Atlantic Health Sciences Corporation (Saint John, N.B. Health District). On March 7, Dr Christie presented a paper on "Ethics, Reducing Harm, and Injection Drug Use." After providing some recent statistics on Supervised Injection Sites, heroin prescription, and Needle Exchange Programs - programs which have apparently led to a reduction in some of the negative consequences of addiction - Dr Christie then argued that this approach can also supported by a number of contemporary ethical theories.
Together with the Women's Studies Program, the Department welcomed Dr Christine Overall, Professor of Philosophy at Queen's University in Kingston, and holder of Nancy's Chair in Women's studies at Mount St Vincent University, spoke on “Sex/Gender Transitions, Identity, and Personal Aspirations." The lecture, held on Wednesday, February 21, attracted 100 students, faculty, and visitors.
On Friday, February 16, Dr. James Mensch of the St FX Department of Philosophy, presented a paper entitled "Politics and Freedom." Influenced by the work of the Czech philosopher Jan Patocka, Dr Mensch argued that freedom is inherently political because its origin is social.
Professor William Sweet has accepted an appointment as Vice-President (Academic) at St Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick. (For more information, click here.) Dr Sweet will be on leave from StFX for the next two years.
Professor William Sweet's most recent book, Bernard Bosanquet and the Legacy of British Idealism, appeared from the University of Toronto Press in early February 2007.
At the X-ring ceremony on December 3, 2006, retired Professor Ed Carty was awarded an honorary X-Ring for his many services to the StFX community. Congratulations Ed!
On Thursday, November 23, Dr. Michael Hymers of the Department of Philosophy, at Dalhousie University, spoke on "Wittgenstein on Meaning, Morality, and Method." Dr Hymers's paper dealt with the relation between the early and later work of Ludwig Wittgenstein and his views on the transcendent and the transcendental in relation to ethics.
On November 16, the Department again celebrated World Philosophy Day by hosting a debate on the theme "Should Philosophers be Kings?". Sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and the University's Student Philosophy Society ('The Socratic Circle'), members of the Philosophy Department, the Political Science Department, the Psychology and the English Department engaged in an exciting, thought-provoking - and, at times, humorous - exchange. On the 'Philosophy' team was Dr Doug Al-Maini.
Well over 100 students and faculty attended the event, and an informal social followed the debate. The debate was also covered in campus media, and there was some significant interest from members of the public in having similar philosophical events in the coming year.
A number of Department members participated in the Atlantic Region Philosophical Association meetings held in October at St Thomas University and the University of New Brunswick, in Fredericton, NB. Dr William Sweet is the Secretary of ARPA; Drs Louis Groarke and Jay Cook presented papers, along with Prof. Gyongi Hegedus of the Department of Religious Studies.
Professor William Sweet was elected Vice-President/President-elect of the Canadian Philosophical Association, during its annual congress in Toronto in May 2006. Professor Sweet has also been reelected Vice-President of the Istituto Internazionale Jacques Maritain, in Rome, in March 2006.
Dr. Sweet serves as one of five elected international scholars on the Program Committee for the next World Congress of Philosophy (to be held in Seoul, Korea, in 2008). For more information on the Congress, click here.
Professor Sweet has recently published Volume 8 (Philosophy of Religion) of the Proceedings of the XXI World Congress of Philosophy, and is co-editor (with E.E. Harris) of the 3 volume Collected Works of the British/South African idealist, Arthur Ritchie Lord (1880-1941).
Professor Steven Baldner has accepted an appointment as Dean of Arts at St Francis Xavier (2006-09). For more information, please click here.
In late May/early June, Professor William Sweet was in Hanoi, Vietnam and Seoul and Daegu, Korea, for meetings of the Steering Committee and Program Committee of the Fédération Internationale des Sociétés de Philosophie, and to present invited lectures in intercultural ethics.
The 2006 Father Charles R. MacDonald Memorial Medal was awarded to Therese T. Tisseverasinghe, who graduated at the May 2006 convocation with an Honours degree in Philosophy. The MacDonald medal is the Department’s highest award to a graduating student, and is normally awarded at spring convocation. It honours Fr. C.R. MacDonald, who taught at StFX from 1946 to 1974.
(For more on Fr MacDonald, click here.)
Therese completed her honours thesis on "Universal Health Care: A Moral Perspective," and is currently planning to pursue an MA in philosophy at the St Mary's University.
Therese Tisseverasinghe receiving the MacDonald medal from Dr. William Sweet, Chair of the Department.
On February 17, Dr. Paul Groarke of the Canadian Human Rights tribunal gave a talk in the StFX Philosophy Department’s annual lecture series. His paper, "Philosophy, Law, and Freedom of Religion," attracted a full house of faculty and students.
l to r: Dr. Christopher Byrne, Dr. William Sweet, Dr. Paul Groarke, Dr. Louis Groarke, Dr. Jay Cook
On February 10, Dr. Lawrence Burns, Post-doctoral fellow in the Ethics of Health Research and Policy, in the Department of Bioethics at Dalhousie University, gave the third talk in the StFX Philosophy Department’s annual lecture series, entitled "Bodyworlds or Body Works of Art?: Assessing the Educational Merits of the “Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies.” Dr. Burns spoke on some of the ethical, artistic and educational issues that arise in Bodyworlds2, an exhibition of plastinated human bodies, currently showing at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto.
Jay Cook, Laura Byrne, Christopher Byrne, Lawrence Burns, William Sweet,
Ed Carty, Louis Groarke
l to r: Profs. Louis Groarke, Lawrence Burns, William Sweet, Ed Carty
On November 17, UNESCO World Philosophy Day, the Department together with 'The Socratic Circle' sponsored an evening on 'the importance of doing nothing.' Professors and students of Philosophy provided brief (and humorous) comments on this important subject.
The event took place, starting at 6.30 pm, in the 3rd floor lounge outside of Jack's Bar (Bloomfield Centre).
World Philosophy Day poster
Faculty: 2005-06: Jay Cook, James Mensch, Laura Byrne, William Sweet, Christopher Byrne, Ed Carty, Louis Groarke
Members of The Socratic Circle (the Student Philosophy Club)
Front Row: Therese Tisseverasinghe (President), Louis Groarke (Faculty Advisor), Dary Jessome (Vice-President)
The Department was greatly saddened at the passing of two retired members of the Department - Dr. George Sanderson (Nov. 4, 2005) and Fr Howard Shea (Nov. 15, 2005). (Obituary notices are linked below.)
|Fr Howard J Shea
|Dr. George Sanderson
A tribute to our late colleague, George Sanderson, may be found here.
Professor Sweet recently co-edited Politics, Ethics, and the Challenges to Democracy in ‘New Independent States' , a volume of essays based on meetings held in Tbilisi, Georgia, at the Georgian Academy of Sciences.
On November 2 and 3, Dr. Leo Groarke, Dean of the Brantford campus, Wilfrid Laurier University, spoke on "Do (formal or informal) logic courses improve our students' ability to think?" and on "Aesop the Philosopher."
Dr. Leo Groarke lecturing on logic
Dr. William Sweet, Dr. Louis Groarke, Dr. Leo Groarke, Dr. Jay Cook
On October 13 and 14, Dr. Christine McKinnon of Trent University spoke on “Character and Virtue Ethics” and on “Varieties of Insincerity.”
Prof. McKinnon’s talk on “Character and Virtue Ethics” focused on the importance of character in our evaluations of good human lives. Arguing for character development as a good for human beings, she also discussed some of the constraints involved in the process. In “Varieties of Insincerity,” Dr. McKinnon spoke on the different ways in which people can be insincere in what they say or insincere in their decision to share the truth.
(l to r) Dr. Jay Cook, Dr. Christine McKinnon, Dr. William Sweet, Dr. Louis Groarke, and Dr. Christopher Byrne
On October 5, the Philosophy Society sponsored "The Philosophy of Magic - the Magic of Philosophy" with Jeremy Bennett introducing us to magic, and Dr. Jay Cook commenting on Philosophy and Puzzles.
Jeremy Bennett and the Magic of Philosophy
Dr. William Sweet thanking Jeremy Bennett, Dr. Jay Cook, and the participation of the audience.
A new paperback edition of Professor Sweet's book, Idealism and Rights, was published in September 2005.
Professor Sweet was in England in July to participate in a conference on the British philosopher and archeologist, R.G. Collingwood. Among the other scholars involved in the conference were Sir Roger Bannister (former Master of Pembroke College, Oxford, and the first man to break the 4 minute mile) and Dr. Wendy James, Professor of Social Anthropology, Oxford University.
Prof. Wendy James (Professor of Social Anthropology, Oxford), Sir Roger Bannister, Prof. Gary Browning (Oxford Brookes University), Prof David Boucher (Cardiff University), Prof William Sweet (St Francis Xavier University), Dr.. Luciano Lukšić (University of Zagreb), Prof James Connelly (Southampton Institute)
The 2005 Father Charles R. MacDonald Memorial Medal was awarded to Martin Capstick, who graduated at the May 2005 convocation with an Honours degree in Philosophy. The MacDonald medal is the Department’s highest award to a graduating student.
Martin completed his honours thesis on "David Chalmers and the Problem of Consciousness," and is currently pursuing an MA in philosophy at the Memorial University of Newfoundland.
The 2004 The Father Edo Gatto Memorial Award was awarded to Dan McCulloch in March 2005. The award is presented from time to time to a student who shows excellence in mediaeval philosophy – particularly in the Department’s courses in that area. It was established in honour of Fr. Edo P. Gatto (BA 1952), former member and Chair of the Philosophy Department, who died tragically in a motor vehicle accident in December 1991.
(For more on Fr Gatto, click here.)
Dr. William Sweet, Chair of the Department of Philosophy, presenting the 2004
Fr Edo Gatto Award in Mediaeval Philosophy to Dan McCulloch.
Dr. William Sweet presenting the 2004 Fr Edo Gatto Award in Mediaeval Philosophy to Dan McCulloch.