Apart from my formal supervisions of MA and PhD students, my roles directing Philosophy for Children Alberta and the Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada over the past dozen years have involved a lot of work informally mentoring students, teachers, and others through workshops, employee supervision, directed studies, and research assistantship direction. I currently supervise two PhD students, Lucia Neco and Jorge Mendonca, both working in the philosophy of biology. Please contact me if you are interested in graduate work at the University of Western Australia in this area or any others that I have published or worked in.
The blurbs and links from the following graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and co-instructors should give you some idea about what you might get out of studying philosophy and where it might take you, and what it’s like working with me as a student, co-mentor, or collaborator of some other kind.
I am currently serving as the Managing Editor for the Journal of the History of Philosophy, presently housed at the University of Alberta, where I earned both my B.A. and M.A. in philosophy. After completing my Ph.D. in philosophy at Stanford University, I was fortunate enough to be awarded the Izaak Killam Memorial Postdoctoral Fellowship under Rob’s supervision. While my philosophical interests have tended to be historical (my M.A. thesis was on Nietzsche, my dissertation on Kant, and I completed the Joint Program in Ancient Philosophy at Stanford), those interests have always been informed by the way the texts have helped me to navigate my own experiences and existential questions (or crises, as it were). Collaborating with Rob et al. on the Living Archives on Eugenics program provided me the opportunity to connect my historical interests with more urgent, practical matters. In terms of research, Rob’s interdisciplinary approach has helped me make questions I work on in Kant’s ethics relevant to pressing social and political issues surrounding, e.g., eugenic thinking. In terms of teaching, my experiences with the Eugenics Archive project has been an invaluable resource in helping me to engage students in a way that gets them excited about philosophical questions relevant to their own discipline and lives.
My philosophical journey has led me to meet great like-minded people all over the world. Born and raised in the Netherlands, where I studied philosophy and artificial intelligence at Radboud University Nijmegen, I sought my philosophical fortune in the land Down Under, meeting Rob. In my doctoral project at the University of Wollongong (2016–2019), I pursued my interest in the cognitive dimension of our interactions with emerging technologies by developing an embodied enactive account of mind–technology interaction, visiting the University of Edinburgh during 2018 as part of my studies. Though Rob joined my project at a relatively late stage, both the ease with which he jumped on board and connected my research to important related discussions in the philosophy of mind and science, as well as his supportive mentoring skills greatly helped the completion of my dissertation move forward. My training as a philosopher has enabled me to better distinguish what people say they do and what they actually do, both in and outside of academia. Currently, I’m employed as a lecturer in philosophy at the Department of Artificial Intelligence at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Home page
The critical engagement with ideas and the rigorous analysis involved in philosophical thinking has served me well in my continuing adventures through academia. I’m currently the Research and Learning Librarian for Philosophy and Education at the University of Calgary, and find that a PhD in philosophy has been a great asset; philosophy opened many intellectual doors for me since there is always a need for a philosophical perspective. While I continue to engage with traditional philosophical problems as part of my scholarly duties at the UofC, I’ve also discovered a wide range of interesting issues and research topics, which benefit from the kind of philosophical rigour that only training in philosophy can provide. Rob’s enthusiasm for interdisciplinary inquiry has not only shaped the direction of my dissertation work, but also my current scholarly interests and pursuits!
Studying philosophy, if nothing else, has provided me with a certain porousness — an openness to ideas, a receptivity to others, and a humbleness in one’s own beliefs. Though I have long since stopped a formal study of philosophy, these skills, amongst others, have helped me both in my career as a product developer and designer, and in my day to day life. I’m currently a senior staff front-end developer at Adobe and based in Vancouver, Canada. Home page
Emma Peng Chien
I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Philosophy at National Tsing Hua University (2019-) in my native Taiwan. My research focuses on philosophical issues in autism, especially emotions, self-awareness, and first-person narratives. I completed my Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Alberta in Canada. Before that, I finished a B.Sc. in Biology and a M.A. in philosophy, and was a M.Sc. student in both Neuroscience and Cognitive Neuroscience at National Yang-Ming University in Taiwan. I studied with Rob for more than six years, from 2010 to 2017. Rob was my mentor when I entered the PhD program at UofA, and later became my dissertation supervisor. On top of that, my time at UofA overlapped with Rob’s Living Archives project and his endeavor in Philosophy for Children, both of which had influenced my philosophical approach. The Philosophy for Children’s interactive and engaging style became the backbone of my teaching at UofA. Having the chance to take part in the Living Archives project, I started to reflect upon the socio-political impacts of the philosophical issues in mind and science that I was originally interested in. This line of thinking fueled the framework of my dissertation “Beyond Cognition: Philosophical Issues in Autism,” in which I discussed issues in other minds, emotions, narratives, the self, and interconnected socio-political issues in autism. Feel free to take a look of my dissertation, esp. its acknowledgement, to learn more about my experience of working with Rob.
Gabriella (Biella) Coleman
Gabriella (Biella) Coleman is a full professor in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University and is a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Her scholarship and teaching address questions of science, technology and medicine, with a focus on the politics, cultures, and ethics of hacking. She is the author of two books on computer hackers and the founder and editor of Hack_Curio, a video portal into the cultures of hacking. In 2022, she hosted the BBC4 radio and podcast series, The Hackers. She formerly held the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University, after completing a Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Alberta under Rob’s supervision.
Born and raised in Vienna, I am Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy, and Affiliate of the Cognitive Science Program, at Villanova University. After completing BA and MA degrees in Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Vienna, I received a Fulbright scholarship to study at Indiana University, where I earned my PhD in Philosophy, with a Joint PhD in Cognitive Science and a Minor in the History and Philosophy of Science. From 2008-10, I was fortunate to hold a Killam postdoctoral fellowship under Rob’s supervision, whose diligent mentoring and interdisciplinary outlook on philosophy greatly helped me launch my own professional career. I have wide-ranging research interests in the philosophy of mind & cognitive science, the philosophy of language & linguistics, social epistemology & ontology, and have published over 25 articles and book chapters in those areas. I am also author of the monograph Res Cogitans Extensa: A Philosophical Defense of the Extended Mind Thesis (Peter Lang, 2011). I currently serve as Executive Editor of the journal Social Epistemology and am passionate about exploring the use of innovative technologies in teaching, learning, and outcomes assessment. Home page
I completed my PhD in philosophy at the University of Alberta, where I specialized in philosophy of mind and appreciated Rob’s flexible style as my supervisor. As I transition to a career in librarianship, I continue to find philosophy highly relevant. Perhaps more than any other discipline, philosophy improves critical thinking skills, which allow for greater insight in all areas of professional and personal life. I have been enjoying finding more and more ways to apply these skills in the library context, most recently with a focus on applied ethics.
Jorge Piaia Mendonca Junior
I’m from Brazil and my background is in philosophy. In my PhD, I’m focusing on issues related to the problem of altruism in biology. Rob has been a great adviser. I think he will be crucial for my goal of getting rich and famous in a quick and easy way, which is what brought me to philosophy.
Joshua St. Pierre
Philosophy has given me invaluable tools for life. I am currently an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Alberta and I specialize in critical disability studies at the intersection of contemporary political theory. I am interested in the ways that ableist norms of communication foreclose political spaces and how an attention to disability can widen our conceptions of political action and belonging. Philosophy has taught me to think carefully and critically about the world—to be humble at the limits of knowledge. But perhaps more importantly, I’ve become committed to the idea that philosophy is meant to be put into practice and to be useful for society.
I love philosophy! I discovered it when I was a 30-something-year-old hospo-working undergrad at UNSW, Sydney and now am a late 40-something PhD graduate from The University of Adelaide. Over the years I have taught casually at UNSW, UofA and La Trobe University and now hold my first ‘real’ job as a lecturer and philosophy for children (p4c) practitioner at the University of Western Australia – thanks to Rob!!! I see philosophy as very practical – a method of thinking carefully and critically about ethical issues. I also value it as an educational tool for the exploration of ideas and engagement with contemporary problems for people of all ages. I look forward to working with Rob and developing a p4c school holiday program akin to Eurekamp (which I worked with him on in Canada), here in WA. By our powers combined, philosophy will take over the world.
Upon completing my MA, my hope was to find a job where I could be a bridge between philosophers doing interesting work and the rest of us just doing work. As the Director of Health Technology at the Institute of Health Economics (Edmonton, Canada; www.ihe.ca), I have the opportunity to, if not live the dream completely, at least feel that I am getting closer to it. I’ve found that an awareness of philosophical issues and techniques to help explicate and address them have been very helpful in a field dominated by health services researchers and health economists. This perspective has allowed me to make unique contributions to the growing field of ethics in health technology assessment and as deputy editor for the International Journal for Technology Assessment in Healthcare.
I was trained as a biologist (UFBA) and ethologist (USP) in Brazil. While science was giving me great opportunities, I was always flirting with philosophy approaches. I met Rob when he was screening “Surviving Eugenics” at a philosophy of biology conference in 2015 and I offered myself to make the subtitles of the movie in Portuguese. From that moment, I started to get familiar with Rob’s projects and his commitment to them. He was crucial in supporting my decision to embrace philosophy as a future career. Now, I’m exploring the unknown realms of philosophy as a PhD Candidate at the University of Western Australia. I’m very interested in the concepts we use in science practice and how to make more sense of them. Specifically, I study the application of concepts and classifications to the diversity of social behaviors that exist out there. In summary, I like to talk about social stuff and to explore strange new worlds. Live long, and prosper! Home page
Originally a small town hockey player, I am now completing a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. Before joining Edinburgh, I spent time completing degrees in cognitive science and philosophy in my native Canada. I am interested mostly in topics related to the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, with side interests in the philosophy of science and computing. Home page
At first, doing philosophy sharpened my thinking, helped me harmonize priorities, and probably made me a better person. Later, it became a career. Rob helped a great deal with all of that. At Lakehead University (Thunder Bay, Ontario) in 1998 I finished a BSc in biology and was nearly finished a BA in philosophy. Then I worked at home and abroad for a few years, thinking I might eventually return to school to finish the BA and apply to grad school. I did that in 2003 after finding Rob, and I finished my MA on species in biology with him in 2005 at the University of Alberta. He guided my transition into the PhD program in philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, under Elliott Sober. Rob and I have written several papers together since then. Currently I’m an Associate Professor and Department Chair in Philosophy at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. Home page
Nicolas J. Bullot
Rob was the supervisor of my second PhD degree at the University of Alberta, Canada (my first PhD was an interdisciplinary research in cognitive science). Rob helped me link my research about human cognition to social philosophy and ethics; and for this I am truly grateful. I now work as lecturer in philosophy at Charles Darwin University, in the Northern Territory of Australia. I greatly respect Rob’s social engagement for vulnerable individuals. Studying the ideas of a philosopher is not always sufficient to understand why philosophy matters. To grasp why philosophy matters, one may rather try to act and live in a way that is genuinely philosophical. For example, instead of just talking about philosophy, let’s cooperate in order to enact socially transformative project motivated by philosophical learning. This kind of socially engaged practice in philosophy is exemplary illustrated by Rob’s work as a mentor and an investigator of social cognition and the disabled mind. Thus, what I greatly appreciated in Rob’s mentoring is his constant effort to link philosophy of mind to social engagement. Home page
Studying the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, gave me the intellectual tools to save the world from killer robots. Home page
After completing my MA with Rob at Queen’s, I became a teacher and a librarian in Barrie, Ontario. I’d tell you more, but after reading Shashy’s bio, I just Kant.
Ruadhán J. Flynn
I am currently a guest researcher in the Unit of Human-Animal Ethics at the Messerli Research Institute (Vienna), prae-doc within the research group The Limits of Imagination: Animals, Empathy Anthropomorphism (University of Innsbruck), and PhD candidate in the Vienna Doctoral School of Philosophy (University of Vienna). For my PhD project, “Whose Standpoint Matters? Cognitive Disability, Knowledge and Community”, I am co-supervised by Prof. Martin Kusch (University of Vienna) and Prof. Rob Wilson. My PhD project builds on (and was partly inspired by) concerns that Rob raised in The Eugenic Mind Project (2017) about feminist standpoint epistemology in the context of cognitively disabled people and their communities. My research and teaching currently combine critical disability studies and feminist epistemology with both theoretical and empirical work on dehumanisation and eugenics – a direction that shows the influence of both Rob’s own work and that of the Eugenics Archive project as a whole. My research is also directed by fifteen years of experience working in community arts programs, social organisation, and disabled communities before starting my BA as a mature student. As a profession Philosophy can be pretty weird, but as a method it can be useful in service of social justice work within and for marginalised communities. https://ruadhanjflynn.com
I started my studies really knowing Foucault about philosophy, but I soon figured out my Engel. Not wanting to put Descartes before the horse, I completed my MA with Rob at Queen’s before I dropped my Kierkegaard and became a computer programmer. Married to Rosemary, (also one of Rob’s graduates), and dad to Noah and Sophie. Do I Socratease them with bad jokes? Don’t even get me Sartred!