Seminars & Panels

The Anatomy of Free Will: Expert Panel
November 9, 2016, 6:00 to 7:30 pm

Conveners: Dr. Robert Di Pede with Dr. Jade Edenvirg-Lasiste, M.D. 

free-will-poster-2The question of free will has inspired one of the most enduring debates in philosophy, affecting fields such as  ethics and psychology. In the last century, leaps in neuroscience and quantum physics have yielded deeper understandings into how and why we think and act as we do. What are some of these new insights and how do they inform our basic ideas of human agency and moral responsibility?

Dr. David Ragsdale is an Associate Professor at the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University. His previous work is on the biology of membrane ion channels. His recent research interests include the process of decision-making in the brain and the implications therein on accountability.

Dr. Michael Hilke is an Associate Professor at the Department of Physics, McGill University. He is Director of the Center for Physics of Materials (CPM). His research pursuits are in quantum and low-dimensional systems and superconductors, particularly in biomedical applications. In his spare time, he works on theoretical topics related to quantum information processing and transport in disordered systems.

Dr. Ian Gold is an Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy, McGill University. He serves as the Canada Research Chair in Philosophy and Psychiatry, and his investigations center on delusions in psychiatric and neurologic disease and on reductionism in psychiatry and neuroscience.

Dr. Ciriaco Piccirillo is a Professor at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, McGill University. He has been appointed as the Canada Research Chair in Regulatory Lymphocytes of the Immune System. His research focuses on regulatory T cells in autoimmune diseases. Dr. Piccirillo will share his perspectives on free will as a self-professed Christian scientist.

Truth and Reconciliation: Challenges for the University
March 30, 2016

Conveners: Prof. Daniel Cere and Dr. Robert Di Pede
Moderator: Philip Oxhorn, Director of the Institute for the Study of International Development

Poster Final 6

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The process, findings, and recommendations of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission present unique challenges for the university. A distinguished panel explores the academy’s role in learning from the past and responding to the TRC’s recommendations for the future.

Distinguished Panelists
The Right Honourable Paul Martin Jr., Former Prime Minister of Canada;
Michael Loft, Academic Associate at McGill University and member of the Mohawk community; Marie Wilson, Commissioner at Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Ronald Niezen, Professor of Law and Anthropology at McGill, author of Truth and Indignation.

This event was proudly sponsored by: Dean of Arts Development Fund, The Faculty of Religious Studies, The Institute for the Study of Human Development, The Newman Centre of McGill University.

Paul Martin Sr., Catholicism & Canadian Liberalism
February 17, 2016

Conveners: Prof. Daniel Cere and Dr. Robert Di Pede

Paul Martin Web Version-1

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From health care through policies on labour & immigration to critiques of nationalism, Paul Martin Sr.’s engagement with leading Catholic scholars, such as Étienne Gilson, Jacques Maritain, and  his deep reading of John Henry Newman, sheds light on unsuspecting links between Catholic social thought and Canadian liberalism.

Presenters: The Right Hon. Paul Martin Jr. former Prime Minister of Canada; Greg Donaghy, author of Grit: The Life and Politics of Paul Martin Sr. Responses by André Blais, Antonia Maioni and Daniel Cere.



Select past events

hazel_markwell“What does dying with dignity really mean?”
Guest speaker: Hazel Markwell, PhD, DTh
Director of the Centre for Clinical Ethics (St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto)
Co-sponsored with the Loyola Public Lecture Series on Ethics in Society
October 30, 2015, 10:00 am at the Newman Centre (3484 Peel Street)



“The Hermeneutics of Vatican II: A Case Study in Interpreting Religious Texts”
Lecture by John O’Malley, S.J. (Georgetown University)
Co-sponsored with the Loyola Public Lecture Series on Ethics in Society
October 15, 2012, 11:00 a.m. at the Newman Centre (3484 Peel St)



Refractions of Modernity: Charles Taylor on Contemporary Culture (colloquium)
Guest speaker: Charles Taylor (McGill, Emeritus)
Organizers: Dr. Robert Di Pede and Dr. Brandon Vaidyanathan
January 29, 2007, Thompson House and Newman Centre


Cardinal-Ouellet “Benedict XVI: A View From Rome”
Lecture by Marc Cardinal Ouellet (Primate of Canada)
Sponsored by the Kennedy Smith Chair in Catholic Studies
March 2, 2006, 6:00 p.m., at Stewart Biology (McGill) Rm s1/4