Department of Philosophy
Philosophy seeks to understand the world and our place in it, using reason and logic to answer the big questions concerning reality, meaning, and morality.
Anyone can do philosophy. All you need is willingness to think carefully, and a curiosity about fundamental issues like ‘what is the nature of the world in which I find myself? How do I live a good and meaningful life?’
Philosophy aims to develop a rationally defensible view of the world and our place in it.
Philosophers grapple with questions such as:
Is there a God?, What is the nature of the mind?, How do we tell which actions are right or wrong?
What is beauty?, What is art?, What kinds of things are there? Do we have free will?
Curiosity about questions like these is a good reason to study philosophy. In the process, philosophy will transform your mind. It will teach you habits of rigor, constructive doubt, and clear thinking. And it will encourage you to question many things we ordinarily take for granted.
The Department of Philosophy has a distinguished history of excellence in teaching since its foundation in 1874. The department today offers courses across the range of contemporary philosophy. Our level I offerings provide introductions to three main branches of philosophy: moral and social philosophy; the philosophy of mind and the theory of knowledge; and logic and critical thinking. We also offer more advanced upper level courses which investigate topics of perennial philosophy interest in greater depth. Our teachers have particular expertise in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and epistemology.
Professor (cross appointed from History)
Hughes Professor (cross appointed from Classics)
Hughes Professor (Philosophy)
Head of Department
The Department of Philosophy has a vibrant research culture, and our staff and postgraduates contribute to many areas of contemporary philosophy.
We are proud that our research quality has retained the highest score of 5 ('well above world standard') in the 2018 iteration of the Excellence in Research Australia exercise.
Our most significant research strengths lie in the following areas of philosophy:
- Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art (imagination, pleasure, Kant's aesthetics)
- Ancient Philosophy (early Greek philosophy, intellectual history)
- Epistemology (self-knowledge, memory, formal epistemology, scientific knowledge)
- Ethics, Moral and Political Philosophy (metaethics, normative ethics, naturalistic theories of value, ethical issues in genetics, theories of justice)
- Metaphysics (persistence, time, modality, ontology, fundamentality)
- Philosophy of Logic and Language (conditionals, semantics, paradoxes)
- Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Science (metaphysics of mind, foundations of psychiatry, neurocomputational models of cognition, consciousness, mental representation)
- Philosophy of Science (philosophy of biology, scientific models, confirmation, philosophy of physics, explanation, philosophy of probability)
We have a sizeable cohort of postgraduate research students, and frequently host workshops and conferences, alongside our regular research seminar series. Members of the department have had notable success with national and international competitive grant schemes.