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Philosophy

Explore fundamental and important questions
We use the tools of logic and reason to analyse the complex social and material nature of the world and our place in it.

Philosophy is about learning to think rigorously for yourself so you can defend your positions with considered reasons and cogent arguments. The study of philosophy improves an individual's ability to speak and write clearly, logically and convincingly. These broad skills, along with capacity for independent thought, are highly transferable, powerful aids to success in any profession.

In philosophy we ask deep questions, and don’t mind if they lead to difficult, even counter-intuitive, answers. We encourage critical reflection and debate.

We are highly regarded for our research and teaching as well as our breadth and diversity. Philosophy at the University of Sydney is home to leading thinkers in a wide range of areas of philosophy, and we offer a rich and varied array of units taught by dedicated and enthusiastic scholars whose outstanding research informs their teaching at every level.

Our study offering

Philosophy formulates and explores questions of fundamental importance to us as human beings.  For example: What is consciousness? Are we free agents? What makes an action right? What makes an action wrong? What is truth, and how can we come by it? How should we form beliefs about the world? Is it possible for machines to think? Studying philosophy will equip you with a disciplined capacity for critical analysis and dramatically enhance your communication skills.

Undergraduate

*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degrees.  

Research

Critical thinking workshops for IB High Schools

Philosophy offers critical thinking workshops for International Baccalaureate (IB) students. 

In the interests of public health and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff during the current COVID-19 health alert, we have decided to postpone the March 20 and 27 Critical Thinking workshops

We apologise for any inconvenience.

If you would like more information or to enquire regarding future workshops, please feel free to contact us.
E | toner.stevenson@sydney.edu.au
P | +61 2 9351 2271

Our research

  • Aesthetics, art, literature and film
  • Philosophy of science (biology and cognitive science)
  • History of philosophy
  • Logic
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of mind
  • Epistemology
  • Decision theory
  • Philosophy of mathematics
  • Philosophy of law
  • Philosophy of language 
  • Pragmatism
  • Moral, social and political philosophy

Research centres

Anderson Visiting Fellowships

Armstrong with students
The Fellowship applications for 2023 have now closed.

Anderson Fellowships are bestowed through a bequest of the estate of John Anderson (1893-1962), influential Australian philosopher and Challis Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney from 1927 to 1958.

The Anderson bequest funds travel to the University of Sydney for up to two fellows each year with the aim of promoting collaboration between members of the philosophy department and leading researchers around the world. 

In order to apply, applicants must first have an academic sponsor from the Discipline of Philosophy with whom they will work when at the University.

Applications should highlight the ways in which the applicant will contribute to the research and teaching of the department and to collaborations with departmental members.

Applicants can apply for one of two fellowships.

  • Anderson Distinguished Visiting Fellowships funds travel and expenses up to $41 000 including up to $5000 in airfare and living allowance of up to $3000 per week.
  • Anderson Visiting Fellowships fund travel and expenses up to $32,500, consisting of $2,500 airfare and $2,500/week living allowance.

Anderson Fellows will be provided with office space, library borrowing rights and other resources.

Anderson Fellows are expected to be present at the University of Sydney for the duration of their Fellowship and to make a substantial contribution to the academic life of the Discipline of Philosophy through collaborative research and contributions to the teaching program.

For further information, please contact our Research Support Officer.

  • 2023: Hannah Tierney and Natalja Deng
  • 2022: Helen Beebee, Christoph Emanuel Viebahn and Jose Zalabardo
  • 2019: David Bronstein, Carrie Figdor
  • 2018: Amie L Thomasson, Lisa Shapiro
  • 2017: Anna Marmodoro, Natalie Stoljar
  • 2016: Nikk Effingham, Eric Watkins

Our people

  • Professor JC Beall
  • Professor Helen Beebee
  • Professor Rick Benitez
  • Professor Keith Campbell
  • Professor Paul Crittenden
  • Professor Moira Gatens
  • Emeritus Professor Stephen Gaukroger
  • Professor Gavin Kitching
  • Professor Douglas Moggach
  • Professor Philip Pettit, FASSA, FAAAS, MRIA, FBA, FAHA
  • Professor Huw Price, FBA, FAHA
  • Professor Paul Redding
  • Professor Paul Thom, FAHA

Events

Our seminars are held every Wednesday at 3.30 till 5.00 in Seminar Room N494, Quadrangle A14.
Click here for detaiils on how to locate the Seminar Room. There is also a zoom link for those who cannot attend in person, which is mailed out to our mailing list each week via Sydphil.

Join our seminars and events

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