Skip to main content
Huge digital artwork on the side of the building of a head with people walking in front

Department of 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, often counter-intuitive questions, and don’t mind if they lead to further, even more difficult questions. We encourage critical reflection and debate.

We are highly regarded for our research and teaching as well as our breadth and diversity. The Department of 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.


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

Philosophy guide and planner


Critical thinking workshops for IB High Schools

The Department of 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 |
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

David Harold Tribe Philosophy Award

The aim of the David Harold Tribe Philosophy Award is to promote interest in philosophy and to help the recipient further their education, enabling them to develop their insights and to advance the general public’s understanding of philosophy.

The award is for the sum of $20,000 payable as a one-off payment

The David Harold Tribe Philosophy Prize for 2020 announced

The School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry at the University of Sydney takes pleasure in announcing the winner of the 2020 David Harold Tribe Philosophy Prize. Dr Millicent Churcher will receive the $20,000 prize for her book Reimagining Sympathy, Recognizing Difference (London: Rowman and Littlefield, 2019).

This year the judging panel comprised Professor Dominic Murphy (School of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney), and Professor Douglas Moggach (University of Ottawa).

Of the winning work, the judging panel said:

Millicent Churcher’s Reimagining Sympathy, Recognizing Difference is a brilliant critical retrieval of ethical resources for relations among persons and communities in the work of Adam Smith, and a highly original application to contemporary issues.

The award will be celebrated at a ceremony at the University of Sydney in May.

This is the third David Harold Tribe Philosophy Award, with the first awarded to Tom Conley and John Forge in 2010 and Karen Green and Colin Klein in 2016.

The Philosophy Award forms part of an awards program that supports a number of different cultural pursuits at the University of Sydney, and is made possible through a generous donation from David Harold Tribe through the David Harold Tribe Charitable Foundation.

Research centres

Anderson Visiting Fellowships

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 and expenses up to $17,500, consisting of $2500 airfare and $2500/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 Department of Philosophy through collaborative research and contributions to the teaching program.

For further information, please contact our Research Support Officer.

  • 2019: David Bronstein, Carrie Figdor
  • 2018: Amie L Thomasson, Lisa Shapiro
  • 2017: Anna Marmodoro, Natalie Stoljar
  • 2016: Nikk Effingham, Eric Watkins

Our people 

Professor Peter Anstey

Professor David Braddon-Mitchell

Professor Mark Colyvan

Dr Luara Ferracioli

Professor Paul Griffiths

Professor Duncan Ivison

Professor Alexandre Lefebvre

Dr Kate Lynch

Associate Professor David Macarthur

Professor Kristie Miller

Dr Dalia Nassar

Dr Michael Nielsen

Associate Professor Luke Russell

Dr Sebastian Sequoiah-Grayson

Dr Samuel Shpall

Professor Nick Smith

Professor Anik Waldow

Dr Caroline West

Undergraduate coordinator
Dr Dalia Nassar

Honours coordinator
Dr Sam Shpall

Higher Degree Research coordinator
Professor Peter Anstey

Aademic Advisor
Dr Michael Nielsen

  • Professor Rick Benitez
  • Professor Keith Campbell
  • Professor Paul Crittenden
  • Professor Robert Dunn
  • 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
  • Dr Thomas Besch
  • Dr Pierrick Bourrat
  • Dr Peter Bowden
  • Heather Browning
  • Dr Ross Burns
  • Dr Brett Calcott
  • Dr Millicent Churcher
  • Dr Ryan Cox
  • Dr Timothy Dean
  • Dr Luke Fischer
  • Dr David Glick
  • Associate Professor John Grumley
  • Dr Laura Kotevska
  • Associate Professor Michael McDermott
  • Associate Professor David Miller
  • Mr Tibor Molnar
  • Dr Julie-Ann Robson
  • Dr Peter Rollings
  • Dr Helena Rosenblatt
  • Dr Kerry Sanders
  • Dr Edward Spence
  • Dr Roderick Sutherland
  • Dr Omid Tofighian
  • Hayden Toppeross


The Deparment of Philosopy's seminars are moving online. If you would like to sign up for the Department's seminar series, please follow the link below.

The Sydphil list

Sign up for the Sydphil mailing list and receive notifications of upcoming seminars.

Department Chair

Associate Professor Luke Russell

Featured news

See more