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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.

Undergraduate 

*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.  

Research 

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 | toner.stevenson@sydney.edu.au
P | +61 2

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

Applications now open for postdoctoral research fellowships

The Philosophy Department invites applications for 1 Junior Research Fellowship for a tenure period of 12 months. The award will be to the value of $27,250. The award is open to PhD graduates of the Philosophy Department of the University of Sydney and aims to help improve the recipient’s publication record immediately after being awarded a PhD.

Selection Criteria:

  1. The student has been recommended for the award of a PhD with or without corrections by the Chair of Examinations (FASS).
  2. The student commits to writing up their thesis as a book and submitting the manuscript to a reputable academic press; or to submitting 3 publishable articles to reputable refereed philosophy journals – both during the tenure of the award. 
  3. Since the JRF’s are competitive the Department may take various factors into consideration in the award of these fellowships including but not limited to: quality of the thesis work; book publication contract; history of past publication; and gender equity. 
  4. Students are eligible to apply up to 1 year after the award of the PhD.

How to apply:

Please provide a letter addressing the selection criteria, a CV and a copy of your thesis assessor reports by 20th April 2020. Please make sure that you include the date of the award of your PhD in your application. You will be informed about the decision of the selection committee in May.

Please submit your application and any enquiries to sophi.research@sydney.edu.au

The Philosophy Department invites applications for 1 Junior Research Fellowship for a tenure period of 12 months. The award will be to the value of $27,250. The award is open to PhD graduates of the Philosophy Department of the University of Sydney and aims to help improve the recipient’s publication record immediately after being awarded a PhD.

he award is to help improve the recipient’s publication record immediately after being awarded a PhD.

Selection Criteria:

  1. The student has been recommended for the award of a PhD with or without corrections by the Chair of Examinations (FASS).
  2. The student commits to writing up their thesis as a book and submitting the manuscript to a reputable academic press; or to submitting 3 publishable articles to reputable refereed philosophy journals – both during the tenure of the award. 
  3. Since the JRF’s are competitive the Department may take various factors into consideration in the award of these fellowships including but not limited to: quality of the thesis work; book publication contract; history of past publication; and gender equity. 
  4. Students are eligible to apply up to 1 year after the award of the PhD.

How to apply:

Please provide a letter addressing the selection criteria, a CV, and a copy of your thesis assessor reports by 20th April 2020. Please make sure that you include the date of the award of your PhD in your application. You will be informed about the decision of the selection committee in May.

Please submit your application and any enquiries to sophi.research@sydney.edu.au

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 

Undergraduate coordinator
Professor Rick Benitez

Honours coordinator
Dr Sam Shpall

Higher Degree Research coordinator
Professor Peter Anstey

  • Professor Helen Beebee
  • Professor Douglas Moggach
  • Professor Philip Pettit, FASSA, FAAAS, MRIA, FBA, FAHA
  • Professor Huw Price, FBA, FAHA
  • Professor Paul Redding
  • Professor Paul Thom, FAHA
  • Associate Professor John Grumley
  • Associate Professor David Miller
  • Dr Peter Bowden
  • Dr Brett Calcott
  • Dr Ryan Cox
  • Dr Timothy Dean
  • Dr Luke Fischer
  • Associate Professor Michael McDermott
  • Mr Tibor Molnar
  • Dr Edward Spence
  • Dr Roderick Sutherland
  • Dr Omid Tofighian

Events

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.

Learn more about the University’s advice regarding COVID-19 here.

The Sydphil list

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

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