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Time, Consciousness, and Rationality

Research in the philosophy of time, consciousness, and rationality
An exciting opportunity exists for a commencing PhD student to join a group of leading scholars to undertake research at the intersection of the philosophy of time, metaphysics of mind, and rationality.

Our lives are lived in, and across time. Almost all aspects of our experiences are tied to temporality in some way, including, perhaps, the very ways that we reason about our future.

The project, housed within the Department of Philosophy and the interdisciplinary Centre for Time, lies at the intersection of metaphysics and mind. It focuses on the connection between the temporal dimension, our temporal experiences, the structure of our cross-temporal preferences and the ways we reason about our future.

It asks, first, what is the nature of temporal phenomenology? Second, what is the connection between features of the temporal dimension and our temporal experiences? Third, how does our experience of time impact our cross-temporal preferences?

This project is one of the first to bring together empirical methods from psychology and experimental philosophy to begin to answers these questions.

To be successful in your PhD application you will have a major in philosophy.

We strongly encourage First Nations candidates to apply.

The Chief Investigators will supervise the student based on their expertise and candidate preference.

  • Associate Professor Kristie Miller, the metaphysics of time, temporal phenomenology, and cross-temporal preferences.
  • Professor David Braddon-Mitchell, consciousness, temporal phenomenology, the metaphysics of time.
  • Professor Mark Colyvan, cross-temporal rationality, decision theory,

The successful PhD candidate will be based at Sydney’s Camperdown Campus.

Students will work at the interdisciplinary Centre for Time as well as within the Philosophy Department, and will have access to researchers in psychology and the history and philosophy of science, especially the philosophy of physics. This project includes empirical investigation of temporal phenomenology and temporal preferences, and students should expect to become part of a research team that will produce collaborative output during their degree.   

This research aims to understand the connections between the way time is, metaphysically speaking, and the ways we experience time, and, in turn, the ways our experiences of time impact our preferences and decision making. It brings together research groups with demonstrated research excellence in the metaphysics of time (Miller and Braddon-Mitchell), the empirical study of our concepts of time, and temporal phenomenology (Miller) empirical study of our cross-temporal preferences (Miller) and the study of cross-temporal rationality (Colyvan).

Students will study at the internationally acclaimed Centre for Time amongst interdisciplinary researchers. They will work with leading researchers in the philosophy and psychology of time, and the philosophy of rationality. They will have the opportunity to join one of the only groups of researchers engaging in experimental philosophy into the nature of our temporal concepts, experiences, and preferences.

Applicants are invited to submit a proposal for PhD research that aligns directly to this project and makes a contribution to the study of the metaphysics of time, temporal experience and phenomenology, temporal consciousness, temporal preferences and biases, or deliberation and rationality.

Prospective candidates may qualify for direct entry into the PhD program if their research proposal (see above) is accepted and they satisfy one of the criteria listed below.

  • Bachelor's degree with first class honours in an appropriate area of study that includes a research thesis based on primary data not literature review
  • Master's degree by research in an appropriate area of study that includes a research thesis that draws on primary data
  • Master's degree by coursework, with a research thesis or dissertation of 12,000–15,000 words that draws on primary data not literature review, with a grade-point average of at least 80 per cent in the degree.

For more information regarding applying for a PhD refer to the course details for Doctor of Philosophy (Arts and Social Sciences).

Please also refer to guidelines for preparing a research proposal.

A number of scholarships are available to support your studies.

These scholarships will provide a stipend allowance of $35,000 per annum for up to 3.5 years. Successful international students will also receive a tuition fee scholarship for up to 3.5 years.

For other scholarship opportunities refer to FASS Research Scholarships (Domestic) or FASS Research Scholarships (International)

For further details about the PhD project contact


Kristie Miller

ARC Australian Research Fellow
  • +61 2 9351 3918
  • Room S213 School of Humanities Quadrangle A14

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