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  • 17 Dec 2023 2:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Patrick Æ Hutchings (Oxon), was a longtime Editor-in-Chief (Australasia) of Sophia and a cherished member of both the journal’s philosophical community and the international philosophy community more broadly.

    With a deep intellectual and academic history (with prior studies in the University of Wellington and Oxford University), Patrick was at the time of his passing an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Melbourne.

  • 22 Jul 2023 2:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear Colleagues

    You may have seen the recent messages from Arthur O'Neill, Maurita Harney
    and Kim Sterelny about the death of Marion Tapper.

    In these messages, Marion has been recognised for: her contribution to
    Australian philosophical thought focussed on texts of German and French
    origin; an academic career that 'helped to establish phenomenology, and
    continental philosophy more broadly, as an important, strong, and respected
    area of philosophical inquiry in Australia'; playing a foundational role in
    setting up the Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy (MSCP); and, as
    an inspiring teacher and host of most memorable social occasions.

    In addition to Marion's legacy in phenomenology and continental philosophy,
    Marion contributed significantly to the AAP and the philosophy profession;
    a contribution that was recently recognised at the AAP Conference and
    Centenary exhibition of the Association. Marion was the AAP
    Secretary (1998-2003) and Appointments Officer (1986-1987 and 1994-1998).
    She co-authored seminal reports about women and the profession - 'Special
    Problems Facing Women in Philosophy' (with San MacColl, Genevieve Lloyd and
    Barbara Roxon) in 1982 and 'Women and Philosophy' (with Janna Thompson) in

    Much loved sister of Linda, Jan (dec), Alan and Ross, she will be greatly
    missed. A guest book has been set up where people may leave their
    reflections here:

  • 14 Jun 2023 6:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The AAP is saddened to hear of the recent death of Professor Jennifer A.
    McMahon, University of Adelaide. Following a cancer diagnosis in 2019,
    Jenny passed away peacefully on Monday 5th June 2023.

    Jenny's family have asked that we circulate this news and the details of
    her funeral, which will be held in the Florey Chapel at Centennial Park
    Cemetery (760 Goodwood Road, Pasadena, Adelaide, SA) on Monday 19th June
    2023, at 12.45pm, followed by her burial at 2pm.

    In addition to her academic work, Jenny was Secretary of the AAP from 2014
    to 2017 and was the curator of the inaugural issue of the *Australasian
    Philosophical Review* in 2017 on the topic of Aesthetic Pleasure.

    She will be sorely missed by her family, as well as by her friends and
    academic colleagues both around Australia and the world.

  • 13 Apr 2023 8:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Eulogy provided by Jill Howells

    I met Janette in 2000 when I taught at a Primary School in Melbourne. I enrolled in a Professional Learning Course – Introduction to a Community of Inquiry, which she was running through the Victorian Association for Philosophy in Schools.

    The level-one training I completed, Janette’s mentoring of me, and our friendship changed how I am an educator and influenced the schools I worked in. She ignited in me a passion to advocate for teaching critical and creative thinking through philosophical dialogue.

    Janette reminded me of an intrepid explorer in education, always finding new ways to support and encourage adults and children to engage in Philosophical thinking. Her influence was immense across all sectors of education.

    Some of Janette’s main achievements are:


    Victorian Association for Philosophy in Schools

    Education and Innovations Officer


    Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority

    Casual assessment work


    Federation of Asia Pacific Philosophy in Schools Association

    Victorian Council Member and Secretary


    Victorian Certificate of Education Philosophy teacher and examiner – casual


    Completed her Doctorate of Education in 2011 on developmental assessment at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, Melbourne University, where she studied under the supervision of Professor Patrick Griffin. Her thesis was titled “Milestones in Philosophical Development in the Middle Years”.

    2012 -2018

    Melbourne Institute of Technology

    Academic Coordinator and lecturer School of Education and Arts Academic


    Deputy Chair - Philosophy for Children and Youth, Asia-Pacific Network

    2015- 2018

    Victorian Association of Philosophy in School Northern Hub Coordinator for the Ethical Capability - Department of Education & Training


    International Council of Philosophical Inquiry with Children Conference – Madrid


    2020 -2022

    University of Melbourne - Department of Education, Teacher training


    Conference Coordinator Asia Pacific Conference On Philosophy for Children


    Federation of Asia- Pacific Philosophy in Schools

    Planning Committee


    Facilitated a Peace Train workshop with Farzaneh Shahrtash from Iran, working with Japanese students.


    • 2014

    “Is there any future for p4c in Australia”?

    • 2011

    “Milestones in Philosophical Development in the Middle Years”

    • 2019

    Contributor to “Philosophical Inquiry with Children, The Development of an Inquiring Society in Australia”.

    • 2022

    “Community of inquiry, competitions, and capabilities: a cautionary response - about how competition is a challenge to the Community of Inquiry.”


    • Created the first primary philosophy in public spaces event at the National Gallery of Victoria circa 2012.

    • Expanded these events to include Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks, Melbourne Zoo, and Immigration Museum.

    • Ethics trails at Melbourne Museum, Melbourne Zoo, Holocaust Museum,

    • Led VCE revision forums for Year 12 students with leading academics in philosophy.

    Janette was a key proponent of the community of inquiry pedagogies, which, unlike many popular educational traditions, acknowledges the importance of allowing children a greater voice in the learning process. Janette believed in interactional classrooms and the importance of listening to children, never wavering from the belief that they, too, are philosophical creatures with important things to say about the world around them.

    She has been a leading figure in communities of inquiry in Victoria, interstate and internationally. Education was her passion.

    In 2023 Janette continued her work with The Victorian Association of Philosophy in Schools and the Federation of Asia- Pacific Philosophy in Schools.

    At one of our last meetings, she was positive towards the planning we had started and excited about what the year would bring.

    She will be missed by many across the world.

    Jill Howells

  • 15 Nov 2022 2:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The AAP regrets to announce the death of Robert Nola at age 82 on Sunday 23 October 2022. One of the longest-serving members of the Philosophy Department of the University of Auckland, his influence on the Department, and, equally, outside of the Department through his many contacts in the Faculty of Science, was immense. Robert was a fierce advocate of standards in the teaching of Philosophy, as well as in science. Philosophically, he was perhaps best known for his defence of scientific realism and the importance of scientific method, his strong advocacy of the idea of analytic rigor and its importance to philosophical method, and his impatience with opposing ideas and trends, including much of continental philosophy (he liked to cite Frege as one of the few exceptions) and religion.

    Robert was born in Auckland, New Zealand, 25 June 1940, his father a Croatian fisherman who emigrated to New Zealand. Robert was the first in his New Zealand family to go to University, and after completing an undergraduate science degree at what was then the University of New Zealand he obtained a Master of Science in Mathematics, and a Master of Arts in Philosophy, both from the University of Auckland. He completed his PhD at the Australian National University with a thesis on Theoretical change in the physical sciences: a study of theory reduction and theory replacement in science, under the supervision of John Passmore. Robert subsequently joined the Auckland Department as a lecturer in 1969 and retired an emeritus professor in 2016. Robert married Jan Crosthwaite, also a member of the Philosophy Department, in 1987.

    During his long career Robert provided invaluable service to the university community, among his many other roles serving as chairman of the Board of the University of Auckland Press and as chair of the Sir Douglas Robb Lecture Committee. The latter role allowed him to play out his deep commitment to the intellectual importance of the sciences and their links to other fields of enquiry. He was instrumental in bringing a number of notable scientists and science commentators to deliver lectures at the university, including Richard Feynman, Stephen Jay Gould, and Richard Dawkins. His commitment to the intellectual importance of science also led him to introduce a successful interdisciplinary undergraduate programme in the history and philosophy of science and technology, which he convened for many years. 

    Robert had research contacts with many philosophers and historians of science around the world, and was an academic visitor, in some cases multiple times, at institutions like the Centre for Philosophy of Science in Pittsburgh, the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, and the Department of Philosophy at Boğaziçi University, Instanbul (the home department of Gürol Irzik with whom he had a very productive research collaboration). Although Robert’s primary research focus and teaching were in philosophy of science, he had wide interests in philosophy more generally, particularly in metaphysics and epistemology, as well as in science education. He authored about 80 journal articles and book chapters, and was the author of Rescuing Reason: A Critique of Anti-Rationalist Views of Science and Knowledge (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Springer 2003) and, with Gürol Irzik, of Philosophy, Science, Education and Culture (Dordrecht, Springer, 2005). He was also the co-author, with Howard Sankey, of Theories of Scientific Method (Acumen Press, 2007), and the co-editor, with David Braddon-Mitchell, of Naturalism and Analysis (MIT Press, 2009). 

    Robert’s insistence on the unique and universal rationality of science and its methods sometimes put him at odds with academic trends. For example, he pushed hard for what he saw as a more nuanced account of what indigenous knowledge could offer science than the account found in certain alternative models of science and knowledge popular in the academy. His stance attracted considerable criticism, but for many others it was testimony to a deep intellectual courage and integrity. He continues to be admired by many for the unusual breadth of his academic interests, uncommon in contemporary universities, and for the sheer doggedness he displayed in the pursuit of the ideals of rationality, knowledge and truth. He will be greatly missed by his family, and his numerous friends, collaborators and students.

  • 02 Aug 2022 12:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With agreement to post from Nic Southwood, Head, School of Philosophy, RSSS, CASS, ANU, circulated on aphil mailing list on 02.08.22:

    It is with profound shock and sadness that I share with you the news that our beloved friend and colleague, Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Brennan passed away on Friday morning after a brief battle with leukaemia.

    As many of you will know, Geoff was an outstanding scholar, who did ground-breaking work in economics and philosophy and at their intersection and played a major role in the development of “PPE” as a global interdisciplinary research program.

    Originally trained as an economist, his early work was focused on issues of public finance. From 1976-1983 he was Professor in the Public Choice Center at Virginia Tech, where he worked extensively with Nobel Laureate James Buchanan, co-authoring two important books (The Power to Tax (CUP 1980) and The Reason of Rules (CUP 1985)), and a dozen or so articles. He returned to the ANU in 1984 where he began to engage and collaborate increasingly with philosophers. In his work on democratic theory with Loren Lomasky, Democracy and Decision (CUP 1993), voters were depicted as motivated by “expressive" concerns rather than rent-seeking ones; and in his book with Philip Pettit, The Economy of Esteem (OUP 2004), as seeking the good opinion of others rather than their purses. That strand of his work continued in Explaining Norms (OUP 2013), with Lina Eriksson, Bob Goodin and Nic Southwood, which formed the basis for the account of social norms in the World Bank's 2015 World Development Report. He continued to work right up until his death on two books dealing with important themes at the intersection of philosophy and economics. In addition to the books already mentioned, Geoff was also a prolific contributor to journals across the three PPE disciplines:  the American Economic Review, the Economic Journal, Econometrica, Oxford Economic Papers, Public Finance and Public Choice in economics; the British Journal of Political Science and Politics, Philosophy and Economics in politics; and Ethics, The Monist the Journal of Political Philosophy, the Journal of Applied Philosophy and Social Philosophy and Policy in philosophy.

    Geoff received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career. He was made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences in 1987 and received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of St Gallen in Switzerland in 2002. He received the 2013 Annual Distinguished Fellow Award from the Australian Economics Society and the 2014 annual Hayek medal awarded by the German Hayek Society. In 2016, he gave the Brian Barry Memorial Lecture (the LSE’s premier lecture in political science). He was President of the international Public Choice Society (the only non-American to hold that office) and an editor of several journals including Economics and Philosophy and the Economic Record.

    Geoff described himself as “very much an ANU product.” He did both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at ANU, was a member of ANU academic staff for over forty years (from 1968 until 1978 and again from 1984 until his retirement in 2016), and served as RSSS Director from 1991-1996.

    Geoff will be remembered by his numerous friends and colleagues throughout the world, not only for his outstanding scholarly contributions, but also as an inspiring and joyful collaborator and interlocutor, and as an extraordinarily warm, generous, outgoing, and kind person. We will all miss him greatly.

    On behalf of the Australasian Philosophy community, I send my sincere condolences to his wife Margaret, children Susan, Michael, Robyn, and Philip, and his many grandchildren.

    I will pass on details about funeral arrangements when I have them.

  • 25 Jul 2022 9:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The AAP regrets to announce the death of Janna Thompson on Friday 24 June 2022. She was one of La Trobe University’s longest-serving philosophy academics and an influential contributor to the culture and ethos of the discipline at La Trobe. She served the AAP as President in 1991–92. Throughout her career, she was a powerful advocate for women in philosophy and for greater gender parity within the discipline. She, along with Marian Tapper, authored one of the early reports to AAP Council on the employment of women in the profession (1983–89).

    Janna was born in Minnesota in 1942 and did her undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota before completing a B.Phil at Oxford University in 1966. After graduating, she taught at the University of Manchester and then came to Australia to take up a role at Monash University. Janna joined La Trobe in January 1975 and was a Lecturer and Professor in Philosophy at La Trobe for almost 40 years until her retirement in 2011. She served as a Director of the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne after retirement, while retaining an Adjunct appointment at La Trobe. 

    Janna was an expert in political philosophy, although her philosophical competence was much wider. She authored five books on reparative justice and intergenerational justice, co-edited two collections, and published over 90 journal articles and book chapters on topics including environmental philosophy and ethics, feminism and labour, women and philosophy, and international justice. She remained an active researcher in retirement, and published her last academic paper on intergenerational justice in March this year. Her list of academic publications is testament to her extraordinary research output and breadth of interests, as well as her ability to recognise and address issues of justice and responsibility before they became more widely known. The quality of her teaching, which ranged over all her research interests and other fields, was valued by her students and much admired by her colleagues.

    Janna was also dedicated to public scholarship and political engagement. She had long- standing associations with the labour and environmental movements, and contributed to debates on many issues facing our nation and the world, especially within the trade union movement. Janna’s ability to convey subtle philosophical points clearly to a general audience can be appreciated in her many articles for The Conversation.

    Janna was a much-loved member of the La Trobe University community. She was renowned for being a thoughtful and constructive participant at weekly philosophy seminars for many years, and continued to attend seminars and colloquia on campus up until the COVID pandemic. Janna will be remembered for her fierce intelligence and her mission to use philosophy to develop practical tools that could be used to address problems in the world. She was also known for her honesty, directness, and intellectual rigour. Her generosity, acuity and practical orientation to philosophy made her an outstanding supervisor of graduate research students and a wonderful mentor for early career researchers.

    Janna was an inspirational philosopher and human being. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her. Her body of work is a striking record of the value of academic philosophy in resolving societal problems, a legacy of which we can all be very proud. Her colleagues and friends also knew her as an impressive athlete. She frequently engaged in demanding cycling events, both in Australia and overseas, and continued to cycle to campus well after her retirement. 

  • 30 May 2022 10:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Funeral notice for Brian Francis Scarlett

    The Funeral Mass for Brian will be celebrated at Sts Peter & Paul's Catholic Church - 377 Dorcas Street, South Melbourne on Tuesday 31st May, 2022 commencing at 2.00pm.

  • 11 Apr 2022 12:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It is with great sadness that we report the passing of our friend and former colleague, Hughes Professor of Philosophy Emeritus Graham Nerlich. 

    Graham Nerlich took his first degrees at Adelaide (BA 1954, MA 1955), before heading to Oxford and taking the BPhil (1958) under the supervision of JL Austin. In 1961, after several years as lecturer at Leicester, he took up a position at Sydney. He was promoted to full professor in 1972. Graham returned to Adelaide in 1974, succeeding his former teacher Jack Smart as the Hughes Professor, a position he held until his retirement in 1994. He was editor of the Australasian Journal of Philosophy (1968-1972) and president of the AAP (1992-93). Among his many honours, Graham was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1978.

    Graham’s research and publication during his two decades in the Hughes Chair was divided mainly between studies in the ontology of space, time and spacetime, and work in ethics. In the former and larger output, he defended realism toward spacetime and especially a unique role for it in ontology as providing geometrical, non-causal explanation in General Relativity. Graham’s interest in the philosophy of physics had been stimulated early by Smart, and he enjoyed good relations with the physics department. In ethics, Graham pursued a form of naturalism that sees the development of ethical practices arising, analogously to the universal yet diverse flourishing of language, in the natural life of human populations.

    After his retirement, Graham remained active in the department and in research, publishing until well into his eighties. He continued his long running discussion group in philosophy of physics until quite recently.

    Graham died in hospital on Thursday 31st March with his wife Margaret at his side. He never recovered consciousness after suffering a stroke at home the night before. 

    His funeral will be held at 4pm, Monday April 11th at Charles Berry & Son (200 Magill Road, Norwood). There will be food and drink afterwards. All warmly welcome.

    Dr Jon Opie

  • 26 Aug 2020 12:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Remembering Jerry Gaus

    We at ANU were saddened to learn of the sudden death of our former
    colleague Jerry Gaus, while still in his philosophical prime.  Like so
    many of his cohort who began careers in philosophy at RSSS in the
    early 1980s – Fred D'Agostino, Peter Forrest, Michael McRobbie, Peter
    Menzies, Huw Price – he went on to greatness later and elsewhere.  But
    we have always taken pride when hearing, in his distinguished
    subsequent work, echoes of the young Jerry who took up his first job
    post PhD here at ANU.

    Jerry Gaus came to work with Stanley Benn on an internally-funded
    interdisciplinary RSSS project on 'The Public and the Private'. The
    capstone of that project was a book they coedited, Public and Private
    in Social Life (1983), containing chapters by anthropologists,
    historians of ideas, lawyers, philosophers and political scientists.
    That rampant interdisciplinarity returned to characterize Jerry's late
    work, particularly The Tyranny of the Ideal:  Justice in a Diverse
    Society (2019) and his sadly now posthumous The Open Society and Its
    Complexities (2021). And it lies at the heart of the Department of
    Political Economy and Moral Science that he founded at the University
    of Arizona in 2018.

    In between, Jerry devoted himself largely to the problem of public
    justification in liberal societies, an extended enterprise bookended
    by Justificatory Liberalism (1996) on one end and The Order of Public
    Reason (2010) on the other.  There the influence of his ANU mentor and
    collaborator, Stanley Benn, is much in evidence.  Jerry transformed
    Stanley's 'Alan and Betty' into his own recurring interlocutors 'Alf
    and Betty'. Still, Jerry's conception of practical reason and dialogic
    justification is very much continuous with that in Stanley Benn's A
    Theory of Freedom (1988), which Jerry saw through press after
    Stanley's own premature demise.

    Jerry's Pittsburgh PhD was in political science, under John Chapman of
    Nomos editorial fame. Jerry said that it was at ANU that 'Stanley
    taught me how to be a philosopher'. The preface to Stanley's book
    reports that they had a philosophical lunch literally every day
    Stanley came into the office. That would have been a bit too much of a
    good thing for some. But not for Jerry, whose appetite for philosophy,
    once whetted, was insatiable.

    We are proud to have played an early role in his career, and we are
    proud of all that he accomplished over its course.

    Bob Goodin, Geoff Brennan, Philip Pettit, Kim Sterelny

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