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  • 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.

    https://tobinbrothers.com.au/tribute/details/24650/Brian-Scarlett/obituary.html#tribute-start


  • 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

  • 21 Aug 2020 11:43 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The AAP's submission to the public consultation on the Job-ready Graduates Exposure Draft Legislation can be found here: submission


  • 31 Jul 2020 3:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    How Philosophers Have Been Helping Australasians Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

    The humanities have a vital role to play in any time of crisis and transition, and COVID-19 is certainly no exception. Throughout this extraordinary time, Australasian philosophers have been doing our part to make sense of where we are and how we should respond. aap.org.au/PHILOSOPHY-IN-THE-TIME-OF-CORONA/


  • 26 Jun 2020 2:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It is with deep regret that the Australian Academy of the Humanities informs you of the recent passing of David Hugh Mellor (‘Hugh’ to his friends and colleagues, ‘D. H. Mellor’ to his readers), a world-leading philosopher, former Professor of Philosophy and Pro-Vice-​Chancellor at Cambridge University, and a passionate advocate for the arts and humanities. Professor Mellor died peacefully in Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge on the morning of June 21 of complications arising from lymphoma.  He was elected to the Academy as an Honorary Fellow in 2003.

    Hugh Mellor was born in London on 10 July 1938 and was educated at Manchester Grammar School. He studied chemical engineering at Pembroke College, Cambridge, obtaining his BA in 1960. His first formal study of philosophy was at the University of Minnesota where he took a minor in Philosophy of Science under Austrian philosopher and member of the Vienna circle Herbert Feigl. From Minnesota he obtained an MSc in 1962. He obtained his PhD in philosophy, with a thesis written under the supervision of British philosopher Mary Hesse, at Pembroke in 1968.

    Professor Mellor’s primary work was in metaphysics: his philosophical interests included the philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, probability, time and causation, laws of nature and properties, and decision theory. In 1971 he published The Matter of Chance, a ground-breaking text which offered a revolutionary new theory of objective single case probability. Professor Mellor then went on to become the premier spokesperson for accounts of causation that challenged the orthodoxy that causation is a relation between events, an orthodoxy dating back to 18th century philosopher David Hume. He was also a leading figure on the philosophy of time, publishing several monographs on the topic and other areas of metaphysics including  Real Time (1981), Matters of Metaphysics (1991), The Facts of Causation (1995), Real Time II (1998), Probability: A Philosophical Introduction (2005) and Mind, Meaning, and Reality (2012). A festschrift, Real Metaphysics, edited by Hallvard Lillehammer and Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra, was published in 2003.

    Professor Mellor was a Fellow of Pembroke College Cambridge from 1964 to 1970 and a Fellow of Darwin College from 1971 to 2005. He became a University Assistant Lecturer in Philosophy in 1965, a Lecturer in 1970, a Reader in Metaphysics in 1983 and Professor of Philosophy from 1986 to 1999. He was a Pro-Vice-Chancellor from 2000 to 2001. During his time as Professor, and subsequently as PVC, Mellor raised substantial funding for the humanities at Cambridge, was instrumental in securing funds needed for the preservation and refurbishment of the Cambridge Arts Theatre, and forcefully represented the School of Arts and Humanities on the General Board. An actor in his own right, Mellor retained a love of theatre and performance throughout his life and career.

    In addition to his Honorary Fellowship with the Academy, Mellor was a Fellow of the British Academy from 1983 to 2008, President of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science from 1985 to 1987, President of the Aristotelian Society from 1992 to 1993, and Chairman of the Analysis Trust from 2000 to 2008. He served as editor of The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science and was Founding Editor of the Cambridge University Press series Cambridge Studies in Philosophy. From 1978 to 1989 he served on the Editorial Board of Australasian Journal of Philosophy.

    Professor Mellor retained strong connections to Australia throughout  his career, first as a visiting Fellow to ANU in 1975, and regularly since then, most recently in 2002 and 2003. He played a major role in encouraging and assisting Australians to spend time in the UK and Cambridge and was a stalwart supporter of Australian philosophy and universities.

    We extend our deepest sympathies to Professor Mellor’s family, friends and colleagues.

    David Hugh Mellor's full Obituary can be read here.

    This Obituary appears by kind permission of The Australian Academy of the Humanities. It will appear in their 2019–2020 Annual Report.

  • 16 Jun 2020 1:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It is with great sadness that the AAP notes the passing of the former philosopher and friend of the AAP, Lloyd Reinhardt.  Lloyd taught at the University of Sydney for many years (as well as Keele University, Birkbeck College, the University of London and the University of California, Santa Barbara).  He was a senior lecturer in philosophy at Sydney from 1979 until his retirement in 2001, and published several important articles in the philosophy of language, aesthetics and metaphysics. 

    Lloyd was born in Deer Creek Minnesota, USA in 1933.  After completing his army service, stationed in Germany, he returned to the USA to study philosophy at Berkeley.  While there, he studied with Stanley Cavell, Paul Grice and John Searle.  Lloyd, like many others of that generation, does not hold a PhD in philosophy. But he went on to complete the prestigious BPhil at Oxford under Gilbert Ryle, during which time he came in regular contact with J.L Austin as well. 

    Lloyd was a big-hearted man with an unforgettable bass baritone voice and a strong appetite for jokes, good food and wine and, above all, philosophy. Lloyd was an enthusiastic philosophical conversationalist and there are a many of us in the Australasian Philosophical community who owe him a great debt, having benefitted enormously from his generosity in giving up his time to talk philosophy with a seriousness and passion second to none.

     Lloyd’s wife Janet writes: “Lloyd never lost his love of philosophy.  On the day before he died he was reading Jonathon Lear’s Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation.”

  • 18 May 2020 11:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Those in the Australasian philosophical community who knew Karen Neander will be greatly saddened by the news of her death. She died on 6 May 2020, after a long battle with cancer.

    Karen completed a BA (honours) at La Trobe in 1975, followed by the award of her PhD in 1984. In the 1980s she held positions in Philosophy at the Universities of Sydney, Wollongong, and Adelaide before becoming a postdoctoral and then a research fellow in the Philosophy Program of the Research School of Social Sciences at the ANU. In 1996 Karen moved to a position at Johns Hopkins University in the United States. She took up a senior appointment in Philosophy at the University of California at Davis in 2002, and in 2006 became Professor of Philosophy and Linguistics at Duke University in North Carolina.

    Karen maintained strong links with Australasian philosophy, serving as a member of the AJP Editorial Board, attending the AAP conference when she could, and keeping in touch with former colleagues. Many philosophers here regarded Karen as a long-term friend as well as an academic colleague and her death is felt as a personal as well as a professional loss.

    Karen was a first-rate philosopher and internationally well-known for her contributions to philosophy of mind, biology, and cognitive science. Prior to her important book, A Mark of the Mental (MIT Press, 2017), there was an impressive list of publications in journals, edited collections, and major reference works. As David Papineau has recently written of Karen: "All her work was powerful, insightful, influential."

    Karen is remembered by many with great respect and with great affection.

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