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A Companion to Philosophy in Australia and New Zealand

Australasian Association of Philosophy

Eliza Goddard & Graham Priest

The Australasian Association of Philosophy (AAP) is the professional association for philosophers in Australasia. The aims of the association, as stated in its Memorandum of Association, are: to promote the study of philosophy; to promote the exchange of ideas among philosophers; to encourage creative and scholarly activity in philosophy; to facilitate the professional work and protect the professional and academic interests of philosophers. The AAP has always included Australia and New Zealand; in 2004, Singapore was also admitted.

The AAP is run by an executive (the Council), elected by the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the association. The Council comprises a President, Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Editor of the association’s Australasian Journal of Philosophy, and such other people, with various roles, as the AGM or the Council determines from time to time. Positions other than the presidency are usually held on an ongoing basis. The presidency changes every year. Membership of the AAP is open to all interested persons, as well as professional philosophers; but voting rights at meetings of the association are limited to members who are, or have been, active in Australasian philosophy at tertiary level, including research students.

The association was founded on 17 January 1923 as the Australasian Association of Psychology and Philosophy. The first president was Bernard Muscio (University of Sydney); the first editor was Francis Anderson (University of Sydney); and amongst the first vice-presidents were William Ralph Boyce Gibson (University of Melbourne), Elton Mayo (University of Queensland), and William Mitchell (University of Adelaide). Since then, a great number of distinguished Australasian philosophers have been active in the association.

When the association was founded, psychology was not yet established as an autonomous discipline; the association changed its name to ‘The Australasian Association of Philosophy’ in 1958, after it had become so. There is a New Zealand Division of the Association (AAPNZ) which was formally established in 1978. The New Zealand Division of the AAP did operate as an informal association prior to this date, with the inaugural New Zealand Conference held in 1953. At various times, there are or have been active branches of the AAP in various Australian states and the Australian Capital Territory.

An important aspect of the AAP is its annual conference. This has been held on a continuous basis since the inception of the association. Each year, the conference is hosted by a university department/school/program of philosophy. For the most part, it has been held at a university location. In its earliest years, the conference rotated annually between the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne. Since the 1950s locations have diversified, with the conference circulating amongst various universities in different states in Australia, and from time to time in New Zealand.

When the conference first started, it was very small, lasting for a day or two, and with a handful of papers. It now lasts for a working week, starting with the presidential address on Sunday evening. Over recent years, the number of papers has averaged between 150 and 160. The conference has a strong international reputation, and attracts philosophers not only from Australasia, but also from North America, Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. It is characterised by its egalitarian nature, known for its social activities, as well as its intense philosophical ones. The AGM of the AAP is held during the conference. As well as taking business decisions, it has at various times taken stands on political issues, including nuclear weapons, East Timor, and the treatment of Eastern Bloc philosophers.

Another major function of the AAP is to run its journal, the Australasian Journal of Philosophy (AJP). This was first published in the same year the association was established (1923), as the Australasian Journal of Psychology and Philosophy, changing its name to the present one in 1947. The journal is now, therefore, one of the oldest English-language philosophy journals in the world, and is constantly ranked as one of the best of these. Articles are published only after a rigorous and anonymous peer-review system, managed by the Editor. In common with the other top-rated international philosophy journals, its acceptance rate is currently less than 10%. It is heavily cited in the general philosophical literature and covered by all the major abstracting and indexing services. In 2007 it was rated ‘A’ in the European Reference Index in the Humanities (ERIH).

From its inception until 1997, the AJP was published by the AAP. The publication rights (though not ownership or editorial control) were given to Oxford University Press in that year. In 2005, these were transferred to Taylor and Francis, operating under its Routledge imprint. The whole back run of the AJP has now been digitised, and is available online to subscribers. Since 2007, the AAP, in conjunction with Routledge, has awarded an annual Australasian Journal of Philosophy Best Paper Award. This is awarded to the best piece published in the AJP in the preceding year, as determined by a committee set up by Council.

In addition to its scholarly content, the AJP contains an historical record of the AAP and the activities of members of the profession. The ‘Notes and News’ section includes, amongst other things: proceedings of conferences, records of resolutions and policies, as well as general news about members of the profession, including movements and obituaries. Much of this information (including a list of executives of the association and conference proceedings dating back to 1923) is available on the AAP website.

The AAP has always been active in defending the interests of philosophy in Australasia and of Australasian philosophers. Over the years, the AAP has collected data on the profession and produced various reports on it. The most celebrated instance of the association’s stance in regards to an individual philosopher involved the chair of philosophy at the University of Tasmania from the mid 1950s to mid 1960s. In 1956, the University of Tasmania summarily dismissed its chair of philosophy, Sydney Sparkes Orr. The AAP considered the action ‘contrary to academic tradition’ and passed a resolution on 18 August 1958 stating that the University of Tasmania was ‘not a suitable place of employment for teachers of philosophy’. This declaration came to be known as the ‘black ban’. The ban was reluctantly continued throughout the next decade, and was lifted at Orr’s death in 1966, only after which time was the chair filled again. Throughout this period, the AAP supported the reinstatement of Orr to academic life. It provided and organised financial support for Orr’s legal case, and also for his family after his death. The Orr case was exceptionally public; the AAP’s activities on behalf of individual members, of necessity, often requires confidentiality.

Since the AAP was established in 1923 a number of more specialised Australasian philosophy organisations have come into being. The AAP provides an umbrella organisation for these, and over the years has worked closely with many of them (including the Australasian Association for Logic, the Australasian Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, and Women in Philosophy). Often, these other organisations hold their conferences in conjunction with the AAP conference, or organise streams within it.

In recent years, and especially with the increased funding provided by giving the publication rights of the AJP to a professional publisher, the AAP has been able to increase and expand its professional activities considerably. It has instituted an annual meeting for heads of philosophy programs; collects data on the state of the profession on an annual basis; contributes to various Federal Government reporting activities; and makes submissions about philosophy to various government bodies. Through its website, the AAP provides information about jobs, conferences, mailing lists and the academic study of philosophy. The volume of activity has increased so much that in 2006 the AAP appointed a salaried Executive Officer (part-time) for the first time.

An important aim of the AAP over recent years has been to raise the public profile of philosophy in Australasia. It has organised various public lectures, has run press lunches and has in other ways facilitated communication between journalists and philosophers. In conjunction with Taylor and Francis, it awards an annual AAP Media Prize for the best piece by a philosopher published in the popular media in Australasia during the previous calendar year. It also awards occasional prizes to journalists for their work relevant to philosophy. The AAP has produced a short film, entitled ‘What is Philosophy?’, which explains for the general public what philosophy is, and the benefits of studying it. This can also be found on the AAP’s website.

Through its activities, the AAP has made a substantial contribution to the sense of community in the profession and has played a major role in fostering both philosophy in the Australasian region and the impact of Australasian philosophy internationally.

Australasian Association of Philosophy, New Zealand

Colin Cheyne


The New Zealand Division of the Australasian Association of Philosophy (AAPNZ) consists of all New Zealand members of the Australasian Association of Philosophy (AAP). It has long been supposed that the New Zealand Division began with the first New Zealand Philosophy Conference which was held at Canterbury University College, Christchurch on 22–25 May 1953. However, it was not until 1977 that the following article was added (along with many other amendments) to the AAP Articles of Association:


Members of the Association in different regions shall have the right, with the prior passage of an ordinary resolution by the Association, to constitute a Division of the Association.


(The old (1923) Articles of Association make no mention of ‘Divisions’.) At the Annual General Meeting of the New Zealand Philosophy Conference on 11 May 1978 the following resolution was carried:


We New Zealand members of the Australasian Association of Philosophy wish to be constituted as a Division to be known as the ‘New Zealand Division’ of the Australasian Association of Philosophy under Rule 38 of the Articles of Association of the Australasian Association of Philosophy.


Subsequently at the AAP Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Canberra on 30 August 1978 the following resolution was carried:


That New Zealand members of the Association be constituted a Division of the Association.


Thus, the New Zealand Division had its official beginning in 1978, although an unofficial New Zealand Division of the AAP had been in existence for a few years prior to that. The earliest documented use of the term ‘New Zealand Division’ occurs in 1972 (‘Notes and News’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 50 (1972): 205). Earlier conference announcements occasionally refer to the ‘NZ Section of the Australasian Association of Psychology and Philosophy’, and to the ‘New Zealand Philosophical Association’, but most conferences were simply announced as the ‘New Zealand Philosophy Conference’.

For the purposes of this article, I will continue the tradition of regarding the 1953 conference as the beginning of the Division, in part because the annual conferences have been by far the main activity of the Division (unofficial or official). This is to some degree reflected in the Articles of Association governing Divisions which say little more than that:


Normally each Division shall hold an annual conference.

All office-bearers of a Division shall be Full Members of that Division.

A Division may adopt such Divisional by-laws as it sees fit … unless … they are not consonant with the objects of the Association.


The 1978 decision to form an official New Zealand Division was not without controversy. Indeed, at the preceding New Zealand AGM in May 1977, it was resolved:


That this unofficial association does not wish to be a Division of the AAP in accordance with the proposed rules,


and a committee was set up to investigate the formation of a New Zealand Association of Philosophy. Concerns centred around a perceived threat to the autonomy of New Zealand philosophical affairs, poor communication, and neglect by the AAP Council. A spate of communications followed between office-holders in both countries and concerns were allayed by amending the ‘proposed rules’, along with reassurances of improved communication in the future. Hence, the very different New Zealand resolution of May 1978.

New Zealand concerns about autonomy, communication and neglect have occasionally surfaced since. At the AAPNZ AGM in May 1987, ‘[a]fter considerable debate, a motion to change the name of the [New Zealand] Division to The New Zealand Association of Philosophy was lost’ (‘Notes and News’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 65 (1987): 375). There is correspondence which indicates that this debate had been going on at least since 1985. However, this was not a secessionist move, but an attempt to attach the name ‘New Zealand’ more prominently to distinctively New Zealand activities, such as the Annual Conference. Although the proposal was lost, the debate did prompt the AAP Council to reserve a seat on Council for a New Zealand representative (AAP AGM Minutes, 27 August 1986). With improved communication via air travel and email, the editorship of the AJP in New Zealand from 2002 to 2007, and New Zealand representation on the AAP Council, feelings of isolation or neglect appear to have largely evaporated.


Although the record is incomplete, it is believed that New Zealand Philosophy Conferences have been held annually since 1953, except for 1955. The fiftieth conference was celebrated at Massey University in 2003. With occasional variations, the conferences have been hosted by each university department in turn. The first conference at Canterbury College was in 1953, Victoria College of Wellington 1954, Auckland College 1957, University of Waikato 1968, and Massey University 1972. It is not known when the first conference was held at the University of Otago, but possibly 1956. The first for which there is a record is 1960.

The early conferences featured a small number of papers spread over a number of days (usually Friday evening to the following Monday morning) but were, by most accounts, very lively affairs. The first conference (described in a delightful article in Bennett 1953) included papers by J. J. C. Smart (Adelaide), George Hughes (Victoria), E. S. Robinson (Kansas), Hector Monro (Otago), Bob Durrant (Otago), William Anderson (Auckland), John Passmore (Otago), A. N. Prior (Canterbury), and Jonathan Bennett (Canterbury), an indication of the quality of presenter and presentation that has continued to the present.

The conferences remained small until the early 1970s, after which they grew in size (albeit with considerable variation), multiple sessions were introduced, and overseas philosophers became more prominent. (Notable, regular attendees included David Lewis and William G. Lycan.) Recent conferences have generally featured between forty and one hundred papers. In 1997 a combined AAP/AAPNZ conference was held in Auckland. Billed as Philfest ’97, it also included the Australasian Association for Logic, Australasian Association for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science, and Women in Philosophy conferences for a grand total of 171 papers. A second combined AAP/AAPNZ conference was hosted by the University of Canterbury in 2002 and another is planned for Otago in 2011.

Until 1987 the conferences were almost always held during the May vacation, after which they moved to the August vacation. With the arrival of semesterisation at some universities, common vacation periods during the academic year disappeared and conferences have been held in early December since 1998, the only exceptions being the joint AAP/AAPNZ conferences held in early July, the traditional time for AAP conferences.

Conferences usually open with a presidential address on the first evening. Notable exceptions were 1989 when the Arthur Prior Memorial Conference (a joint conference with the Australasian Association for Logic) at the University of Canterbury opened with an inaugural address by Rom Harré (Oxford), and 1990 when the conference was an official NZ 1990 Project commemorating the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. That conference opened with an address by the Honourable Matiu Rata (a former minister of Maori Affairs).


Until recently the Division had two office-holders, a President and a Secretary who was that year’s Conference Organiser. The Secretary became President for the following year. At the 1988 AGM it was suggested that there would be advantages in a procedure which ensured that both President and Secretary were members of the host university. One advantage noted was that this would enable the appointment of a president who would be available to serve on the AAP Council (AAPNZ AGM Minutes, 23 August 1988). After a few years of ad hoc appointments along those lines, the 1992 AGM resolved that ‘the AAPNZ adopt as standard practice the provision of a President by the conference host department’ (AAPNZ AGM Minutes, 28 August 1992).

Concerns about the lack of an institutional memory and confusion over changes in policy lead to the appointment in 2003 of a longer-term Secretary with responsibility for ongoing divisional business, record-keeping, and policy development. The new Secretary became the New Zealand representative on AAP Council. The position of President reverted to a more nominal role, with the sole duty of delivering the Presidential Address. The position of Conference Organiser (formerly Secretary) continues as before.

Other Business

From time to time, members have raised concerns about the treatment of philosophy and philosophers both in New Zealand and abroad, usually in the form of a letter of protest. Issues have included the Orr Case in 1964 (‘Notes and News’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 42 (1964): 307), the ‘Belgrade Eight’ in 1976 (‘Notes and News’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 54 (1976): 95–96, 275), and ongoing concerns about the Philosophy Programme at Massey University.

New Zealand Philosophy Conferences 1953 to 1981

New Zealand Philosophy Conferences 1982 to 2009

Australasian Journal of Philosophy

Robert Young

Publication of the Australasian Journal of Psychology and Philosophy commenced in 1923, consequent upon its founding by the professors of philosophy and a couple of professors of psychology from universities in Australia and New Zealand. As the name of the journal indicates, it was intended at the time to cover two disciplinary fields. The founders explicitly acknowledged the difficulties they faced in emulating the specialised journals in existence in the U.K. and the U.S. because they considered their readership likely to be restricted by the size of Australasian universities and the limited range of their disciplinary offerings. Accordingly, there was, for example, no thought of competing with the four leading philosophy journals that had been established late in the nineteenth century and around the turn of the twentieth century, viz., Mind and Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society in the U.K., and The Journal of Philosophy and The Philosophical Review in the U.S.

The first editor, Francis Anderson, emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Sydney, took the time in the inaugural issue in a contribution ‘From the Editor’s Chair’ to explain that, in addition to publishing material of interest to professionals from two separate disciplines, the journal was also intended to be a vehicle for topics of more general interest. On the philosophical side, for instance, there was to be coverage of metaphysical topics but also of concrete problems of social and political ethics. Little was said of the expectations for psychology, but a clue may perhaps be gleaned from the fact that whereas discussions of psychoanalysis featured strongly, the journal only very rarely published experimentally-based material. Among the other points of note in Anderson’s account of the intentions of the journal’s founders was that the journal was not to be an organ for any particular school of philosophical thought. Though this intention has continued to play a role in editorial policies to this day, it is nevertheless fair to say that the journal has published very little material from, for example, philosophical traditions emanating from either continental Europe or Asia.

Despite the thought that the founders clearly gave to how they envisaged the journal’s character, they were fearful that it might fall between two stools in targeting academics and their students from two distinct disciplines as well as the wider community. Fortunately, their fears were not realised. The journal has not only survived but has thrived, and now occupies a distinguished place among the very professional philosophical journals its founders believed it could not hope to emulate.

When Francis Anderson returned to Europe, Tasman Lovell, professor of psychology at the University of Sydney and the only non-philosopher ever to serve as editor, picked up the reins from 1927 to 1934. The range of topics covered during this period remained very much as in the first few years. In fact, the journal continued quite appropriately to be styled The Australasian Journal of Psychology and Philosophy right up until 1947. Even so, the very first issue in 1948 under the new title of the Australasian Journal of Philosophy included a paper by William O’Neil, professor of psychology at the University of Sydney, as well as a review by him of an introductory psychology textbook. (The definite article in the title was removed in the early 1980s.)

In 1935 John Anderson, unrelated to Francis but the brother of the long-serving professor of philosophy at Auckland University, who had also been one of the journal’s founders, assumed the editorship. John Anderson was a towering albeit divisive figure in the discipline, particularly in Sydney, but he maintained a steady-as-she-goes course with the journal until his retirement from the role of editor in 1946. He was, however, not above doing something that a contemporary editor would be loath to do, namely, publishing a significant number of his own papers. Indeed, in his very first year as editor he included four papers he had written. Lest it be thought that some of them may have been accepted by the previous editor, it is worth drawing attention to the advice he gave on the masthead to prospective contributors, namely, that for a paper to be published it had to be received at least six weeks prior to the issue being published (in March, June, September or December, respectively). It would appear that the refereeing process, to say nothing of the publishing process, could be handled much more expeditiously in the 1930s than it can be today.

During the latter part of World War Two the sequence of publishing four issues per year was broken, with the journal for understandable reasons appearing only irregularly. Continuity of publication was preserved, nevertheless, with at least one issue appearing in the years in question. (From 1947 until 1978 the journal appeared in May, August and December but in 1979 it reverted to the original arrangement of four issues per year in March, June, September and December.) When John Anderson’s time as editor came to an end, John Passmore took over for a short period—from 1947 to 1949—before he gave way to the journal’s longest serving editor, Alan Stout, whose term of office ran from 1950 to 1967. These early years after the War were marked by a notable increase in the publication of work by international contributors. There had always been some international contributors. The very first volume, for instance, had included pieces by Bertrand Russell (‘On Vagueness’, a topic that continues to be of interest) and Norbert Wiener (‘On the Nature of Mathematical Thinking’, another topic that remains of contemporary interest). But relatively few non-Australasian contributors published in the journal during its early decades. One result of the growth in numbers of staff and students in Australasian universities was that there was a new and larger contingent of local contributors. But, more importantly, the rising quality of the local contributions became better appreciated abroad and this, in turn, lifted the profile of the journal. In 1950, for example, Gilbert Ryle published an article about John Anderson’s views, views that he considered were insufficiently known outside Australasia. Still, what catches the eye most about the journal in the middle of last century is the emergence of various local philosophers who were destined to become internationally renowned. The published work of some, like Passmore, was already known internationally, but the careers of others, like that of A. N. Prior in New Zealand, were just taking off. The arrival in New Zealand of Karl Popper and in Australia of the likes of Kurt Baier, W. D. Falk, Douglas Gasking and J. J. C. Smart, coupled with the beginnings of the notable careers of New Zealanders such as Hector Monro and Australians such as J. L. Mackie, whose famous ‘A Refutation of Morals’ had been published in the journal in 1946, all helped lift the standing of Australasian philosophy internationally.

By mid century there were many more professional philosophical journals in existence than at the time of the founding of the journal, but the work of those just mentioned and later that of Jonathan Bennett, George Hughes, Maxwell J. Cresswell, Annette C. Baier, U. T. Place, C. B. Martin, D. M. Armstrong, Brian Ellis, John McCloskey and a host of other young Australasian philosophers, most of whom pursued postgraduate study overseas, all helped raise awareness of the quality of Australasian philosophy and, indirectly, of the journal.

Graham Nerlich, one of those who had ventured abroad for further study, edited the journal from 1968 to 1972. He was to be the last Sydney-based editor because the journal moved away from its birthplace for the first time to the Australian National University, Canberra, when Robert Brown assumed the role during the years 1973 to 1977. When Brian Ellis was appointed editor in 1978 the journal moved once more. It remained at La Trobe University after Brian retired as editor at the end of 1989. His successor, Robert Young, served as editor from 1990 until 1997.

In the course of these three decades the journal published the work of a very large number of internationally known philosophers, especially from the U.K. and the U.S. For instance, it frequently included papers by the outstanding American philosopher, David Lewis. The journal, which had once been primarily a vehicle for the publication of the work of Australasian philosophers, had become a truly international journal. But, just as importantly, appreciation for the quality of their work meant that Australasian philosophers were as likely to publish in the leading overseas journals as in the Australasian Journal of Philosophy.

After 1997 a new set of arrangements was instituted for publication of the journal. Negotiations with a number of leading academic publishing houses who had expressed interest in publishing the journal because of its prominent standing—it had come to be generally regarded as one of the top ten professional philosophical journals—culminated in Oxford University Press entering into an agreement with the Australasian Association of Philosophy to publish the journal for five years from 1998 to 2002. The arrangement coincided with the appointment for the first time of three joint editors rather than a single editor, namely, Peter Forrest and Fred D’Agostino (from the University of New England) and Gerry Gaus (from the Queensland University of Technology).

In 2005 Routledge succeeded Oxford University Press as publisher of the journal. Simultaneously, the editorship moved for the first time to New Zealand. Maurice Goldsmith from Victoria University of Wellington took on the role, a role that he relinquished at the end of 2007 when he handed over the reins to Stewart Candlish (University of Western Australia) who will edit the journal until 2012.

From humble beginnings the journal has gone on to play a significant role within professional philosophy. It nowadays publishes only a small proportion of the material that it receives from all over the world, and this enables it to maintain high standards. While the rigorous refereeing processes to which present-day submissions are subject, and the far greater numbers of those submissions, make for an interesting contrast with the way things were during the earliest stages in its history, the soundness of the foundations that were laid at its inception undoubtedly have contributed to the journal’s rise to its present pre-eminence. Successive editors and their support teams have, in consequence, been able to build something far more impressive than the founders were able to entertain.

Australasian Society for Ancient Philosophy

Harold Tarrant

The Australasian Society for Ancient Philosophy (ASAP), according to Benitez (1996), was founded in 1991 by Kim Lycos, Robin Jackson (both then of the University of Melbourne), and Harold Tarrant (then of the University of Sydney). It was designed to bridge the gap between the worlds of philosophy and classics, which has often seemed somewhat artificial to those working on Greek philosophy. Being from the beginning an informal organisation, its history has not been easy to track, and its functioning has been somewhat spasmodic. It has never had formal membership fees, thus making any formal membership list redundant, but did once have modest funds of its own until the death of Treasurer Kim Lycos in 1995, after which it became impossible to access them. No accounts have since been kept. Small events have taken place on a reasonably regular basis, whether at small separate conferences or through sponsoring panels at wider philosophy or classics conferences. Topics have tended to be broad in order to cater for the interests of all those working in ancient philosophy within Australia and New Zealand.

Three of the ASAP’s meetings have resulted in two volumes, the first being Dialogues with Plato (Benitez 1996), which was important for bringing the work done in Australasia to the attention of the international community. The second was a collection on Power, Pleasure, Virtues, and Vices, edited by Dirk Baltzly, Dougal Blyth and Harold Tarrant, and published as a Prudentia supplement volume at the University of Auckland in 2001. This incorporated papers from the ASAP’s 1998 and 2000 conferences, and was distributed to all institutional subscribers of the journal. Since then the ASAP has perhaps been the victim of the increasing success of ancient philosophy, resulting in academics who have been busier (five have been involved in externally funded projects) and more internationally involved. There may be nobody quite certain who the ASAP’s office-bearers are at present, but events happen regardless, with the latest being a three-day conference on Socrates and Alcibiades at Newcastle in December 2008. This had been preceded by ASAP panels at the conference of the Australasian Society for Classical Studies at Christchurch in January 2008. Commendably, the majority of those giving papers would have been from philosophy rather than classics backgrounds.

There has consequently been no shortage of events at which our graduate students have been able to present papers to audiences combining a broad expertise in the area of Greek philosophy, while some of those graduates who attended in earlier times now have books to their credit. Contributions from those who had been graduate students were a significant part of the two conference publications mentioned earlier, while a further two graduate students gave papers at an international conference in Newcastle in 2002, and saw their work ultimately published in Tarrant and Baltly (2006). It is likely that more such initiatives will occur, and that the society will continue to function in a similar way in the near future.

Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy

Robert Sinnerbrink & Matthew Sharpe

The Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy (ASCP) was established in Melbourne in 1995 by a group of postgraduate students dissatisfied with the lack of institutional recognition for Continental philosophy in Australian universities. Its original aims were to provide a broad intellectual forum for academics, writers, artists, and postgraduates researching topics in contemporary European philosophy. The society grew out of the defunct Australian Association of Phenomenology and Social Philosophy (AAPSP), which was established in the late 1970s and held regular conferences until the group’s demise in 1994. The history of the ASCP reflects a common pattern in Australia, with postgraduates and younger academics, supported by established figures (such as Marion Tapper, Rosalyn Diprose, and Paul Patton), actively responding to the institutional marginalisation of European philosophy.

The emergence of the ASCP in 1995 also reflected the growing interest in French poststructuralism (particularly Deleuze) during the 1990s. The original founding committee consisted of two office bearers, Graham Jones (President/Chair) and Paul Atkinson (Treasurer), and several non-office bearing members (Ralph Humphries, Andrew Johnson, Clive Madder, Michael Fagenblatt, Simon Cooper, and Melissa McMahon). This committee gave the new society a constitution, a membership list, a website and a regular newsletter (entitled Virtuosity and edited by Graham Jones). The general running of the organisation later transferred to Melissa McMahon (who also edited two issues of the newsletter) with the assistance of Ralph Humphries, Stephen O’Connell, and Andrew Lewis.

The inaugural ASCP conference was held in Melbourne in 1996 on the topic ‘Time and Memory’ (organised by Graham Jones, Paul Atkinson, and Ralph Humphries). International keynote speakers included Keith-Ansell Pearson, Constantin Boundas, Daniel W. Smith, Brian Massumi and Philip Goodchild, and among the local speakers were Elizabeth Grosz and Paul Patton. A number of the conference papers were subsequently published in issue 8.2 of the University of Melbourne journal Antithesis (edited by Karen Barker, Graham Jones, Tania Lewis and Catherine Dale). ‘Time and Memory’ was followed by ‘Topologies’ in 1997, organised by Graham Jones, Paul Atkinson and Melissa McMahon. International speakers that year included Antonia Soulez, Gary Genosko, and Keith-Ansell Pearson.

The first Sydney conference, ‘Truth and Lies’, was held in 1998 and organised by Melissa McMahon, and included a special panel on the then topical ‘Sokal Affair’. The same year Oliver Feltham and Melissa McMahon organised, on behalf of the ASCP, a special lecture by French philosopher Alain Badiou. Attempts were also made at this time to establish an ASCP journal but these proved unsuccessful. The 1999 Sydney conference (‘To be Done with Judgment’) featured a panel on the history of Continental philosophy in Australia. Remarkably, with minimal financial or institutional support, the ASCP was able to host lively annual conferences organised by postgraduates (Esther Anatolitis, John Dalton, Melissa McMahon, Kirsten MacKillop, Andrew Montin, Tim Rayner, Jack Reynolds, Sean Ryan, and Peter Ujvari) that attracted a host of international speakers. The society’s survival was assisted by the creation of a new ASCP website (<>) maintained by Andrew Montin and Esther Anatolitis, the latter serving for many years as caretaker of the ASCP between annual conferences.

The University of New South Wales ASCP conferences in 2000 and 2005 (organised by Rosalyn Diprose, Catherine Mills, Simon Lumsden, and Andrew Haas) included international keynotes such as Judith Butler, Robert Bernasconi, Wendy Brown, Catherine Malabou, and Diane Perpich. Conferences at Melbourne (2002), University of Queensland (‘Imagination’, 2003), Macquarie University (‘Critique Today’, 2004), Deakin University (‘Trauma, Historicity, Philosophy’, 2006), and University of Tasmania (‘Dialogues in Place’, 2007) included international figures such as J. M. Bernstein, Cheung Chan-fai, Agnes Heller, David Morris, Robert B. Pippin, Julian Young, and Guenter Zoeller, as well as leading Australian names (Max Deutscher, Rosalyn Diprose, Robyn Ferrell, Anne Freadman, Moira Gatens, Fiona Jenkins, Genevieve Lloyd, György Markus, and Paul Patton).

After years of debate, the ASCP became a formalised society, welcomed by the AAP, in December 2007. At this time, its constitution was revised and an ongoing executive committee was established, chaired by Robert Sinnerbrink (Macquarie) and including members from universities across Australia and New Zealand (Simone Bignall, Richard Colledge (Australian Catholic University), Fiona Jenkins (ANU), Jack Reynolds (La Trobe), Matheson Russell (Auckland), and Matthew Sharpe (Deakin)). The ASCP continues to foster interest and research in Continental philosophy, and to contribute to the development of a pluralistic Australasian philosophical community. The 2008 conference was held at the University of Auckland, signalling a new stage in its development within the Australasian region.

Australian Aboriginal Philosophy

Max Charlesworth

There is nothing in Australian Aboriginal cultures that is remotely similar to what we in Western European societies call ‘philosophy’. However, it is possible to extract what might be called a ‘folk philosophy’ from the sophisticated systems of practical knowledge that enabled the indigenous peoples of Australia to live and thrive for many thousands of years in a mostly hostile and isolated environment. It is worth remembering that the Aborigines, who arrived in Australia more than 50,000 years ago, had populated every region of this vast country long before the European ‘invasion’ and had invented elaborate forms of kinship relations, hunter-gatherer economies and systems of dispute resolution. They also developed some 200 variant languages with novel grammatical structures. In many Aboriginal communities today people speak three or four distinct languages, including special languages used in ritual contexts.

This rich body of practical rationality was enmeshed in intricate, quasi-religious bodies of myths, symbols, rites and ceremonies about the coming-into-being of the cosmos, the appearance of humans, human sexuality and reproduction, the lands or terrains the Aborigines occupied, the existence of evil, death and life after death.

A number of anthropologists, for example A. P. Elkin (1891–1975), T. G. H. Strehlow (1908–1978) and especially W. E. H. Stanner (1905–1982), have attempted to show how a rudimentary ‘philosophy’ might be constructed out of that body of mythological material. Thus Stanner has argued that the philosophical gist, so to speak, of the ‘creation’ myths is that the world is meaningful in the sense that it can be understood and shows a ‘beneficial intent’ toward us (Stanner 1998: 2). In other words, the world about us is a cosmos and not a chaos governed by capricious and malevolent powers. In the same way, the philosophical gist of the ‘spirit conception’ myths of indigenous Australians is that the human person is a compound of a body and a non-bodily element and has an intrinsic value. The ‘Dreaming’ stories are also linked with the egalitarian ethos of Aboriginal peoples and their resistance to any form of monarchical structures. In addition, there is a ‘life-force’ animating the world and the terrain or ‘country’ of particular groups, which conserves and renews life in all of its forms and which can, so to speak, be tapped into and drawn upon by those groups.

Again, the folk philosophical correlate of the elaborate mythology of the ‘Dreaming’ is that there is a ‘Law’ or spiritual authority which expresses the sacred traditions of a particular people and imposes them on its members. While it is misleading to make comparisons with Western European moral philosophy, one might say very tentatively that the indigenous peoples of Australia are quasi-Kantians in their reverence for the moral ‘Law’.

Finally, the Dreaming can be seen as an attempt to symbolise the connection of the metaphysical beginning or ‘ground’ of things and the here-and-now world of our experience. Thus, Elkin has suggested that, in cosmological terms, the Dreaming is the ‘ever-present, unseen ground of being, of existence’, and that there are analogies between the mythical thinking of the Aborigines and the Greek pre-Socratic philosophers (Elkin 1969). On the other hand, Stanner is sceptical about this approach and he reminds us that Aboriginal cultures had no literate tradition of the kind that was available to the pre-Socratics and no ‘self-conscious intellectual detachment towards the myths.’ From the Western European side also, Stanner says, our understanding of Aboriginal myths is limited by ‘our abysmal ignorance of the deeper semantics of Aboriginal languages, including the secret languages often used by ritualists’ (Stanner 1998: 22). One might add that we also know very little about the connections between Aboriginal myths and the pictorial art startlingly displayed in the recent Aboriginal paintings by Emily Kngwarreye, Rover Thomas, Paddy Bedford, Linda Syddick and many other indigenous artists.

Quite apart from these interpretations of Aboriginal systems of myths, there have been a number of recent attempts to see the Dreaming in ecological terms akin to the ‘Gaia hypothesis’ of James Lovelock, who views the universe as a living and self-regulating system. Deborah Bird Rose’s book Dingo Makes Us Human: Life and Land in an Aboriginal Australia (1992) is an excellent example of this approach. A similar view of the Dreaming has been proposed by Heather McDonald (2002), who argues that Aboriginal religions are wholly centred upon the land and that it is literally from the land, the terrain on which a particular group lives, that its members derive their spiritual values. Indeed, one philosopher has characterised Aboriginal thinking as ‘geosophical’ (Swain 1993).

It is obvious that the rudimentary Aboriginal ‘folk philosophy’ just described will not help contemporary philosophers in solving problems about human consciousness, the foundations of ethics, or metaphysical issues about ‘what there is’. The question then arises: Why study Aboriginal thinking when it is clearly incommensurable with what we call ‘philosophy’? One answer is that the study of Aboriginal ‘philosophy’ brings home to us that philosophy, as we heirs of the Greeks know it, is a cultural invention or construction that was born out of a set of material and cultural circumstances in the small city-state of Athens some 2500 years ago, and was by good fortune precariously sustained and developed in the Middle Ages through its interaction with Christianity and Islam, and later through its dialectical relationship with the natural sciences. Again, we need to remind ourselves that, like the indigenous Australians, most past civilisations have got along quite successfully and happily without philosophy as we know it.

Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics

Stephen Cohen

The Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics (AAPAE) grew out of a conference on teaching applied ethics, held in Sydney in 1992. Academics and professionals from a number of different backgrounds met together, found a great deal of common ground, profited from their interchanges, and were eager to meet again on a regular basis. The next step was to form an association which could bring together people normally separated by traditional discipline and professional boundaries. Hence the formation in 1993 of the AAPAE, a non-partisan, non-profit national umbrella organisation for all those concerned with applied ethics in its many forms. Each year since its inception, the AAPAE has held an annual conference, and it has published proceedings of each of those conferences.

The AAPAE is an incorporated body administered by an executive committee under a constitution. In addition, a Conference Committee is appointed each year to organise an annual conference. The AAPAE aims to have office bearers from throughout Australia.

The broad purpose of the AAPAE is to encourage awareness of applied ethics as a significant area of concern, and to foster discussion of issues in applied ethics. It provides a meeting point for practitioners from various fields together with academics with specialist expertise. The formal aims of the AAPAE, as stated in its constitution, are: to facilitate networking between individuals and institutions working or interested in the area of professional and applied ethics; to foster community discussion of issues related to professional and applied ethics; to encourage a focus on the teaching of professional and applied ethics; to facilitate the organisation of conferences, meetings and other events in order to fulfill the above aims; and to develop and distribute publications, including a newsletter and conference proceedings.

The primary activities of the AAPAE have been hosting its annual conferences and publishing proceedings of those conferences. The AAPAE maintains a website (<>) and also an active email notes-and-news list to which nonmembers as well as members can subscribe. The AAPAE has also had a close connection with The Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics (published by the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE), Charles Sturt University), with ex officio membership on the Journal’s editorial board, and journal subscription included as part of the AAPAE’s membership package. The AAPAE has also irregularly published its official newsletter, Australian Ethics, and has provided its members with a complimentary subscription to Res Publica (published by CAPPE, University of Melbourne).

Australian Catholic University

John Ozolins

Although philosophy had been taught at the Australian Catholic University (ACU) and its predecessor colleges for many years, it was not until 1999 that the university Senate formally approved the establishment of the School of Philosophy. At the establishment of the university in 1991, philosophers were part of what were known as the Centres for Religion and Philosophy, one in each of the states in which the university was situated, and philosophy units or subjects were to be found in a variety of education, nursing and liberal arts courses. These were generally service units in philosophy of education, health care ethics and introductory units in philosophy concerned with the search for meaning and with ethics in general. A full major in philosophy was developed for the university’s Victorian Division Bachelor of Arts in 1991–92, and in 1993–94 the various units in philosophy offered in different states were consolidated into one major. The ACU major in philosophy developed at that time remains essentially the same today, fifteen years later.

The breadth of the major, covering all areas of philosophy, is a testament to the breadth of philosophical interests of the philosophers at ACU in the early 1990s. The contributors to the original philosophy major, who could be considered the core of what was to become the School of Philosophy, were: Peter Coghlan, whose interests are broadly in English literature and moral philosophy; Peter Drum, with interests in Aristotelian philosophy; John Ozolins, with interests in metaphysics, epistemology and applied philosophy; John Quilter, with interests in applied philosophy, logic and moral philosophy; Bernadette Tobin, moral philosophy and health care ethics; Keith Joseph, moral philosophy and applied ethics; and Mark Wynn (now at University of Exeter), philosophy of religion and history of philosophy.

At ACU on secondment since 1993, Raimond Gaita, best known as a moral philosopher and writer of the memoir, Romulus, My Father, became the half-time foundation professor of philosophy in 1998. In 1995, fresh from Oxford, the philosopher/theologian Anthony Fisher OP (now Bishop Fisher) joined ACU, bringing an interest in medieval philosophy to the university. He departed in 2000 to found the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. Keith Joseph left the university in 1998 and was replaced by Stephen Buckle, well known internationally for his work on Hume. Andrew Gleeson (now at Adelaide University), a moral philosopher, joined the school in 2002, resigning to return to Adelaide for family reasons in 2005.

The ACU philosophers met together face-to-face for the first time in 1994 and resolved to become a national school. They were helped in this resolve, though it was to take another four years, by the decision of the university to establish five National Disciplinary Networks within the Sub-Faculty of Theology. Philosophy was the only network which went on to become a school in a restructured Sub-Faculty of Philosophy and Theology in 1999. John Ozolins was appointed Foundation Head of the School of Philosophy in 1999, a position he still retains.

Although the philosophical interests of the school are broad, the close connection with Theology has nurtured a very distinctive approach to philosophy that always seeks to engage with the Catholic intellectual tradition, but not be dominated by it. The school’s strengths lie in its ability to not only discuss philosophical questions from within a Christian perspective, but also to seek the truth by critiquing that perspective from different philosophical viewpoints.

Australian National University, Faculties Philosophy Program

Richard Campbell

There have been two Philosophy Programs at the Australian National University (ANU): one in the Faculty of Arts and one in the Research School of Social Sciences. To understand why, one needs to know a little of the history of the ANU. When in 1901 the nation of Australia was formed by federating the six states, a capital city was required. The site chosen was Canberra. A new Parliament House was opened in 1926, and the new city began to be built. By 1930 a college of the University of Melbourne was established. Philosophy was first taught in the new Canberra University College (CUC) in 1931, and again in 1933, by the Rev. Eric Owen, the local Presbyterian minister.

In 1934, Quentin Boyce Gibson was appointed as a part-time lecturer to give a course of lectures on Psychology, Logic and Ethics. He had five students. CUC had no need of a philosophy lecturer in 1935, so Gibson proceeded to Oxford, but returned to the CUC in 1945 as the first full-time lecturer in philosophy. Upon his retirement in 1978, his colleagues honoured his foundational role by endowing the Quentin Gibson Prize. He published three books, the last in his 85th year (Gibson 1960, 1961, 1988).

Quite independently, as part of the post-war reconstruction, in 1946 the ANU was also established in Canberra, devoted entirely to research. As Canberra began to grow, it became clear that the CUC would eventually grow into an autonomous university. To many, however, two universities in Canberra seemed a ludicrous proposition, yet the staff of the new ANU were strongly opposed to taking over the CUC. In the end, the impasse was broken by parliament amending the ANU Act to ‘associate’ the CUC, but keeping it distinct. The union was effected in 1960, with the research schools (collectively renamed the Institute of Advanced Studies) continuing to accept only Ph.D. students, and the former CUC accepting students only from undergraduate to Masters levels. Over time, the former college evolved into The Faculties, and from 1970 it too was allowed to accept Ph.D. students. The first Ph.D. written in the department (Small 1974) was awarded in 1974. Since then, there has been a steady stream of successful Ph.D. theses, on a wide range of topics.

In 1957, Kurt Baier was appointed professor, and began building the department. The next ten years were a time of change. Baier did not stay long, and was succeeded as professor by Peter Herbst in 1962. Bruce Benjamin died, while Ray Bradley, George Schlesinger and David Bostock also stayed only a few years before moving on to other positions. They were replaced by Kimon Lycos, Bill Ginnane and Thomas Mautner, and in 1967 by Genevieve Lloyd, Paul Thom and Richard Campbell, all Sydney graduates studying at Oxford.

Herbst was born in Berlin of Jewish parents, and had been sent to school in England. In 1940, he was one of a large number of ‘enemy aliens’ rounded up and shipped out aboard the Dunera, to be interned in Australia. He found a way out of the internment camp by enlisting in the Australian army, and so in mid 1942 he did just that. At the same time he studied philosophy at the University of Melbourne, where he was especially influenced by George Paul, who had been a student of Wittgenstein. Herbst came to the ANU after spending 1956–61 at the University College of the Gold Coast (now Ghana), where he had been promoted to professor.

Although there were always fixed-term appointments, visitors and periods of study leave, after the appointment of Peter Roeper in 1971 the tenured staff continued unchanged until Herbst’s retirement at the end of 1984. The department had a number of notable features. One was the intensity of debate amongst the staff, on a wide range of topics, from metaphysics to contemporary politics, from lifestyle to art. Herbst regularly taught courses in aesthetics, and after his retirement, so did Thom; this interest in the arts generated a number of books (Anderson et al. 1982; Thom 1993, 2000). Animated discussions would frequently rage up and down the corridor, and on the stairs, and in the faculty tearoom, led by Herbst, Lycos and Ginnane. For them, philosophy was not just a subject to be studied and taught; it was a way of life.

Another notable feature of this diverse group was that everyone shared, in their different ways, an interest in the history of philosophy. The attitude of W. V. O. Quine—that there are those who do philosophy and then there are those who do the history of philosophy—was regarded as a travesty. On the contrary, all held in common an understanding of the discipline as growing out of its history, a view shared even by the logicians. This interest is evident in books published during this period (Campbell 1976, 1992; Thom 1981, 1996; Lloyd 1984; Lycos 1987) and in the appointment of Udo Thiel in 1992 (Thiel 1990, 2002). The urge to be comprehensive was also manifest in Mautner’s editing for Penguin A Dictionary of Philosophy (1996).

The staff diverged in this period from what became the paradigm of ‘analytic’ philosophy. In their different ways, everyone was interested in the ‘big questions’. There was also growing interest in so-called ‘Continental’ philosophy. Courses on phenomenology were intermittently offered from the mid 1960s onwards, and on the philosophies of Marx and Freud, Hegel, and twentieth-century European philosophy from the late 1970s onwards. The department became committed to maintaining a balance and an interaction between the ‘analytic’ and ‘Continental’ traditions, a commitment maintained through the appointment of Brian Garrett in the former tradition (Garrett 1993, 1998, 2006; Garrett [ed.] 1993), and successive appointments in the latter of Moira Gatens, Penny Deutscher, and Fiona Jenkins. These three also offered courses in feminist philosophy, which had been introduced by Lloyd in the late 1970s. Bruin Christensen, who has published extensively on Heidegger, and who had a fixed-term appointment during Campbell’s service as Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor in the 1990s, returned to a tenured position.

In late 1986 Neil Tennant, whose main interests were in philosophical logic, was appointed professor, but in 1990 took leave of absence and resigned at the end of 1993, taking up an appointment at Ohio State University. Lloyd was appointed professor at University of New South Wales in 1986, Campbell was promoted to professor in 1993, and Thom likewise in 1997. Ginnane retired and Lycos moved to the University of Melbourne. Thom served a term as dean before moving to Southern Cross University as an executive dean in 2001.

In 2000, as part of a reconstruction of the Faculty of Arts, the department became a ‘program’ in a new School of Humanities. It was headed by Jeremy Shearmur, who had been a research assistant to Karl Popper, and had originally been appointed to teach political theory in the Department of Political Science, before being transferred to philosophy (Shearmur 1988, 1996a, 1996b, 1996c, 1996–97). Campbell and Roeper have now retired, and Thiel moved in 2009 to a chair in Salzburg. Jenkins became Head of the depleted program.

Fruitful interaction and joint appointments developed, however, with the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE), a partnership between the Australian National University, Charles Sturt University and the University of Melbourne, funded by the Australian Research Council. It constitutes the largest concentration of philosophers working on applied philosophy and public ethics in the world.

In 2010 the basic structure of the ANU, described above, is to be radically altered. An arrangement of disciplinary ‘Colleges’ cutting across the Faculties/Institute divide, introduced in 2008–09, is to be consolidated by fully integrating all parallel programs. Relevant here is that the new College of Arts and Social Sciences is to be organised into a Research School of the Humanities and the Arts and a Research School of Social Sciences. A School of Philosophy is to be formed within the latter. It is not yet clear how complete this integration of the two philosophy programs will be; both teaching-and-research and research-only positions will be maintained, and initially at least staff rooms will not be moved to a single location. How these changes will affect the style and character of the two programs remains to be seen.

Australian National University, History of Ideas Unit

Robert Brown

The History of Ideas Unit developed in 1961–63 from the historical interests of some members in the departments of Social Philosophy, Law, History, and Political Science, at the Australian National University (ANU). A chair in the History of Ideas was established in 1974. Eugene Kamenka was appointed to it and he served in that position until his death in 1993 when the History of Ideas Unit was disbanded.

Born in Berlin, Kamenka was the son of Russian parents who arrived in Sydney when he was aged nine and spoke only Russian and German. When he graduated from Sydney Tech High School he came first in English in the State leaving examination, and then became a student at the University of Sydney in the philosophy department led by John Anderson. From him, Kamenka learned to connect ideological views and social attitudes to their philosophical foundations. This gave his thought a systematic character that was displayed both in the organisation of the History of Ideas Unit and the subjects—the major political, legal, and social ideas of the past two centuries—that its members pursued. The History of Ideas Unit also enriched the university by attracting a stream of the ablest visitors to conferences, by leading seminars, and by giving public lectures. Kamenka also made the work of the unit known by giving lectures at overseas universities, and by his frequent participation at conferences in many countries in Europe, Asia, and North America.

In the 1970s the staff of the History of Ideas Unit was augmented by the addition of S. L. Goldberg, then professor of English at the University of Melbourne and previously professor of English at the University of Sydney; by Robert Brown, then editor of the Australasian Journal of Philosophy and a member of the Department of Philosophy at the ANU; and by Knud Haakonsen, a prominent historian of seventeenth and eighteenth-century moral and legal philosophy. The interests of these three men considerably expanded the program of the History of Ideas Unit. In addition, the historian, F. B. Smith and the philosophers John Passmore and Stanley Benn became associated with the work of the unit. The result was that in the 1970s visitors as diverse as Karl Wittfogel from the University of Washington, Quentin Skinner from Cambridge University, and John Plamenatz from Oxford came to the Unit. By the late 1980s the many visitors included: Stefan Collini (Cambridge), James Moore (Concordia), Alan Ryan (Oxford), Robert Byrnes (Indiana), D. Castiglione (London), N. T. Phillipson (Edinburgh), Isaiah Berlin (Oxford), M. Richter (Hunter College), and L. Feur (Virginia). These distinguished men—women were not well represented in this discipline—helped introduce the work of Australians to overseas scholars and to each other.

Both these groups published a good deal during their stay in the unit. Kamenka himself led the way, publishing more than six hundred papers. Visitors supplied not only several hundred papers but many dozens of books, some of them now standard works, yet all these productions were merely one part of the History of Ideas Unit’s contribution to Australian intellectual life.

Australian National University, Research School of Social Sciences

Robert E. Goodin, Frank Jackson, Michael Smith & Daniel Stoljar

In 1946 the Australian National University Act established the university, and by 1952 four Research Schools—of Social Sciences, of Pacific Studies, of Physical Sciences and of Medical Research—had been established. Philosophy, in the form of a Department of Social Philosophy headed by Professor Percy Herbert Partridge, was a foundation part of the Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS). Partridge continued as professor of social philosophy until his retirement in 1975, also being dean of school from 1961 to 1968.

John Passmore began his career with the RSSS as reader in philosophy in 1956. He was appointed professor of philosophy in 1958, becoming Head of Department in 1962. His books include the seminal A Hundred Years of Philosophy (Passmore 1957; 1985) and Man’s Responsibility for Nature (Passmore 1974; 1980). During this time John Harsanyi and Stanley Benn were senior fellows, and Robert Brown, Edwin Curley and Eugene Kamenka joined as research fellows. All proceeded to distinguished careers, Harsanyi being awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1994, jointly with John Nash and Reinhart Selten. Curley, a distinguished historian of philosophy, was a senior fellow in philosophy by the time of his departure in 1977; he is now James B. and Grace J. Nelson Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In 1969 Kamenka was appointed professorial fellow and head of the separate History of Ideas Unit in RSSS; Brown joined that Unit in 1973, where he served as senior fellow until his retirement in 1985. Brown, a philosopher of social science, was for many years editor of the Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Benn, best known for Social Principles and the Democratic State with R. S. Peters (Benn and Peters 1959) and A Theory of Freedom (Benn 1988), was appointed professorial fellow in philosophy in 1973, a post he held until his retirement in 1985.

Passmore appointed Richard Routley (later known as Richard Sylvan) to a senior fellowship in 1971, a position he held until his death in 1996. Robert Meyer, who came as a postdoctoral fellow in 1974, remained in the program for two decades, rising to professor. Meyer and Sylvan were the foundation of a world-class logic group within the program. The standing and achievement of this group was such that it ultimately became a self-standing entity, the Automated Reasoning Project (ARP). ARP later became a founding department of a new research school at ANU, the Research School of Information Sciences and Engineering.

In December 1976, J. J. C. Smart took up the chair and became Head of the Program, in which capacity he served for nearly a decade. Smart is with D. M. Armstrong the most famous architect of materialism in the philosophy of mind and staunch defender of utilitarianism in moral philosophy; his books include Philosophy and Scientific Realism (Smart 1963) and, with Bernard Williams, Utilitarianism For and Against (Smart and Williams 1973). Philip Pettit was appointed to a professorial fellowship in 1983. His appointment was initially in the Director’s Section, with a remit to work with individuals across a range of academic programs—a role he filled with great distinction. He was made Professor of Social and Political Theory by special appointment in 1989, a position he held until 2002 when he left for Princeton University, where he is now Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values. During his time with the school Pettit wrote many influential books including The Common Mind (Pettit 1993) and Republicanism: A Theory of Freedom and Government (Pettit 1997a).

Frank Jackson succeeded Smart in the chair, becoming Head of the Philosophy Program in 1986. Author of the much cited ‘Epiphenomenal Qualia’ (Jackson 1982), Jackson went on to publish many important books and articles, culminating in his John Locke Lectures, From Metaphysics to Ethics (Jackson 1998b). Robert Goodin, whose work straddles political theory, public policy and applied ethics, was appointed to a professorial fellowship in 1989; founding editor of the Journal of Political Philosophy, Goodin’s books include Utilitarianism as a Public Philosophy (Goodin 1995). Michael Smith was appointed to a senior fellowship in 1995 after having spent a year with the program on secondment in 1993, during which time he wrote his influential book, The Moral Problem (Smith 1994). Goodin went on to become professor of philosophy in 1992 and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Social & Political Theory in 2005, and Smith became professor of philosophy in 1997.

Smith took over as Head of the Philosophy Program in 1998 when Jackson began a four-year term as Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies. The cross-disciplinary Social and Political Theory group acquired full program status in 1999, and Goodin and Pettit’s appointments became joint with it, until 2004 when Social and Political Theory was folded back into the Philosophy Program. In that process the Philosophy Program acquired another professor: Geoffrey Brennan, author of many books including The Reason of Rules, with Nobel laureate James Buchanan (Brennan and Buchanan 1985), and editor of Economics and Philosophy. In 2007, Brennan moved to the Economics Program, RSSS.

Martin Davies was appointed professor of philosophy in 2000. One of the founding editors of Mind and Language, Davies works in philosophy of mind and language, epistemology and cognitive science; he is also well known for his foundational work with Lloyd Humberstone on two-dimensional semantics (Davies and Humberstone 1980). In 2001, Kim Sterelny, the author of Thought in a Hostile World: The Evolution of Human Cognition (2003) and editor of Biology and Philosophy, took up an appointment as professor in the program, half-time with Victoria University of Wellington until 2009 when he became full-time at RSSS. Peter Godfrey-Smith, author of Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science (Godfrey-Smith 2003), accepted a half-time appointment as professor of philosophy; the other half of his time was spent as visiting professor at Harvard University, where he moved full-time in 2006. Also in 2001, philosopher of mind Daniel Stoljar, who went on to write Ignorance and Imagination (Stoljar 2006), was appointed to a senior fellowship, which he took up in 2002.

Davies took over as Head of Program in 2004 when Smith left to become professor of philosophy at Princeton University. In that same year Jackson became Director of RSSS. Also in 2004, David Chalmers, author of the celebrated The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory (Chalmers 1996), joined the program on a Federation Fellowship, setting up an ARC Research Centre for Consciousness; and Alan Hájek, a specialist in probability theory and decision theory, joined the program from Caltech as professor of philosophy. The approach to philosophy that is typical of Chalmer’s work in The Conscious Mind, of Jackson’s in From Metaphysics to Ethics (1998b) and of Jackson, Pettit and Smith’s (2004) in their collaborations collected in Mind, Morality and Explanation became known as ‘the Canberra Plan’.

In 2006 Davies moved to Oxford to become Wilde Professor of Mental Philosophy and Goodin assumed the headship. Stoljar was made professor of philosophy and in 2007 became Head of Program as Goodin assumed responsibility for an ANU-wide initiative on ‘Public and Private Reasoning’. Frank Jackson stepped down as Director of the RSSS, and took up visiting appointments at Princeton and La Trobe, though he continued to spend significant periods at the ANU. 2007 also saw the RSSS appoint a new professor of philosophy, Jonathan Schaffer, who has made seminal contributions across various topics in metaphysics and epistemology, including the important paper ‘Trumping Preemption’ (Schaffer 2000). The program also appointed, for the first time, two junior continuing members of staff: Susannah Schellenberg, a philosopher of perception trained at the University of Pittsburgh, and Nicholas Southwood, a moral and political philosopher trained at ANU.

The Philosophy Program regularly hosts a number of workshops and conferences, some thematic and others focussing on the work of individual philosophers such as Ned Block, Michael Bratman, Tyler Burge, John Gardner, Tony Honoré, Philip Pettit and Robert Stalnaker. In 2003 it hosted a series of occasional Tanner Lectures on Human Values by Martha Nussbaum; that was the second to be held in Australia, the first series also having been held two decades before at ANU. The program holds an annual Jack Smart Lecture in honour of J. J. C. Smart and the Social and Political Theory group within the program hosts another annual lecture in honour of John Passmore. Jack Smart lecturers have included Frank Jackson, Peter Singer, David Lewis, Jerry Fodor, Thomas Scanlon, Simon Blackburn, Timothy Williamson, Ruth Millikan, Philip Kitcher and Brian Skyrms. John Passmore lecturers have included Quentin Skinner, Alan Gibbard, James Buchanan, Jeremy Waldron, Anne Phillips, Sheila Jasanoff, Jane Mansbridge, Edna Ullmann-Margalit and Larry Temkin. The Smart and Passmore Lectures are among the highlights of the program’s academic calendar, just as the Coombs tearoom is a famous feature of its intellectual life on a day-to-day basis.

Many honours have been bestowed on members of the Philosophy Program over the years. Passmore, Jackson and Goodin were all elected Corresponding Members of the British Academy, and Passmore of the American Academy of Arts and Social Sciences and the Royal Danish Academy as well. Passmore gave the Tanner Lecture in Cambridge for 1981. Jackson gave the 1995 John Locke Lectures at Oxford; and in 2006 Jackson gave the Blackwell Lectures at Brown University. Davies gave the Carl G. Hempel Lectures at Princeton in 2003 and the Chichele Lectures at Oxford in 2006. Goodin gave a Miliband Lecture at LSE in 2002 and the Dewey Lecture at Chicago in 2008. Also in 2008, Sterelny won the Jean Nicod Prize and delivered the Jean Nicod Lectures, which are delivered annually in Paris by a leading philosopher of mind or philosophically oriented cognitive scientist. In 2004, Sterelny’s Thought in a Hostile World won the Lakatos Prize awarded for an outstanding contribution to the philosophy of science, widely interpreted, in the form of a book published in English during the previous six years. Smith’s The Moral Problem won the 1994–95 Book Prize of the American Philosophical Association for the best philosophy book published in the previous two years by a younger scholar. Goodin’s New Handbook of Political Science, co-edited with Klingemann (Goodin and Klingemann 1997), was an Outstanding Academic Book for 1997 by Choice, the official journal of the American Association of College and Research Libraries. Hájek’s paper ‘What Conditional Probability Could Not Be’ (Hájek 2003) won the 2004 Article Prize of the American Philosophical Association, awarded every two years to the author of the best article published in the previous two years; and Schaffer won the same prize in 2008 for ‘Knowing the Answer’ (Schaffer 2007b). The Philosopher’s Annual selected Hájek’s ‘Waging War on Pascal’s Wager’ (Hájek 2003) as one of the ten best articles in philosophy in 2003, and Schaffer won the Australasian Journal of Philosophy Best Paper Prize in 2008 for ‘From Nihilism to Monism’ (Schaffer 2007a). Stoljar gave the Weinberg Lecture at the University of Michigan in 2004. Chalmers was awarded the Stanton Prize by the Society for Philosophy and Psychology in 2004, and the Barwise Prize of the American Philosophical Association for contributions to philosophy and computing in 2008. His work has been the subject of conferences in Buffalo (1999) and Cologne (2006). In 2010 Chalmers will deliver the John Locke Lectures, the second member of the program to do so.

Research in the Philosophy Program has been bolstered over the years by a long succession of outstanding shorter-term staff members and multitudes of visiting fellows. Among the former are Fred D’Agostino, Karen Bennett, Helen Beebee, David Braddon-Mitchell, Andy Egan, Peter Forrest, Gerald Gaus, Richard Joyce, Karen Jones, Knud Haakonssen, John Hawthorne, Richard Holton, Rae Langton, Michael McRobbie, Peter Menzies, Karen Neander, Graham Oppy, L. A. Paul, Adam Pautz, Huw Price, Elizabeth Prior, Michael Ridge, Laura Schroeter, Michael Stocker, and Michael Tooley. Complete lists of philosophers who have worked or visited at RSSS since 1983 can be viewed at RSSS (2009).

Australian Philosophers in Ghana (1949–61)

Jane Grant

‘People were rather surprised when we announced our going and our destination’, Gwen Taylor wrote of husband Dan Taylor’s acceptance of the chair of philosophy at the recently established University College of the Gold Coast (Ghana) in 1949. ‘We were interested’, she explained, ‘in view of India and Pakistan just becoming independent and the awful incursions of the South African apartheid thugs and in confirming our views that colour of skin was irrelevant to intelligence and just maybe being a bit of help’ (email to author, 27 October 2007).

‘Dashing, left, larrikinish … slightly unkempt’, as then philosophy student Brian O’Shaughnessy recalled, Taylor was decidedly ‘not a gent’ (O’Shaughnessy interview with author, 14 October 2007). A senior philosophy lecturer during the intellectually charged post-war years at the University of Melbourne, Taylor was a highly respected and charismatic figure. ‘Everyone went to Dan’s first-year lectures’, Mary McCloskey remembered, and most would return later in the day for his second-year lectures, which took up where the earlier one left off with the opening line ‘as I was saying’. Wide ranging lectures relating contemporary fiction to Greek philosophy would at times spill over into heated debates with the students. McCloskey has a strong memory of a young Don Gunner at the back of the lecture hall clambering down over the seats in order to ‘get closer to the argument’ (McCloskey interview with author, 6 November 2007).

The decision to go to Africa may have surprised people, and in the context of the post-war Australian intellectual and artistic exodus to Britain it was unorthodox. And yet, as Taylor was well aware, the Gold Coast maintained close intellectual ties to Britain. Established in 1951 as a consequence of the Asquith Inquiry into the colonies and higher education, the University College of the Gold Coast had a ‘special relationship’ with the University of London. Most of the members of the academic and administrative staff were white, and until 1961 when the University College was finally granted autonomy, examinations were set and degrees conferred by the University of London. And as the Gold Coast had already established a Technical College, the University College was free to deliver a classical education. In the late 1950s this ‘special relationship’ would be seen by many African nationalists as the long arm of colonialism, but for Taylor—in the process of establishing a traditional department of Western philosophy in a far flung British colony—the close relationship would prove very useful.

Further connections with the British academies had been forged through George Paul in Oxford. A student of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Paul had been an influential figure during the years he taught at University of Melbourne, introducing his students to the late work of Wittgenstein. ‘Because of George Paul, but especially because of the calibre of ex-Melbourne students turning up in Oxford (some of them Kurt Baier, Michael Scriven, Alan Donagan, Gerd Buchdahl, A. C. (‘Camo’) Jackson, Peter Herbst), Dan was welcomed by Ryle, Hampshire, Austin, John Wisdom of Cambridge, and indeed by the Oxford Register’ (Taylor, 2007). One of Taylor’s innovations as professor was to establish a visiting lectureship for a term a year, and invitations were accepted by Michael Dummett, Anthony Quinton, Bernard Williams and George Paul. ‘They were at first quite astonished by the students’ keenness to discuss philosophical issues’, Gwen Taylor recalled, ‘and willingness to question a teacher (especially one with the authority of a white skin)’.

Taylor had not calculated on such high enrolments in philosophy, and his wife Gwen, also a philosopher, agreed to teach the first-year students until another lecturer could be employed. In 1951 he appointed former University of Melbourne student Len Grant, who came ‘with very good recommendations from Camo Jackson, Gasking and old Boyce Gibson himself’ (Taylor, 2007). As O’Shaughnessy remembers him, Grant, a Wittgensteinian, was ‘brainy but neurotic’ and had completed his M.A. under Camo Jackson. They ‘talked in a language of their own’. O’Shaughnessy also recalled that it was the ‘fundamental questions’ which Grant put to him that helped shape his thesis. Grant would spend two years in Ghana ‘lecturing and conducting tutorials on the Oxford pattern in Logic, Ethics and History of Philosophy,’ but would resign in 1953 ‘for personal reasons’ (Letter from Len Grant to T. M. Owen, 12 August 1960). Taylor’s second appointment, however, drew from a wider Australian circle. At a time when the rivalry between the universities of Melbourne and Sydney was at its most intense, Taylor’s decision in 1952 to appoint Peter Gibbons, a University of Sydney graduate and protégée of John Anderson, displayed an unusually open mind.

The students not only proved themselves keen, but also highly talented, as attested to in a letter Gilbert Ryle wrote to Taylor thanking him ‘for those gifts you sent us’ (quoted by Taylor, 2007). William Abraham would be the first African to be appointed a Fellow of All Souls, returning to Ghana to teach philosophy and serve in President Nkrumah’s first Cabinet, before leaving for the U.S. and a chair at the University of California Santa Cruz. Supervised in Oxford by Gilbert Ryle, Kwasi Wiredu would become a pioneer in the decolonisation of African philosophy, and later be appointed to a chair in philosophy at the University of Florida.

Dan Taylor’s last appointment, in 1955, was another former University of Melbourne student, Peter Herbst. A German Jew who was fortunate enough to be at boarding school in England when Hitler came to power, Herbst was one of a number of future Melbourne philosophers that included Baier and Buchdahl who arrived in Australia as ‘enemy aliens’ on the Dunera. Herbst also went to Africa with ‘certain political ideals in mind’, and as he would later tell journalist Stewart Harris he saw his job ‘as interpreting the European philosophical tradition’ to people outside of it. ‘We believed … hoped it was not necessary to destroy the culture, unlike the missionaries’ (Peter Herbst interviewed by Stewart Harris, 21 February 1994, National Library of Australia).

In 1960 Herbst was appointed professor when Taylor left to take up the chair at Otago University in New Zealand. Herbst’s interests, however, were beginning to turn from philosophical inquiry to anthropology and African history. At this point he also developed a keen interest in photography, producing a remarkably intimate record of jazz trumpet player Louis Armstrong’s 1957 tour to Ghana. Africa, he said, had a profound effect on him, but while some of his colleagues assimilated into the African way of life he did not ‘want to abandon my European/Anglo-Saxon heritage, retaining my identity, the image of myself which I had formed before’ (Herbst 1994).

Herbst, as colleagues Thomas Mautner and Richard Campbell have commented, ‘opposed the fashionable egalitarianism of the levelling-down kind, also called anti-elitism’ (Peter Herbst Memorial Service Program, ANU, 2007). In many ways, Herbst was the apotheosis of the high European culture which Nkrumah, with his program of Africanisation, wanted to free Ghana. A clash was inevitable, with Herbst beginning to see the socialist government as ‘an increasingly arbitrary and dictatorial regime which wanted a university compliant with an agenda to transform Ghana into the leader of a pan-African revolution’ (Herbst 1994). In 1959 the situation came to a head over academic freedom. ‘We were invited by Nkrumah to teach a course in African ideology beginning with Marxism, but the interpretation we placed on Marxism was not pleasing to the government. We were roundly abused and felt quite endangered. Increasingly people we knew … Africans … were being arrested’ (Herbst 1994).

Claiming the University College had become ‘a breeding ground for unpatriotic and antigovernment elements’, in 1960 Nkrumah set up a Commission to establish the guidelines for an autonomous university which would ‘cease being an alien institution and to take on the character of a Ghanaian university’ (Botwe-Asamoah 2005: 190). Herbst was selected by the university to be on the committee and met regularly with the Minister and senior advisors. The Commission, according to Herbst, was a charade. After a year of deliberation, they learned that all serious decisions about the nature of the new university had already been made by the government. In protest Herbst resigned, but possibly he realised he had little choice: in May 1961 the entire academic staff were sacked.

The journey to Ghana of these Australian philosophers in the lead up to and immediate aftermath of Independence is a fascinating if unacknowledged footnote in Australia’s cultural history. Their legacy, overshadowed as it is by the politics of post-colonialism, is less easy to evaluate. No doubt for many, as Gwen Taylor so fervently hoped, they were ‘a help’. And yet, however keen men such as Herbst were to distance themselves from the missionaries, the tradition they so vigorously extolled was predicated on a form of cultural excision which was not dissimilar. Reflecting on these years, Wiredu commented:


I finished my undergraduate studies in Philosophy in Ghana in 1958, just a year after our independence from Britain. In the whole of the period of philosophical study not a single word was said about African philosophy, nor indeed was the phrase ‘African philosophy’ ever mentioned. In fairness, my teachers cannot be blamed for this. They were hired to teach us western philosophy, and that is what they did. (Kresse 1996)


Australian Society of Legal Philosophy

Tony Blackshield

The Australian Society of Legal Philosophy (ASLP) was formed in 1960, initially as an outreach activity of the Department of Jurisprudence and International Law at the University of Sydney. The department provided the society’s resources and also its office bearers, including Julius Stone (1907–1986) as the society’s patron, Ilmar Tammelo (1917–1982) as its founding president, and Tony Blackshield as its founding secretary. Other members of the department making important contributions included Lyndel Prott (from 1963 on) and Upendra Baxi (from 1967 on).

Initially the society met in private homes five or six times a year. A written paper and one or more written responses were circulated in advance; at the meeting the authors spoke to their papers as a basis for general discussion. In the early years an elaborate summary of the discussion was circulated after each meeting. Incomplete sets of these early papers can be found in most Australian law libraries.

Most papers were later revised for publication—often in the Archiv für Rechts-und Sozialphilosophie, the journal of the Internationale Vereingigung für Rechts-und Sozialphosophie, of which the ASLP became the Australian section. In 1963 a special supplement to the Archiv was devoted to ASLP papers (Australian Studies in Legal Philosophy, edited by Tammelo and Blackshield together with Enid Campbell). The European links were established through Tammelo, who had taught in Heidelberg before migrating to Australia in 1948.

The society was formed in part to enable recent graduates in law to maintain an interest in legal philosophy, often through expanded versions of seminar papers given in their final L.L.B. year. Among them were several future judges including John Bryson, David Hodgson, Robert Austin, John Goldring, and most notably Michael Kirby. Older members included the philosopher John Burnheim, the criminologist Gordon Hawkins, the historian Henry Strakosch, and Roman Catholic priests like P. M. Farrell, W. J. Uren, and James Esler. A particularly active member was Otto Bondy (1904–1976), who had worked in Vienna in the 1930s with Hans Kelsen (1881–1973), was interned in Australia after fleeing the Nazis, and eventually practised as an accountant in Bondi. Through the ASLP he was able to return to Kantian legal philosophy and the publication of scholarly papers. Also giving papers were a steady stream of international visitors, notably including René Marcic (1919–1971), who died tragically in an air crash on his way home after his visit to Sydney.

In 1972 Stone retired; Tammelo returned to Europe to take up Marcic’s former chair at the University of Salzburg; and Baxi returned to India, later to be Dean of Law and subsequently Vice-Chancellor at the University of Delhi. For some years the future of the department remained in doubt, and its younger members struggled to keep the ASLP alive. But in 1975 Alice Tay (1934–2004) was appointed as professor of jurisprudence. Assisted by her husband Eugene Kamenka (1928–1995), she was able to reconstitute the society on a wider national basis. Since 1976 its papers have appeared in a regular journal, the Bulletin of the Australian Society of Legal Philosophy.

Automated Reasoning Project

John Slaney

Origins: 1975–1985

From the mid 1970s, the logic group in the Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS) at the Australian National University (ANU) became increasingly distinct from the rest of the Department of Philosophy. Though strongly encouraged by John Passmore and especially J. J. C. Smart, who believed that excellence should be fostered wherever it takes root, the logicians clustered around Richard Routley (later Richard Sylvan) and Bob Meyer formed a cohesive group with a distinctive non-classical—at times anti-classical—outlook. By 1977, for instance, the logic group had its own weekly seminar series, quite separate from that of the Department of Philosophy. At that time, it led the world in research into Relevant logic and paraconsistency, and did pioneering work on the broader topic of substructural logics. Meyer’s important philosophical contributions on truth and on propositions circulated underground in the ‘Yellow Series’ of unpublished technical reports from this time. A series of fortunate visits and short-term appointments, including those of Chris Mortensen, Ross Brady, Graham Priest and Newton da Costa, also helped build up the group and shape its agenda. The book Relevant Logics and their Rivals (Routley et al. 1982) contains not only a version of the group’s manifesto but also a sample of its spirit and style. Several of the Ph.D. students at that time, notably Errol Martin, Paul Pritchard (a computer science student), Michael McRobbie, John Slaney, Steve Giambrone and Paul Thistlewaite, followed Meyer’s lead in investigating the potential applications of computing to non-classical logic. Over the period 1980–1985 there was particular interest in the decision problem for relevant logic. Thistlewaite, supervised by Meyer and McRobbie, developed the theorem prover KRIPKE specifically to aid in the search for a proof of undecidability.

The First Automated Reasoning Project: 1986–1991

Eventually, the logic group was split from the Department of Philosophy and set up as a five-year project, the ‘Automated Reasoning Project’ (ARP) under Michael McRobbie’s leadership. Meyer joined the ARP, but Sylvan did not. Martin and Slaney returned to Canberra to work in the new group, and Rod Girle was recruited from Griffith University in 1988. Ed Mares, Igor Urbas and Mark Grundy joined the group later. The ARP enjoyed strong programmer support in the form of Peter Malkin, John Barlow and Zdzislav ‘Gustav’ Meglicki, who replaced Malkin in 1989. Ironically, the motivating decision problem was solved (in the negative) by Alasdair Urquhart on a visit to Australia before the ARP could actually commence. This was one of several negative results which have effectively marginalised the Anderson-Belnap Relevant logics: their complexity is extreme (at least hard); there is no good interpolation theorem for logics such as R; relevant arithmetic is not closed under material detachment and so fails to include the classical theorems in its extensional part. This last result, by Meyer and Harvey Friedman, was perhaps the most profound technical achievement of the ARP and helped to direct its research away from the preoccupations of the former RSSS logicians. Nonetheless, the group pushed ahead with research not only in philosophical logic and in mechanised deduction for non-classical systems, but also in classical first-order theorem proving. Again, a series of visiting fellows were important catalysts for the work: Joerg Siekmann, Hans-Juergen Ohlbach, Kit Fine, Hajime Sawamura, Chris Brink and Ewing ‘Rusty’ Lusk were prominent among them. McRobbie and others were engaged in research not only into logic and automated reasoning but also into high-performance computing and especially parallel computing. The Centre for Information Science Research (CISR) was set up during this time, and was also headed by McRobbie and co-housed with the ARP. An agreement between the ANU and Fujitsu (Japan) specified automated reasoning as one of the areas of research collaboration. This, together with the ARP’s involvement in the ‘Fifth Generation Computing’ project in Tokyo, brought the group into close contact with Japanese research, resulting eventually in significant contributions to artificial intelligence.

Interlude: 1991–1994

When the ARP as part of RSSS came to its scheduled end in 1991, the group did not completely disperse but remained as an interest group within RSSS (where Meyer had his position) and CISR (which employed McRobbie and Slaney). In 1993, the group was formally reconstituted as an academic unit within CISR. Greg Restall joined the new ARP as a postdoctoral fellow funded by the ARC, and another postdoctoral fellowship awarded to the group allowed the recruitment of Rajeev Gore in 1994. The research focus continued to shift from non-classical logic towards artificial intelligence, and the group was able to survive despite its tiny size by means of vigorous participation in international collaborative projects, notably with Japanese and European partners. The Logic Summer School, which remains an annual event, dates from this period.

The Second Automated Reasoning Project: 1994–2002

In 1994 the ANU set up a new Research School of Information Sciences and Engineering, with the ARP as one of its departments. CISR was subsequently dissolved, but the ARP continued, though it remained painfully small until after 1999 when it was merged with the Computer Sciences Laboratory and was able to grow once more to near the size of the old RSSS project. Restall moved to Macquarie University in 1995 (and subsequently to the University of Melbourne) and Meyer was forced to retire in 1997, after which he remained as professor emeritus. However, Slaney and Gore stayed to form the core of the RSISE department. Matthias Fuchs spent three years with the group from 1997, and was followed by John Lloyd, Jen Davoren, Katalin Bimbo, Sylvie Thiebaux, Yannick Pencole and Tomasz Kowalski. Research on substructural logics, non-classical proof theory and paraconsistency remained on the ARP’s agenda, but the interest in artificial intelligence (deduction, constraint satisfaction, planning, search, diagnosis) increased, as did the strand of work in formal methods for software engineering.

Postlude: Developments since 2003

The National Centre of Excellence in Information and Communication Technology (NICTA) was set up in 2002 and recruited its first research staff in 2003. The ANU logic group formed the nucleus of NICTA’s Logic and Computation Program, one of three such programs in the applied logic area. Gore, Kowalski and Slaney were seconded into Logic and Computation, while Pencole and Thiebaux similarly joined the Knowledge Representation and Reasoning Program. NICTA recruited vigorously during 2003–2005, though the focus of its research is on computer science and its applications rather than on logical theory for its own sake. Gore and Kowalski moved back into the university after some years of association with NICTA, though Slaney remains involved, and Thiebaux is now (2009) the Director of NICTA’s Canberra laboratory. NICTA researchers, including Peter Baumgartner, Michael Norrish, Jinbo Huang and Andreas Bauer, hold adjunct university positions. The reorganised School of Computer Science within the ANU now has Logic and Computation as one of its constituent research groups. This group, headed by Gore, continues the research interest in automated reasoning and proof theory and sees itself as the heir to the ANU’s philosophical logic tradition.

A Companion to Philosophy in Australia and New Zealand

   by Graham Oppy, N. N. Trakakis