The History of Philosophy Program
Choosing A Coherent Pathway
The Department of Philosophy offers students the opportunity to study the History of Philosophy in a unified program that brings together the expertise of a variety of renowned researchers and lecturers specializing in ancient, early modern, and 18th and 19th century philosophy. This program is very highly ranked: it was listed in the top fifty of the Philosophical Gourmet Report in the fields of early modern 17th century philosophy, early modern 18th century philosophy and 19th century continental philosophy.
By studying the History of Philosophy, students learn to see the broader picture of central philosophical debates, investigate the development of ideas over time, and understand better why today we discuss philosophical problems the way we do. The program’s individual units of study are designed to intersect with one another in order to facilitate deep engagement with the material and a positive learning experience by building up on previously acquired knowledge and skills. This means that each unit focuses on a specific philosophical problem (i.e. philosophy of mind, epistemology, political philosophy) within a specific historical period and at the same time integrates elements taught in other units of study.
Regular conferences, workshops and reading groups with international visitors complement the courses on offer and provide students with the opportunity to engage with innovative research. We have built strong networks with philosophers in the UK, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Japan, China, Canada, New Zealand and the US and encourage our students to participate in international exchange programs to study abroad.
Coordinator: Anik Waldow,
Studying History of Philosophy
While first-year units of study have particular elements that focus on the history of philosophy (e.g. the “Self” stream in PHIL 1013 Knowledge, Society and Self), a wide range of second- and third-year units of study are specifically designed to deliver an understanding of philosophical problems in a historical context. Honours seminars in the history of philosophy enable students to enter into more specialized debates and independent research.
- philosophy of mind, knowledge, and metaphysics
- political philosophy.
Many of the units combine elements of the different strands. The rationale for this is to enable students to see connections between ostensibly disparate questions, such as “What is consciousness?”, “What makes and action right or wrong?”, “How should we live?”.
LIST OF UNITS 2014
- PHIL2629 Descartes and Continental Philosophy
- PHIL2627 Philosophy and Psychiatry
- PHIL2648 German Philosophy, Leibniz to Nietzsche
- PHIL2612 History of Ethics
- PHIL2626 Philosophy and Psychoanalysis
- PHIL2649 The Classical Mind
- PHIL2651 Bodies and Passions
- The Natural Law Tradition from Aquinas to Barbeyrac
Dr Tom Dougherty
- Early Modern Persons and Consciousness
Dr Anik Waldow
- Images of History: Kant and Benjamin
Visiting professor, Richard Eldridge, Swarthmore College, USA.
- Click here for descriptions of these seminars
- Click here for timetable information
Collaboration with Other Departments and Centres
Philosophy relates in profound and important ways with other disciplines: it draws on results from other fields and often explains their fundamental principles and problems. Thus, philosophy examines the role of history in our thinking, searches for connections between scientific worldview and our commonsense beliefs and explores the limits of our intellect in science, religion and everyday life. The History of Philosophy program is committed to interdisciplinary exchange and closely collaborates with:
- Units for the History and Philosophy of Science
- Classics and Ancient History
- Gender and Cultural Studies
- Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science
- Medieval and Early Modern Centre
If you choose to enroll in units of study of these departments, please contact the Philosophy Undergraduate Coordinator, David Macarthur: , or the The Honours co-ordinator Luke Russell: to ensure that you receive the credit points.
Lecturers and Researchers in the History of Philosophy Program
|Professor Peter Anstey
Peter Anstey specialises in early modern philosophy. He is currently an ARC Future Fellow working on 'The nature and status of principles in early modern philosophy'. In addition he runs a blog on early modern experimental philosophy and is editing (with Lawrence Principe) John Locke's writings on natural philosophy and medicine.
|Professor Rick Benitez
I am interested in the different ways that philosophical problems are expressed and approached throughout history and what that can tell us about philosophy in general. I am particularly interested in the origins of Western philosophy in Greece, and the connections between Greek philosophy and Greek science, myth, literature and religion.
View full research profile here
Dr Tom Dougherty
|Professor Moira Gatens
Moira Gatens has research interests in the following broad areas: social and political philosophy, feminist philosophy, early modern philosophy, and philosophy and literature. Much of her most recent research focuses on Spinoza and George Eliot.
View full research profile here
|Professor Stephen Gaukroger
Stephen's research is centred on a long-term project on the emergence and consolidation of a scientific culture in the West in the modern era. Two volumes have already appeared: The Emergence of a Scientific Culture: Science and the Shaping of Modernity, 1210 - 1685 (2005) and The Collapse of Mechanisim and the Rise of Sensibility: Science and the Shaping of Modernity, 1680-1760 (2010).
Stephen is currently in the early stages of work on the third volume of a study of this question, The Naturalisation of the Human and the Humanisation of Nature: Science and the Shaping of Modernity, 1750-1825. This will bring the project to the half-way stage.
See full research profile here
Associate Professor John Grumley
Dr David Macarthur
Dr Dalia Nassar
Professor Paul Redding
|Professor Paul Thom
Paul Thom is a specialist in the history of logic from ancient times to the nineteenth century. He is currently finishing a critical edition of Robert Kilwardby's commentary on Aristotle's Prior Analytics, and is working on a history of normative theories of reasoning.
Dr Anik Waldow
Visitors in 2014
- Richard Eldridge (Swarthmore College)
- Yahei Kanayama (University of Nagoya, Japan)
- Vili Lähteenmäki (University of Helsinki)
- Sophie Roux, (École Normale Supérieure, Paris, France)
- Anthony Hooper
- Lucy Smith