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Department of Philosophy

Explore fundamental and important questions
We use the tools of logic and reason to analyse the complex social and material nature of the world and our place in it.

Philosophy is about learning to think rigorously for yourself so you can defend your positions with considered reasons and cogent arguments. The study of philosophy improves an individual's ability to speak and write clearly, logically and convincingly. These broad skills, along with capacity for independent thought, are highly transferable, powerful aids to success in any profession.

In philosophy we ask deep, often counter-intuitive questions, and don’t mind if they lead to further, even more difficult questions. We encourage critical reflection and debate.

We are highly regarded for our research and teaching as well as our breadth and diversity. The Department of Philosophy at the University of Sydney is home to leading thinkers in a wide range of areas of philosophy, and we offer a rich and varied array of units taught by dedicated and enthusiastic scholars whose outstanding research informs their teaching at every level.

Our study offering

Philosophy formulates and explores questions of fundamental importance to us as human beings.  For example: What is consciousness? Are we free agents? What makes an action right? What makes an action wrong? What is truth, and how can we come by it? How should we form beliefs about the world? Is it possible for machines to think? Studying philosophy will equip you with a disciplined capacity for critical analysis and dramatically enhance your communication skills.

Undergraduate 

*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Visual Arts, as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degrees.  

Research 

Our research

  • Aesthetics, art, literature and film
  • Philosophy of science (biology and cognitive science)
  • History of philosophy
  • Logic
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of mind
  • Epistemology
  • Decision theory
  • Philosophy of mathematics
  • Philosophy of law
  • Philosophy of language 
  • Pragmatism
  • Moral, social and political philosophy

Research centres

Anderson Visiting Fellowships

Anderson Fellowships are bestowed through a bequest of the estate of John Anderson (1893-1962), influential Australian philosopher and Challis Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney from 1927 to 1958.

The Anderson Bequest funds travel and expenses up to $17,500, consisting of $2500 airfare and $2500/week living allowance. Anderson Fellows will be provided with office space, library borrowing rights and other resources.

Anderson Fellows are expected to be present at the University of Sydney for the duration of their Fellowship and to make a substantial contribution to the academic life of the Department of Philosophy through collaborative research and contributions to the teaching program.

For further information, please contact our Research Support Officer.

  • 2019: David Bronstein, Carrie Figdor
  • 2018: Amie L Thomasson, Lisa Shapiro
  • 2017: Anna Marmodoro, Natalie Stoljar
  • 2016: Nikk Effingham, Eric Watkins

Our people 

  • Professor Helen Beebee
  • Professor Douglas Moggach
  • Professor Philip Pettit, FASSA, FAAAS, MRIA, FBA, FAHA
  • Professor Huw Price, FBA, FAHA
  • Professor Paul Thom, FAHA
  • Associate Professor John Grumley
  • Associate Professor David Miller
  • Dr Peter Bowden
  • Dr Brett Calcott
  • Dr Ryan Cox
  • Dr Timothy Dean
  • Dr Luke Fischer
  • Associate Professor Michael McDermott
  • Mr Tibor Molnar
  • Dr Edward Spence
  • Dr Roderick Sutherland
  • Dr Omid Tofighian

Our seminars

Philosophy seminars are held in The Muniment Room (S401) in the Main Quadrangle.

  • Wednesday seminars
    1–2:30pm each Wednesday
    followed by afternoon tea in the Philosophy Common Room (S413).

  • Current Projects seminars
    3–4:30pm each Thursday.

Click here for more information

Held in The Muniment Room (S401) in the Main Quadrangle from 3–4.30pm each Thursday.

Speaker and topic information.

Sign up for the Sydphil mailing list and receive notifications of upcoming seminars.

Our events

For a list of our upcoming events, please visit the University's What's On calendar.

4–5 February 2019

Venue

CCANESA Boardroom, Madsen Building F09
Eastern Avenue, The University of Sydney

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Speakers

  • Peter Harrison (Queensland)
  • Stephen Gaukroger (Sydney)
  • Alan Chalmers (Sydney)
  • John Schuster (Sydney)
  • Keith Hutchison (Melbourne)
  • Laura Kotevska (Sydney)
  • Luciano Boschiero (Campion)
  • Catherine Abou-Nemeh (Victoria, Wellington)
  • Carla Rita Palmerino (Radboud University, The Netherlands)
  • Raffaele Pisano (Lille, France)

ConvenorPeter Anstey

Download conference program
Click here for conference registration

11-13 June 2019

Venue

CCANESA Boardroom, Madsen Building F09
Eastern Avenue, The University of Sydney

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Confirmed speakers

  • David Bronstein (Aristotle)
  • Marije Martijn (Proclus)
  • Riccardo Strobino (Avicenna)
  • Calvin Nomore (medieval logic)
  • Paul Thom (medieval logic)
  • Jim Franklin (early modern mathematics)
  • Deb Brown (Descartes)
  • Laura Kotevska (Pascal, Arnauld and Nicole)
  • Kirsten Walsh (Newton)
  • Peter Anstey (early modern theories of principles)

Convenors: Peter Anstey (Sydney) and David Bronstein (Georgetown)

Click here for conference registration

Department Chair

Professor Nick Smith

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