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Philosophers at ANU

Last modified 1 Jan 70
Philosophy Program
Research Grants


Members of the Philosophy Program became eligible to apply for competitive grants awarded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) in 2002. Below is a list of all ARC grants held by Program members and administered within the Program. Lists of earlier grants are maintained in the archives. Additional ARC grants are held in conjunction with scholars from other academic departments and universities. Full details of all ARC grants with which Program members are associated can be obtained by contacting the Program's Administrator.

Current ARC projects

The Evolution of the Social Brain: How Emotions and Moral Judgement Interact in the Generation of Cooperative Behaviour
Dr RJ Joyce; Prof K Sterelny; Prof F Cowie (Caltech)

Understanding the psychological forces that underpin human interactions is a necessary step to knowing how to improve those interactions. Comprehending the complex interplay of emotions and moral judgements lying behind decision-making in the social sphere will help explain such things as corruption, risk-taking, domestic violence, and political affiliation. Such knowledge can guide the design of effective social policy, and is vital for a realistic educational strategy. This project will strengthen Australia's excellent reputation in philosophy, bring here leading scholars from diverse fields, build international research networks, and in particular forge an ongoing partnership between the ANU and the California Institute of Technology.

The Responsibilities of the Affluent to Address Global Poverty
Dr. CH Barry (RSSS, ANU) Dr. GE Overland (CAPPE/Oslo) Prof. Thomas Pogge (CAPPE/Yale)
2009 : $79,000
2010 : $90,000
2011 : $120,000

In this project we will investigate the duties of people in wealthy countries to address global poverty. Two principles are commonly invoked in support of the view that we—the affluent in the developed world-—have weighty moral reasons (heretofore referred to as ‘responsibilities’) to address global poverty. The first is based on the idea that because the poor are in severe need and we are in a position to alleviate such need at moderate cost, we have responsibilities to do so—the principle of assistance. The second is based on the idea that because the poor are in severe need and we have contributed or are contributing to their need we have responsibilities to alleviate it—the principle of contribution. The aim of this project is to explore the meaning, moral significance, and some practical implications of these two principles.


The Mathematical and Philosophical Foundations of Probability
Prof Alan R Hajek

We find probability wherever we find uncertainty: virtually everywhere in our lives. Probability is essential to almost every technology. High-stakes decisions are routinely made on the basis of probability judgments and risk assessment-for example, in engineering, medicine, agriculture, environmental management, urban planning, public policy, public health, the law, and in our national defence. And some of those decisions have been made badly because of poor probability estimates-witness the 1986 space shuttle disaster. Our current methodologies for using probability are inadequate. This project will make an important contribution to the collective enterprise of enhancing our understanding of probability and its myriad applications.

The High-Level Structure of Consciousness DP0774147
Prof David Chalmers (RSSS,ANU); Prof Ned Block (NYU); Prof Susanna Siegel (Harvard)

The study of consciousness is often regarded as the last great frontier for science. Work in this area has flowered recently, but it has focused on low-level aspects of consciousness, such as visual perception of color and shape. We aim to discover the high-level structure of consciousness, which involves attention, self-consciousness, and the unity of consciousness, among other things. The project involves international collaboration in a three-way interaction between philosophy, cognitive science, and phenomenology. This work has potential social benefits, for example in understanding attention in distracted drivers, and potential medical benefits, in understanding breakdowns of the unity of consciousness in patients with mental illness.

The Contents of Consciousness
Prof David Chalmers (RSSS, ANU)
Award: Federation Fellowship for 5 years from 2004
Original institution: University of Arizona
Primary research field: Philosophy of Cognition

The Federation Fellowship project aims to develop a research centre that will be a world leader in the study of consciousness. The focus will be the question: How does human consciousness represent the world? The science of consciousness has seen explosive growth internationally in the past decade, but the relationship between consciousness and representation is not well understood. Through local and international collaboration, researchers will develop a framework for understanding the representational content of consciousness and will analyse experimental work at the leading edge of neuroscience and cognitive science. The project aims to improve understanding of consciousness, of representation and of associated neural and cognitive mechanisms. Potentially, this could lead to social and medical benefits such as contributing to ethical and legal considerations associated with patients in coma.


Belief singular versus beliefs plural
Prof FC Jackson (RSSS, ANU), Dr D Braddon-Mitchell (Sydney); Prof PR Godfrey-Smith (Princeton)
2006 : $60,000
2007 : $35,000
2008 : $35,000
2009 : $55,000
2010 : $25,000

Research on the brain and how it represents the environment has the potential to reconfigure our ordinary conceptions of belief and rationality. This project explores the impact of the changes and their implications.