Research

Philosophers at the University of Wollongong work primarily in contemporary and applied philosophy, conducting research on problems such as the impact of biotechnology on humans and the environment, the ethical implications of global poverty, the limits of free speech, the relationship between mind, cognition, language, and the brain, and the nature of scientific investigation and explanation.

The excellent results and outcomes of our research are reflected in the Australian Research Council 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia, receiving a rating of 4, indicating that our research is 'above world standard'.

90%

of UOW disciplines that were assessed in 2018 were rated 'At', 'Above' or 'Well above world standard', based on results at the 4-digit FOR code level.

Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) 2018

Top 150

UOW ranks among the world's top 150 universities for Arts and Humanities.

Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings by subject 2021

Major Research Projects

Dr Patrick McGivern was awarded a funded Fellowship at Durham’s Institute of Advanced Study, from October to December 2016. While in Durham, he conducted research on concepts of scale in science and the role of scale in understanding scientific modelling and explanation. He also organised a workshop on problems of scale in science, and delivered a public lecture and a seminar at the Institute of Advanced Study. This research previously took him to the University of Pittsburgh to work on problems of emergence and multi-scale modelling. Through a UOW International Links project, Dr. McGivern visited Lingnan University, Hong Kong in 2017 to collaborate with Professor Darrell Rowbottom to investigate new ways of understanding the role of models in scientific reasoning. He is currently involved in the John Templeton Funded Georgetown Active Materials Project, as an invited co-organiser of a summer school and workshop on issues at the intersection of philosophy, physics and biology. He is preparing to publish work relating to these projects in special issue of the journal Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, laying the ground for a book project, tentatively titled The Significance of Scale.

Dr. Keith Horton co-organised the first Global Climate Change Week (GCCW) in October 2015: 301 academics from 51 countries registered for it 92 activities were registered on the GCCW map and many other GCCW activities also took place. GCCW was featured in an article in the journal Nature: Climate Change. 14 GCCW events were organised at UOW, including community forums, a talk by John Hewson and a seminar on women and climate change. A campaign for UOW to divest from fossil fuels was established by staff and students at UOW and is ongoing. In addition, 2,498 academics from 75 countries signed an Open Letter calling for world leaders meeting in Paris to do what is necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change. Prominent signatories include Noam Chomsky, Naomi Oreskes, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Michael E. Mann, Ursula Oswald Spring, Bill McKibben, David Suzuki, and Peter Singer. The Open Letter was featured in an article in The Guardian. A second Global Climate Change Week was organised in October 2016: It was once again a great success. It hosted 14 events in Wollongong and many more around the world.

Sydney Philosophy of Psychology Group

Researchers from UOW, Macquarie University and University of Sydney pool resources to host an annual meeting of staff and postgraduate researchers working on topics in philosophy of psychology and psychiatry, normally at the Crommelin Biological Station, Pearl Beach. This yearly event provides an opportunity for post-graduate researchers to give short talks and receive feedback from both their peers and experts in empirically-informed philosophy of psychology, mind and cognition. The inaugural meeting was held in April 2016 and a successful follow-up ran in May 2017.