The Philosophy and the History of Ideas research group is the largest centre in Melbourne focusing specifically on pluralist philosophy and the History of Ideas. In a period widely criticised for its loss of historical memory, PHI is founded on the conviction that we are the legatees of rich philosophical traditions, from Europe and around the world, that remain worthy of study, both for their own sake, and in relation to our continuing and emerging concerns. Its members draw on key works and figures in the history of ideas in order to critically examine a number of concepts that are central to our contemporary thinking about ourselves, our world, and how we ought to live. They also explore how various philosophical ideas in European and global traditions have shaped wider cultures in different periods and, in turn, been shaped by wider institutional, economic, political, and social forces.
PHI aims to facilitate dialogue between researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds with a view to developing new connections between the history of philosophical thought, abstract thinking about concepts, theoretical reasoning about the world and its contents, and practical reasoning about individual and collective activity. To this end, the group hosts a fortnightly research seminar as well as several focused workshops throughout the year.