Research Projects

Reinventions of Philosophy as a Way of Life

Matthew Sharpe is involved in an ARC funded, three year project commencing June 2014 on “reinventions of philosophy as a way of life.” The project involves a monograph and an edited book series on modern thinkers who have tried to reanimate the classical idea of philosophy as a way of life, as well as a profession, way of thinking, arguing, or writing, and translations of key texts.

Online Interactions with the Dead
Patrick Stokes is working on a project (2014) funded by the Deakin Central Research Grants Scheme which considers increasingly common practices of online memorialisation and commemoration, as well as other ways in which the phenomenal and practical presence of the dead is mediated through emerging online technologies. These practices will be considered in the light of a range of questions in contemporary philosophy to do with the extent of personal identity and the existential and moral status of the dead. The project aims to determine the potential significance of these emerging online practices for these ongoing philosophical questions.

The fate of philosophical treatments of the first-person perspective within naturalism

The aim of the project, being developed by Jack Reynolds and Patrick Stokes, will be to highlight the ineliminability of the first-person perspective, but also sketch out what sort of methodological role the use of phenomenology and philosophical treatments of the first-person perspective have today, given the dominance of various forms of naturalism that emphasise the importance of scientific treatments that tend to emphasise the third-person perspective. While agreeing that such inquiry should be compatible with weak forms of methodological naturalism, which emphasise the need for continuity with the results of relevant empirical sciences, the result is not a deferential conception of the relationship between philosophy and science, while also not a radical distinction in kind. Central themes to be examined will include experiential matters concerning the lived-experience of time and their relevance for personal identity; the interaction of first-and third-personal perspectives on given objects (including selves and persons); and how we are to understand the difference first-person perspectives make to the world.

Group Actions and Group Intentions: An Expressive Account of Collective Agency

This project, currently being developed by Sean Bowden, will offer a novel account of what it is for a collective or group to be the agent of an action. Moreover, because actions depend on the intentions of their agents, the project will also clarify what it means for a collective to act intentionally. Collective intentions are often thought to be reducible to the prior intentions of the individuals making up that collective. But this cannot be correct, for what the collective does is not up to the individual. Using resources taken from contemporary ‘expressive’ accounts of agency, this project proposes to resolve this problem.