Rob is the organiser of the PEiPL network. He is also a professor of philosophy at La Trobe University in Melbourne, having taught over the past 25 years in North America at the University of Alberta (2000–2017), the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (1996–2001), and Queen’s University (1992–1996). His recent work on philosophy for children and with Alberta’s eugenics survivors in building the EugenicsArchive.ca leave him wondering what 50+ philosophers in Melbourne together with the communities they serve might do.
The PEiPL people come from anywhere and everywhere, and have a variety of interests to match. They have already formed several working groups to develop initiatives aimed at promoting and supporting philosophy within Victoria. Whilst these groups share overarching goals, each has its own focus.
PEiPL: Philosophy and the Sciences
This group takes up issues at the interface of philosophy and the various sciences. This includes the physical, biological, medical, and social sciences. Whilst there are obvious philosophical dimensions to experimental and medical ethics, there is much more to Philosophy and the Sciences than that. It is concerned with the roles, rights, and responsibilities of those engaged with climate change; the relationship between business, politics, and research; the role that scientific evidence plays in reasoning; and a great deal more.
PEiPL: At the Margins
At the Margins explores ways in which philosophical activity and knowledge can constructively infuse the lives of individuals with limited exposure to philosophy due to their social marginalisation. In turn, there are many ways in which the diversity of their involvement enriches philosophy. This group considers ways in which philosophy can challenge existing injustices, as well as the ways in which philosophy itself can be improved.
PEiPL: Philosophy in Schools and Beyond
There is a great deal of philosophical activity undertaken in Victorian schools, both as part of the curriculum, and in virtue of various extra-curricular activities. This group looks to build on existing programs running in schools, and aims to adapt successful models to non-school environments. Importantly, philosophy in schools is recognised to be not just the study of academic philosophy, but is a way of asking questions and understanding the world – and utilising philosophical thinking benefits students within, and outside of, their classrooms.
There is a long history of association between the Arts and Philosophy. This group seeks to create and connect communities to participate in, and reflect on, various art forms. The myriad of galleries and other artistic spaces in Victoria offer a great deal of opportunity to broaden philosophy’s horizons, and the Artphil group is exploring how this might be done.
PEiPL: Philosophy Out of School
In Canada, students have, for a number of years, been able to take part in Eurekamp, a philosophy summer camp aimed at children ages 5–14. This group is working towards adapting this idea for use in Victorian and Australian contexts. Developing such a program offers students the unique benefits to engaging with philosophy outside of the classroom.
PEiPL: Philosophy and Education
In a time where educational discourse is dominated by NAPLAN tests, exams, and ongoing consideration of school funding, this group seeks to develop thematic spaces that heighten philosophical dimensions to educational theory and practice. These have the potential to alter Australia’s educational landscape, both by interrogating education policy through a philosophical lens, as well as by developing critical tools for educational practitioners.
All other contributors are viewable through the searchable People menu item above. You can search for interests, names and affiliations.