2016 AAP Media Prize

Last night in Melbourne, Susan Wolf presented the annual Alan Saunders Lecture as part of the Australasian Association of Philosophy’s annual conference. Part of the evening’s formalities also included announcing a range of annual prizes awarded by the AAP. I was fortunate enough to be awarded one of them – the AAP Media Prize, awarded for the best public philosophical work published in a calendar year.

I was unable to attend in person – I’ve placed a moratorium on interstate travel until after the birth of my son, who is due on Sunday. So I wanted to take the opportunity to offer my thanks to the AAP for having such a prize and to the many people who have supported and encouraged my work in public philosophy.

I also thought I’d offer a single, but important point here about public philosophy and my experiences ‘outside the ivory tower’.

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The Moral Equivalent of Anzac?

A century on from the Gallipoli landing, perhaps it is time to consider whether Anzac Day still serves moral purposes in the way that it once did. Does our relationship to Anzac Day and the Anzac legend need to change? Is it still an effective form of thanks to our warriors? How useful is the Anzac role model as a tool in the development of moral character?

As former Australian Army Officer James Brown’s book Anzac’s Long Shadow argues, civilians, ADF personnel, and war itself have all changed since the Gallipoli landing, and yet our rituals have remained more or less the same. If April 25th is to feature on the national calendar in another century’s time, perhaps our relationship Anzac needs to develop further.

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Meaning in a Time of Progress

This essay was shortlisted for the New Philosopher Essay Prize

Imagine if God was a manager (and if you don’t believe in God, imagine also that one exists). You are called into God’s office to give a progress report on your life thus far. Supplying progress reports is standard practice in many business environments: why not in life as well? What would you say? How would you give an account? What counts as progress?

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Moral hyperopia: Tony Abbott can see the forest, it’s the trees he’s overlooking

When Prime Minister Tony Abbott was asked about dwindling support for his own party – ironically by ardent supporter Miranda Devine – last week, he responded that the people of NSW’s South Coast gave no indication that they believed his government to be in “diabolical trouble.” Instead, Abbott insisted that his party are “only ones with a plan for our country’s future.”

One wonders what the folks of Sussex Inlet think now.

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