Philosophy and Parenting

I’ve recently wrapped a project I’ve been working on with the ABC’s Philosopher’s Zone looking at Philosophy and Parenting. It’s spread all over the ABC, so I thought I’d consolidate it here for easy access.

The main body of work was a four-episode radio series on parenting. Each episode features two interviews with different philosophers on the topic. There were also a few media appearances and articles connected to the opening episode: Should I become a parent?

Read on for the full body of work!

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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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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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Names, Actors, and Storytellers

This essay was shortlisted for the New Philosopher Essay Prize

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet;

So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d

Retain that dear perfection which he owes

Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,

And for that name which is no part of thee

Take all myself.

What’s in a name? Shakespeare’s star-crossed lover once asked. What matters isn’t what a rose is called, but how it smells – something the name has no power over. Juliet is right to belittle the significance of names with regard to roses, but her real point is to suggest that the names of people – Capulets, Montagues – are equally unimportant. However, pleasant though the poetry is, the sentiment is mistaken. The difference between roses and people is in no small part the fact that human names do matter: they name a unique self.

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A Call to Work? Vocations and Intrinsic Value

This essay was shortlisted for the New Philosopher Essay Prize

The relationship between work and flourishing has been a vexed one in moral thought. Aristotle insisted, for instance, that time spent in leisure was essential to living the good life and that the ultimate life (eudaimonia) would consist entirely in leisurely contemplation of philosophy. By contrast, religious traditions – in particular, Christianity – insist that work is a necessary activity of a life well lived. For this latter claim to be true we would need to establish work as a source of moral value.

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