Philosophy research interests

Browse the research interests of staff in the Philosophy programme.

For detailed research areas and lists of publications please see the profiles of individual staff.


The Philosophy Programme at Victoria University of Wellington has a broad range and depth of research skills. Academic staff are actively involved in the following research areas:

Ethics and Political Philosophy

The University has a strong and varied programme of courses in ethics and political philosophy. In 2010, the internationally-recognised Leiter Report described the University as “probably the best place to study value theory in Australasia.” The Philosophy Programme has fruitful links with Political Science and International Relations.

Experimental Philosophy

Experimental philosophy (or X-phi) is an exciting new movement in philosophy. Practitioners employ scientific methods to help answer philosophical questions. Active areas of research include conceptions of pain and consciousness, causal attributions, happiness and well-being, the philosophical temperament, and the demographic makeup of philosophy.


The University has a proud history in logic. There are several logicians in the Philosophy Programme: Max Cresswell, who, together with George Hughes, is best known for his introductions to modal logic and technical work in that field. Ed Mares's interests include relevant logic and the relationship between logic and probability

Metaphysics and Epistemology

Many of the Philosophy faculty pursue research on topics falling under the heading of metaphysics and epistemology. Both Cei Maslen and Justin Sytsma are interested in the nature of causation; Stuart Brock and Richard Joyce have each published numerous articles on fictionalism.

Philosophy of Art

Courses in philosophy of art and aesthetics are offered at all levels. Topics centre around what art is, how we interpret it, why we value it, and how it is related to our social, political, and ethical values. Sondra Bacharach’s research interests concern the ontology of art and contemporary art, but she likes to explore interdisciplinary issues (past students have worked on topics like sentimentality and kitsch, street art, Butoh and Japanese aesthetics, and computer art).

Philosophy of Science

Areas of interest include the philosophy of biology, philosophy of social science, philosophy of psychology, the application of biological theory to problems in ethics, and on moral problems that have arisen (and will arise) from the introduction of new biotechnology.