John Burgess

BA, MA (Melbourne), DPhil (Oxford)

Email: jburgess@uow.edu.au
Phone: (02) 4221 4069

John Burgess is a Research Fellow in the Philosophy Program and works principally in the following areas: Practical Reasoning and Formal Logic; Bioethics and Environmental Ethics; Theoretical Ethics; Philosophy of Language; Epistemology and Metaphysics. He is currently exploring modes of flexible delivery for the teaching and evaluation of practical reasoning.


John Burgess publishes in each of the areas in which he teaches but mainly in Philosophical Logic, Bioethics and Environmental Ethics, Meta-ethics and Metaphysics. He is particularly interested in drawing case studies from (especially but not exclusively) applied ethics for theoretical problems he is trying to solve in the more theoretical areas of interest. He currently has a rather large project going in which he is trying to show that various supposedly pathological features of language and thought - false theories, vagueness, ambiguity, arbitrariness in definitions, circularity in definitions - are not just tolerable but are essential tools if our language and thought are to do the jobs we want of them. Recent and continuing applied work has been on the development of sentience in human foetuses, competing definitions of life and death and on genetic engineering. He has also written in defence of indeterminist theories of vagueness and dispositional theories of both colour and value and on the variety of ways in which false theories and myths manage to mimic the truth.

Last reviewed: 30 May, 2018