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Graham Oppy

The main aim of this book, which is written by a philosopher for other philosophers, is to take them to task for their failings. As Andrew Gleeson writes in his preface, ‘overall the book is a case study in the dissociation of a certain way of doing philosophy from its subject matter’.

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This volume, which complements a collection of public lectures by Australian and New Zealand Philosophers, comprises separate interviews with fourteen prominent Australasian philosophers. Many general readers will be unfamiliar with the interviewees, the exception being Peter Singer, whose international reputation transcends academic philosophy. However, the subjects, and indeed many other Australasian philosophers not included here, have made a significant contribution to the discipline at an international level. Indeed, a good number of Australasian philosophers, including some of those interviewed here, hold, or have held, chairs at some of the top universities in the world. Although it is not widely appreciated in Australia and New Zealand, the antipodean philosophical community punches above its weight internationally. This is something both to reflect on and to celebrate.

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Early in Murray Bail’s novel The Pages (2008), we find the following commentary on the very idea of philosophical research being undertaken in Australia:

How anyone can believe that Sydney could produce in its own backyard a philosopher of world significance or even minor significance shows how little understanding there is of the co ...