I was born in Sydney, but grew up in South Auckland, NZ. I completed a Bachelors and Masters at the University of Auckland, majoring in Philosophy and History, and it was also at Auckland that I had my first academic position as a Junior Lecturer in Philosophy. I completed my PhD at the ANU in Canberra under the supervision of Jack Smart and Philip Pettit. I was appointed to a Tutorship at the University of New England in 1984 (part way through my PhD candidature). In 1989 I took up a position at Murdoch University. I spent time at Heidelberg University in 1997-98, before taking the Chair at the University of Tasmania in 1999 where I have remained ever since. I have also held adjunct and honorary positions at RMIT University (In architecture) and Latrobe University (in Philosophy). I have been lucky enough to have known the two philosophers who have been most directly influential on my work: Donald Davidson and Hans-Georg Gadamer.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
I am trained as a philosopher and, originally, as a historian also, but I engage with architecture, the arts, literature, geography, medicine, sociology and other disciplines. I see myself as primarily a hermeneuticist (though I am also seen as a phenomenologist), and that orientation probably reflects my early studies as a historian. I have taught across almost the entirety of the philosophical curriculum from the history of philosophy to logic, from ethics to the metaphysics, from political theory to the philosophy of mind. As well as my academic research and teaching, I have also worked as a ethics consultant for public and private institutions, and have often contributed publicly to debates over issues of public importance.
We have large heritage garden and house in the Huon valley in Tasmania which require considerable attention and so take up much of my spare time.