Bronwyn Finnigan

I am a continuing Lecturer and Deputy Head of the School of Philosophy at the Australian National University (ANU). I work in philosophy of action, ethics, and epistemology in Western and Asian philosophical traditions. My current research focuses on the nature and function of rationality (and related notions of intentionality, subjectivity and normativity) in agency and ethical agency. I am particularly interested in skilled action and non-deliberative or unreflective modes of ethical agency.


I have a BA (University of Melbourne), MA (University of Sydney) in Philosophy and completed my PhD (University of Auckland) in 2012 with Rosalind Hursthouse and John Bishop. My doctoral thesis researched the nature of phronēsis (practical intelligence) in non-deliberative modes of ethical conduct and was examined by Garrett Cullity and John McDowell. I have several works in progress that emerge from this thesis. One relates practical intelligence to recent debates in epistemology and philosophy of language concerning know-how; one attempts to rationally reconstruct from Aristotle the idea of conceptualised perception as a minimal form of rationality; one attempts to negotiate the debate between Dreyfus and McDowell on the nature of phronēsis; and a forthcoming article that poses a trilemma for contemporary neo-Aristotelian and Heideggerean views on the nature of phronēsis (2014).

I have studied Indian and Tibetan Buddhist thought in India, Nepal, USA, Switzerland and Japan. I co-authored
Moonshadows: Conventional Truth and Buddhist Philosophy (Cowherds, Oxford University Press, 2011) which focuses on issues of metaphysics, theories of truth, justification and ethics in Madhyamaka Buddhism. I have published articles on the nature of action and ethical agency that emerge from recent engagements with Indian Pramānāvāda, Classical Chinese Confucianism and Daoism (2011a; 2011b); on meta-ethical problems that arise when Buddhist ethics is contextualised in Pramānāvāda epistemology (2010-11); and a forthcoming article that investigates moral justification in the context of Pr
āsaṅgika Madhyamaka. I have also co-authored a book chapter on spontaneous action in martial arts which engaged the Japanese Zen Buddhist views of Takuan (Finnigan and Tanaka 2010).


     Email: bronwyn[dot]finnigan[at]anu[dot]edu[dot]au
     School of Philosophy
     Coombs Building 9
     Australian National University
     Canberra ACT 0200