Bronwyn Finnigan

I am a Senior Lecturer and Australian Research Council Early Career Research Fellow in the School of Philosophy at the Australian National University (ANU). I work in metaethics, moral psychology, philosophy of action and philosophy of mind in Western and Asian philosophical traditions. I am currently working on two related research projects funded by the Australian Research Council: a study of the meta-ethical foundations of Buddhist ethical thought, and a critical examination of Buddhist moral psychology with an interdisciplinary focus on the nature of fear, the regulatory function of trusting relationships, and the nature of self and subjectivity as it bears on psychological well-being.


I have a BA (University of Melbourne), MA (University of Sydney) and PhD (University of Auckland) in Philosophy under the direction of Rosalind Hursthouse and John Bishop and examined by Garrett Cullity and John McDowell. My doctoral thesis researched the nature of phronēsis or practical intelligence involved in pre-reflective modes of ethical response. The first chapter was published as Phronesis in Aristotle: Reconciling Deliberation and Spontaneity and was short-listed for the 2015 Annette Baier Prize.

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, OUP, 2011) and am principally responsible for a chapter that analyses Madhyamaka Buddhist two-truth theory in terms of Carnap's internal/external schema (2011) and providing an analysis of ethics for Madhyamaka (2011). I have published articles on the nature of action and ethical agency in the context of Indian Buddhist Pramānāvāda, Classical Chinese Confucianism and Daoism (2011a; 2011b); and on meta-ethical problems that arise when Buddhist ethics is contextualised in Pramānāvāda epistemology (2010) and Madhyamaka metaphysics (2015, 2018). I have written articles on Buddhist arguments for idealism (2018), the reflexive self-awareness of consciousness (2018), animal welfare and vegetarianism (2017), recent debates about whether Buddhist ethics is consequentialist or a form of virtue ethics (2017), and an article on the moral psychology of fear and trust in the context of Śāntideva's Bodhicaryāvatāra (2019). I have co-authored a book chapter with Koji Tanaka on spontaneous action in martial arts (2010) and have a forthcoming piece on karma, moral responsibility and Buddhist ethics.


     Email: bronwyn[dot]finnigan[at]anu[dot]edu[dot]au
     School of Philosophy, RSSS
     The Australian National University
     Canberra ACT 2601