Bronwyn Finnigan

I am a (continuing, tenured) Lecturer and Deputy Head of the School of Philosophy at the Australian National University (ANU). I work in philosophy of action, ethics, philosophy of mind and epistemology in Western and Asian philosophical traditions. I am currently working on two related research projects. The first investigates the nature of practical rationality involved in skilled action taken as a model of moral agency. The second examines Buddhist moral psychology and the meta-ethical grounds for rationally reconstructing Buddhist ethical thought.


I have a BA (University of Melbourne), MA (University of Sydney) and PhD (University of Auckland) in Philosophy. My doctoral thesis researched the nature of phronēsis or practical intelligence involved in pre-reflective modes of ethical response. 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); an investigation of moral justification in the context of Pr
āsaṅgika Madhyamaka (2015); and a forthcoming book chapter on Buddhist idealism. I have also co-authored a book chapter with Koji Tanaka on spontaneous action in martial arts which engaged the Japanese Zen Buddhist views of Takuan (2010).


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