Philosophers Awarded ARC Grants


The Australian Research Council (ARC) has announced the recipients of its Discovery Projects grants, which includes several philosophers.

Projects involving philosophers include:

Mark Alfano & Colin Klein
($478, 013)

This project aims to discover critically-needed understandings of the social causes and consequences of ‘fake news’. It will do this by investigating and mapping the relationship between ‘epistemic vices’ and people’s acceptance of misinformation and disinformation (e.g. conspiracy theories). It will bring together approaches from experimental philosophy, natural language processing, social network analysis, and normative reflection to provide new insights regarding distrust and intellectual vice, thus significantly advancing knowledge of the ‘dark side’ of social epistemology. Results will lead to urgently required guidance regarding the features of social networks that exacerbate or buffer against the manifestation of these vices.

Robert Briggs, Dinesh Wadiwel, Matthew Chrulew, Thom van Dooren, Jacqueline Dalziell, & Dominique Lestel
($488,548)

Building on the methods and concepts of the emerging environmental humanities, this project will produce a new conceptual vocabulary for a world in which multispecies conflict and coexistence is increasingly important. It brings critical and generative rereadings of classical political thought and contemporary biopolitical and cosmopolitical approaches into dialogue with a set of empirical case studies emerging from novel encounters between humans and other animals. This project will expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capacity in the interdisciplinary environmental humanities and stake out new approaches to the question of living together in a changing environment.

Stephen Clarke, Julian Savulescu, Jeanette Kennett, & Xavier Symons
($553, 139)

This project aims to analyze core concepts that play key roles in emerging debates about the ethics of Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) in Australia. The project expects to make constructive contributions to these debates, promoting respectful dialogue and reducing polarization. Expected outcomes include a new model for managing VAD in Australia which is ethically appropriate and consistent with community values. This model will also benefit other countries where the ethics of VAD is under consideration. The project will promote the dignity and autonomy of all and ensure that issues about the conscientious refusal of healthcare professionals to participate in the provision of VAD are handled in an ethically appropriate and effective manner.

Ned Dobos, Deane-Peter Baker, Cecil Coady, & Jessica Wolfendale
($300,307)

Military personnel undergo extensive conditioning in the name of combat effectiveness and resilience. The aim of this project is to determine whether any of the intended effects of this conditioning constitute “moral injuries”, and to describe the ethical and policy implications if so. This will deepen our understanding of the ethics of military recruitment, training, and socialisation. The expected outcomes include a statement of the obligations owed to professional soldiers on account of the potential for moral injury in preparing them for deployment. This will enhance Australia’s reputation for being ethically proactive and for taking a holistic approach to the welfare of its military servicemen and women.

Colin Klein & Andrew Barron
($435,598)

This project aims to investigate the ways in which artificial intelligence is equivalent to human intelligence. Computers outperform humans in many domains, yet it is clear that computers often don’t perform tasks the way humans do. Developing innovative methods for evaluating claims of equivalence by drawing on simpler, well-understood model systems like the honeybee brain, the project expects to fill this existing knowledge gap. Expected outcomes include a framework that provides powerful, nuanced criteria for comparison of natural and artificial intelligences. Benefits are expected to include enhanced guidance for the development of AI systems both in everyday contexts and as exploratory tools in comparative and cognitive neuroscience.

Kristie Miller, Eugene Caruso, & Tom Dougherty
($317, 143)

The aim of this project is to empirically and normatively evaluate two kinds of time-biases. Using an interdisciplinary approach, this project will empirically investigate near-bias and future-bias in a unified manner, and use this data to inform theorising about the rationality of time-biased preferences. The project will yield a rich account of the conditions under which we display time-biases and the likely mechanisms that underlie them. This project will determine whether, and when, time-biased preferences lead to sub-optimal outcomes, and lay the groundwork for determining which strategies mitigate these biases, leading to better decisions and outcomes.

Patrick Stokes & Adam Buben
($93,029)

This project will create a philosophically-informed ethical approach for managing the ‘digital remains’ of internet users who have died. Emerging artificial intelligence technologies make it possible to reuse and interact with these digital remains. This offers new ways of commemorating the dead and for managing grief. Yet these technologies also threaten to exploit the dead and to change our relationship to them in troubling ways. Expected outcomes of the project include guidance for the ethical use of these technologies and policy recommendations for regulating the reuse of digital remains. This will provide significant benefits by helping Australia to avoid the ethical dangers inherent in emerging technologies of ‘digital reanimation.’

Jennifer WindtNaotsugu Tsuchiya, & Thomas Andrillon
($595,895)

The Dreamscape Project aims to discover the neural basis of dreaming. Building on the world’s largest database of sleep electroencephalograms (EEG) and associated dream reports, the project applies cutting-edge analyses of neural activity to resolve why each night, healthy adults alternate between unconscious sleep and vivid dreams. The results promise to shed light on the mystery of dreaming and help locate consciousness in the physical world. Expected outcomes include best-practice guidelines for dream research and a model of open data-sharing for consciousness science. Anticipated benefits include deeper understanding of how and why everyone dreams, the role of dreams in waking life, and their impact on sleep quality and well-being.

You can learn more about the grants and read the full list of recipients here.

If you know of a philosopher who received an ARC grant, but is not listed here, please let us know in the comments.

[Update: This post was updated on November 6th to include the ARC grant awarded to Jennifer Windt, Naotsugu Tsuchiya, and Thomas Andrillon and November 8th to include the ARC grant awarded to Kristie Miller, Eugene Caruso, and Tom Dougherty.]
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Jakob Hohwy
6 months ago

And
Jennifer Windt, Naotsugu Tsuchiya, and Thomas Andrillon ($595,895.00)

The Dreamscape Project: Phenomenology and neurophysiology of dreams. The Dreamscape Project aims to discover the neural basis of dreaming. Building on the world’s largest database of sleep electroencephalograms (EEG) and associated dream reports, the project applies cutting-edge analyses of neural activity to resolve why each night, healthy adults alternate between unconscious sleep and vivid dreams. The results promise to shed light on the mystery of dreaming and help locate consciousness in the physical world. Expected outcomes include best-practice guidelines for dream research and a model of open data-sharing for consciousness science. Anticipated benefits include deeper understanding of how and why everyone dreams, the role of dreams in waking life, and their impact on sleep quality and well-being.

Dustin Sigsbee
Dustin Sigsbee
Reply to  Jakob Hohwy
6 months ago

Thank you! I have updated the post.

Kristie
Kristie
6 months ago

Kristie miller got a DP in this same round with Tom Dougherty and Eugene Caruso

Dustin Sigsbee
Dustin Sigsbee
Reply to  Kristie
6 months ago

Thank you! I have updated the post.