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Dr John Wright

Senior Lecturer

School of Humanities and Social Science (Philosophy)

Career Summary


In my research I have endeavored to produce solutions to problems in the following areas: *How is the novel predictive success of science to be explained? The answer I favor appeals to a notion of the independence of theory from data. This is explored in books Science and the Theory of Rationality (Avebury, 1991) and The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Scientific Method (in progress) *Is our preference for simple theories in science to be rationally justified? The answer I favor is “Yes”, and the reasons are defended in Science and the Theory of Rationality. *What is the Realism/anti-Realism issue? How is it to be resolved? The view I favor is that this is to be seen as a thesis about explanatory priority. This is explored in book Realism and Explanatory Priority (Kluwer, 1997) *What factors determine personal identity over time? The view I favor is termed the seat of consciousness view of personal identity. This has been defended in papers. *Does the operation of the free market produce ethically acceptable outcomes? I have argued that the answer to this question is no. This is defended in book The Ethics of Economic Rationalism (UNSW Press, 2003) and Where Did Fair Go? (in progress).

Research Expertise
I have published in the following areas: Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Science, Critical Thinking and educational philosophy, Metaphysics, particularly Realism and anti-Realism, Philosophy of Mind, particularly personal identity, and political philosophy, especially as it relates to issues of ethics and economics.

Teaching Expertise
I have taught in: History of Philosophy, Philosophy of Language, Logic, Critical Thinking, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Art, Metaphysics and philosophy of Mind.

Administrative Expertise
I have served as Head of Department of Philosophy, and Convenor of Discipline of Philosophy. I have also served on numerous committees, including Faculty Research committees, Board of Environmental Studies and Faculty steering committees. I have also served on three Appointment committees.


  • PhD, University of Melbourne
  • Bachelor of Science, University of Melbourne


  • Ethics and Economics
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of Science
  • metaphysics

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
220399 Philosophy not elsewhere classified 100

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Senior Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Humanities and Social Science

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/09/2010 - 1/12/2010 Visiting Scholar University of Cambridge
United Kingdom
1/09/2005 - 1/12/2005 Visiting Scholar University of Cambridge
United Kingdom
1/09/1993 - 1/12/1993 Visiting Scholar University of Oxford
United Kingdom
1/01/1987 - 1/12/1997 Tutor The University of Adelaide


External Reviewer - Departments

Year Title / Rationale
2003 John Wright/ curriculumn monitor
Organisation: Australian Catholic University Description: My role was to review the offerings of the dept of philosophy at the ACU


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Book (4 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2014 Wright J, Where Did Fair Go?, Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne, 143 (2014) [A1]
2013 Wright J, Explaining Science's Success, Acumen Publishing, Durham, 199 (2013) [A1]
2003 Wright JN, The Ethics of Economic Rationalism, UNSW Press, Sydney, Australia (2003) [A1]
2003 Wright JN, The Story of Philosophy, Social Science Press, Tuggerah NSW 2259 (2003) [A2]
Show 1 more book

Chapter (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2002 Wright JN, 'Some Surprising Phenomena and Some Unsatisfactory Explanations of Them', Recent Themes in the Philosophy of Science: Scientific Realism and Commonsense, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht 139-155 (2002) [B1]

Journal article (11 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Wright JN, 'On James's Argument Against Epiphenomenalism', William James Studies, 11 69-85 (2015) [C1]
2012 Wright JN, 'In defence of Kripkenstein: On Lewis' proposed solution to the sceptical argument', International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 20 603-621 (2012) [C1]
2009 Wright JN, 'Thinking about Gödel and Turing : Essays on complexity, 1970-2007 [Book Review]', Australian Mathematical Society. Gazette, 36 211-213 (2009) [C2]
2008 Wright JN, 'A madman dreams of Turing machines', Gazette of the Australian Mathematical Society, 35 56-57 (2008) [C3]
2006 Wright JN, 'Personal Identity and Consciousness', Iyyun: The Jerusalem Philosophical Quarterly, 55 235-263 (2006) [C1]
2006 Wright JN, 'Personal identity, fission and time travel', Philosophia, 34 129-142 (2006) [C1]
DOI 10.1007/s11406-006-9019-7
Citations Scopus - 2Web of Science - 4
2006 Wright JN, 'Ethics and the will of the affluent majority', Australian Rationalist, 40-46 (2006) [C2]
2004 Wright JN, 'Review of Einstein's Heroes: Imagining the World Through the Language of Mathematics', Australian Mathematical Society Gazette, 31 263-264 (2004) [C3]
2004 Wright JN, 'What ever happened to the ideal of equality?', Journal of the Rationalist Society of Australia, 66 26-34 (2004) [C3]
2003 Wright JN, 'Newton: The Making of Genius by P Fara', Australian Mathematical Society Gazette, 30 303-304 (2003) [C3]
2002 Wright JN, 'The Explanatory Role of Realism', Philosophia: Philosophical Quarterly of Israel, 29 35-56 (2002) [C1]
Show 8 more journal articles

Conference (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2004 Wright JN, 'Personal Identity and Consciousness', Toward a Science of Consciousness 2004 (2004) [E3]

Research Supervision

Number of supervisions


Past Supervision

Year Level of Study Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2015 PhD Words and the World: A Critique of Straight Solutions to Kripke's Meaning Scepticism
PhD (Philosophy), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle
Principal Supervisor
2013 PhD The Moral Theology of Kenneth Kirk, Bishop of Oxford: Studies in its Development, Application and Influence
PhD (Philosophy), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle
Principal Supervisor


The Conversation

If democracy is to give everyone a say, equality isn’t an optional extra

December 1, 2014

Dr John Wright, a Senior Lecturer in the University of Newcastle's Faculty of Education and Arts, talks democracy in The Conversation.

The Conversation

Do Australians still believe in the fair go? Views on pay suggest not

October 14, 2014

Dr John Wright, from the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Newcastle, sheds light on Aussie's view of fair pay.

Dr John Wright


Senior Lecturer
School of Humanities and Social Science
Faculty of Education and Arts

Focus area


Contact Details

Phone (02) 4921 5182
Fax (02) 4921 6928


Room MC113
Building McMullin Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308