Dr Joe Mintoff

Senior Lecturer

School of Humanities and Social Science (Philosophy)

Career Summary


Joe Mintoff is a senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of Newcastle, Australia, with teaching and research interests in moral philosophy. (a) His current work is in moral epistemology, the philosophy of Socrates, and ancient approaches to the question of how one should live. His articles in this area have appeared in Ratio, American Philosophical Quarterly, and The Southern Journal of Philosophy. His current projects are motivated by the familiar Socratic slogan that the unexamined life is not worth living, and are concerned to examine the specific role (if any) philosophy and critical thinking have to play in living well. These projects include the following: • "A Deontic Solution to the Swamping Problem" – We want to know the good in order to attain it, but, if that is our reason, then won't true belief do just as well? • "Zagzebski on Religious Knowledge" – Are religious believers epistemically responsible to trust their communities and those individuals whose wisdom they admire? • "Philosophy and Peer Disagreement" – If two people are cognitive peers with the same access to the evidence and arguments on some question, then could it nevertheless be reasonable for them to disagree? • "Gaita on Modern Moral Philosophy" – In getting students to think seriously about whether (eg) evil is an illusion, does moral philosophy thereby corrupt its students? (b) His previous work has focused on the theory of rational choice, specifically on the articulation and defense of the concept of "minimally constrained maximization" as a unified general solution to the well-known paradoxes of rationality, including the paradox of deterrence and the prisoner's dilemma, and application of that concept to issues as diverse as the possibility of a utilitarian justification of legal rights with moral force and the prospects of true friendship between egoists. His articles in this area have appeared in Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, and Ethics.

Research Expertise
Moral Philosophy, Happiness and the Good Life, Socrates and the Examined Life, Moral Epistemology, Contractarianism and Rational Choice Theory.

Teaching Expertise
Moral Philosophy, Happiness and the Good Life, Socrates and the Examined Life, Moral Epistemology, Contractarianism and Rational Choice Theory.


  • PhD, Australian National University
  • Master of Arts (Honours), University of Wollongong
  • Bachelor of Mathematics (Honours), University of Wollongong
  • Graduate Diploma of Philosophy, University of Wollongong


  • Contractarianism
  • Examined Life
  • Good Life
  • Happiness
  • Moral Epistemology
  • Moral Philosophy
  • Rational Choice Theory
  • Socrates

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
220302 Decision Theory 10
220304 Epistemology 40
220305 Ethical Theory 50

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

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


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

Chapter (4 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2012 Mintoff JG, 'Did Alcibiades learn justice from the many?', Alcibiades and the Socratic Lover-Educator, Bristol Classical Press, London 90-106 (2012) [B1]
2010 Mintoff JG, 'The examined life: Outline of a neo-socratic argument', An Anthology of Philosophical Studies. Volume 4, Athens Institute for Education and Research, Athens, Greece 37-45 (2010) [B1]
2009 Mintoff JG, 'Singer on finding meaning through doing good', On the Ethical Life, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle Upon Tyne 132-139 (2009) [B1]
2008 Mintoff JG, 'Minimally constrained maximization: An outline', Reasons and Intentions, Ashgate Publishing, Surrey 85-112 (2008) [B1]
Show 1 more chapter

Journal article (20 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Mintoff J, 'Gaita on Philosophy, Corruption, and Justification', Journal of Philosophical Research, 40 97-116 (2015) [C1]
DOI 10.5840/jpr2015102933
2015 Mintoff J, 'Teaching to the Elenchus in advance', Teaching Ethics, 15 97-114 (2015) [C1]
DOI 10.5840/tej201410288
2014 Mintoff JG, 'Review of LeBar, The Value of Living Well', Ethics, 124 636-641 (2014) [C3]
DOI 10.1086/674833
2013 Mintoff J, 'Recasting Analytic Philosophy on the Problem of Evil', Sophia, 52 51-54 (2013) [C1]
DOI 10.1007/s11841-013-0355-3
Citations Scopus - 1
2013 Mintoff JG, 'On the Quantitative Doctrine of the Mean', The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 51 445-464 (2013) [C1]
DOI 10.1111/sjp.12045
2009 Mintoff JG, 'In defense of the ideal of a life plan', Southern Journal of Philosophy, 47 159-186 (2009) [C1]
DOI 10.1111/j.2041-6962.2009.tb00089.x
2008 Mintoff J, 'Transcending absurdity (Thomas Nagel)', RATIO, 21 64-84 (2008) [C1]
Citations Web of Science - 2
2008 Mintoff JG, 'Transcending absurdity', Ratio, 21 64-84 (2008) [C1]
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9329.2007.00385.x
2006 Mintoff JG, 'Could an Egoist be a Friend?', American Philosophical Quarterly, 43 101-118 (2006) [C1]
2004 Mintoff JG, 'Is an Agreement an Exchange of Intentions?', Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 85 44-67 (2004) [C1]
DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0114.2004.00186.x
2004 Mintoff JG, 'Rule Worship and the Stability of Intention', Philosophia, 31 401-426 (2004) [C2]
2004 Mintoff JG, 'Tabensky on The Unity of Life and the Skill of Living', South African Journal of Philosophy, 23 353-364 (2004) [C1]
2003 Mintoff JG, 'Can Utilitarianism Justify Legal Rights with Moral Force?', University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 151 887-915 (2003) [C2]
2002 Mintoff JG, 'How Can Intentions Make Actions Rational?', Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 32 331-354 (2002) [C1]
2001 Mintoff JG, 'Buridan's Ass and reducible intentions', Journal of Philosophical Research, 26 207-221 (2001) [C1]
2000 Mintoff JG, 'Is Rational Voluntary Constraint Possible?', Dialogue, XXXIX 339-364 (2000) [C1]
1999 Mintoff JG, 'Are Decisions Motive-Perpetuating?', Analysis, 59 266-275 (1999) [C1]
1999 Mintoff JG, 'Decision-making and the Backward Induction Argument', Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 80 64-76 (1999) [C1]
1998 Mintoff JG, 'Hume and Instrumental Reason', Journal of Value Inquiry, 32 519-538 (1998) [C1]
1998 Mintoff JG, 'Defending Instrumental Reason', Southern Journal of Philosophy, 36 393-415 (1998) [C1]
Show 17 more journal articles

Conference (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2010 Mintoff JG, 'Peer disagreement and epistemic justification', Australasian Association of Philosophy Conference (AAP2010) Abstracts (2010) [E3]
2010 Palmer L, Levett-Jones TL, Mintoff JG, McMillan MA, 'Teaching moral reasoning: Challenges for undergraduate nursing education', Rethinking Learning in Your Discipline. Proceedings of the University Learning and Teaching Futures Colloquium, 2010 (2010) [E3]
Co-authors Tracy Levett-Jones

Research Supervision

Number of supervisions


Total current UON EFTSL


Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2016 PhD Can We Live as Moral Sceptics?
PhD (Philosophy), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle
Principal Supervisor

Past Supervision

Year Level of Study Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
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
2011 PhD The Foundations of Aristotle's Ethics
PhD (Classics), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle
2005 PhD Moral Thinking
PhD (Philosophy), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle
Sole Supervisor

Dr Joe Mintoff


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

Focus area


Contact Details

Email joseph.mintoff@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 5181
Fax (02) 4921 6928


Room MC114
Building McMullin Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308