Frank Jackson

Director, Research School of Social Sciences
Australian National University, Australia

Professor Frank Cameron Jackson took mathematics and philosophy at the University of Melbourne and a PhD in philosophy at La Trobe University. He taught at Adelaide for a year (1967) before moving to La Trobe and then to a chair at Monash University (1978). He joined the Australian National University in 1986 as Professor of Philosophy and Head of the Philosophy Program, Research School of Social Sciences. At Australian National University he has served as Director of the Institute of Advanced Studies (1998-2001) and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) (2001).

Prof. Jackson was appointed Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Australian National University in 2003, Director, Research School of Social Sciences in 2004 and Convener of the College of Arts and Social Sciences in 2005. He has held visiting appointments at State University of New York at Buffalo, Victoria University of Wellington, Otago University (as William Evans Visiting Fellow, and again as Daniel Taylor Visiting Fellow), Harvard University, Princeton University (as a Senior Humanities Council Fellow), Oxford University (as John Locke Lecturer), the University of Michigan (as James B. and Grace J. Nelson Philosopher in Residence), Cambridge University (as St John’s Overseas Visiting Scholar), and the University of Canterbury, New Zealand (as Erskine Visitor).

In 1995, Professor Jackson gave the John Locke Lectures at Oxford University. In 2003 he gave the Patrick Romanell Lecture at the American Philosophical Association and gave the Heffer lecture at Cambridge University in 2005. In 2006 he will give the Brown-Blackwell Lectures at Brown University. He is a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

In Janurary this year, Professor Jackson was awarded the Order of Australia for service to education, particularly in the disciplines of philosophy and social sciences, as an academic, admisistrator and researcher.

Professor Jackson’s research covers Philosophical Logic, Cognitive Science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, and Meta-Ethics.

His publications include Perception: A Representative Theory, Cambridge University Press, 1977, reprinted in Gregg Revivals, 1994; Conditionals, Basil Blackwell, 1987; The Philosophy of Mind and Cognition, Basil Blackwell, 1996 (with David Braddon-Mitchell); From Metaphysics to Ethics, Oxford University Press, 1997; and his collected papers Mind, Method, and Conditionals: Selected Essays, Routledge, 1998. He is the editor of Conditionals, Oxford University Press, 1991; Consciousness, The International Research Library of Philosophy, Dartmouth Publishing Company, 1998; Lewisian Themes: the Philosophy of David K. Lewis, Oxford University Press, 2004 (with Graham Priest); and The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 2005 (with Michael Smith).

As the sixth laureate of the Tang Chun-I Visiting Professorship, Professor Jackson will offer a public lecture entitled “Philosophy and the Departments of Knowledge,” a four-week graduate seminar on “Mind and Meaning in the Age of Materialism,” and a staff seminar in the Department of Philosophy on “Indicative Conditionals Revisited.”

Philosophy and the Departments of Knowledge

Monday, 13 March 2006
16:30 – 18:30 (Tea reception at 16:00)
Cho Yiu Conference Hall, University Administration Building, Central Campus, CUHK

What is our world like: what’s in it, and what properties are instantiated?

Ask at the physics department and you will receive an account in terms of electrons, photons, force fields, quarks, the curvature of space-time, and so on. Ask at the chemistry department and you will receive an account in terms of valency, acids, crystal structure, and so on. Ask at the psychology department and will you will receive an account in terms of motives, language acquisition, perceptual deficits, pain tolerance, emotional intelligence and so on. Ask at the biology department and you will receive an answer in terms of cell membranes, evolutionary forces, carbon-fixing, CO2 uptake, and so on. Ask at the bioethics department and you will receive an answer in terms of the rights and wrongs of euthanasia, the moral importance of informed consent, and so on. And so it goes. The famous explosion of knowledge has been accompanied by a dramatic increase in specialisation, or as we will mainly call it, departmentalisation. Knowledge comes to us in department-sized parcels, wrapped up in the conceptual frameworks distinctive of the various departments. In this lecture I want to look again at the question of how to make sense of departmentalisation: the question often raised in the past under the banner of the unity of science – or the disunity of science, if you belong to the other party, and under the banner of the autonomy of the special sciences – or the lack thereof, if you belong to the other party.

Full Text: PDF

Mind and Meaning in the Age of Materialism

Monday, March 3-24, 2006 (every Friday)
14:30 – 17:15
UCC 114 (Rm. 114, T.C. Cheng Building, United College)

Reading list and information for students: PDF / Word

The rise of materialism reshaped the philosophy of mind. Old problems had to be located inside a naturalistic framework. The same is happening in the philosophy of language. In these lectures we will approach the topic of mind and meaning from a materialistic perspective in which the notion of representation will figure prominently. Topics covered will include representation, reference, truth, and externalism.

Each lecture will be given as a talk to Powerpoint and the ppt slides will be available after each lecture.

Background readings :
1.) Chapter one “A short history of theories of names” in Sainbury’s recent book “reference without referent” – HTML

Course materials :
1.) Powerpoint slide – Lecture 1(3 March 2006): Powerpoint / PDF

2.) Powerpoint slide – Lecture 2 (10 March 2006): Powerpoint /PDF

3.) Powerpoint slide – Lecture 3 (17 March 2006): Powerpoint /PDF (revised)

4.) Powerpoint slide – Lecture 4 (24 March 2006): Powerpoint /PDF

Some relevant papers by Jackson:
1.) Narrow Content and Representation – or Twin Earth Revisited : PDF

2.) Representation, Truth, Realsim : PDF

3.) Reference and Description Revisited : PDF

4.) What Are Proper Names for? : PDF

5.) Why We Need A-Intensions : PDF

Indicative Conditionals Revisited

Monday, 27 March 2006
16:30 – 18:30
Room 125, Fung King Hey Building, Central Campus, CUHK