Macquarie has world-leading research expertise in Philosophy. This area of strength at the University has been recognised through Philosophy receiving a rating of well above world standard for the first time in 2018. Applied ethics has strong research streams in bioethics including surgical and clinical ethics, animal ethics, neuroethics, and feminist bioethics.
Macquarie’s current research areas are diverse, with many sub-specialisations. Philosophy of mind and cognition, for example, includes specialisations such as embodied and extended cognition, pain, philosophy of neuroscience, niche construction and evolution, and consciousness. Under ethics and moral psychology, specialisations include Kantian ethics, moral responsibility, agency and autonomy, addiction, free will, cinematic ethics, and feminist ethics, while European philosophy encompasses the philosophy of work and critical theory. We also cover philosophy of biology and of medicine, ethics and applied ethics.
The high standing of Macquarie University researchers is demonstrated by numerous invitations to give keynotes at international conferences, as well as the endowment of prestigious awards and honours including three Fellows of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, four ARC Future Fellowships, a Templeton World Charity Fellowship and two Presidents of the Australasian Association of Philosophy. Appointments to prestigious national committees include: the Australian Health Ethics Committee; chair of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) committee leading the revision of the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research; ARC College of Experts and Australian Laureate Fellowships Selection Advisory Committee. Our publication What the Body Commands (OUP, 2015) won the 2016 David Harold Tribe Award in Philosophy.
Macquarie has also contributed to the clinical ethics working group that produced a manual for healthcare providers, Clinical Ethics Capacity Building Resource Manual (NHMRC, 2012–15); chaired the NSW Ministry of Health Clinical Ethics Advisory Panel providing advice to the Chief Medical Officer of NSW; and contributed to the South East Sydney Local Health District Clinical Ethics Committee, an advisory committee for practitioners and executives. Macquarie has produced policy submissions for government, one on draft ethical guidelines on the use of assisted reproductive technology in clinical practice and research and another by Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting to the Department of Health.
Internationally, Macquarie contributed to the International Advisory Board of Deutsches Referenzzentrum für Ethik in den Biowissenschaften, the German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Biological Sciences
Supporting safer surgical research and innovation
Surgical innovation is an essential part of modern healthcare. New techniques, such as robotic and laparoscopic surgery, and new devices, such as joint replacements and blood vessel grafts, have improved the health of millions. But surgical research and innovation can be risky for patients, some of whom have been harmed by their surgeons ‘trying something new’.
Macquarie’s research in this area has had local, national and international impact on support for safer surgical research and innovation. Macquarie’s research has been included in professional guidance by the Royal College of Surgeons of England, led to changes in international guidance on evaluating surgical innovations, informed revisions to Australian research ethics guidelines, and influenced local health district practice.
3. Approach to impact
University Research Centre
Centre for Agency, Values and Ethics (CAVE)
Director: Prof Catriona Mackenzie