Fellowship awarded to Notre Dame Philosophy lecturer

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 20-9-2010

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



A one year Junior Research Fellowship and cross-appointment to the Philosophy department at the Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick, has been awarded to Philosophy lecturer and epistemologist, Dr Brent Madison of The University of Notre Dame Australia.

Of the 70 applicants sponsored by Warwick’s university departments for the position, five were chosen for interview and three awarded fellowships in various fields of study, including Dr Madison’s area of expertise, epistemology, which explores the fundamental nature of knowledge.

Dr Madison said his passion for epistemology stemmed from its focus on the study of original questions and the nature of justification and rationality. He said the fellowship would provide an exciting opportunity to build upon this research.

“If you’re interested in philosophy, you’re interested in fundamental questions. Of all the areas of philosophy, I think epistemology is the most fundamental, as before you can claim to know what the good life is, for example, you might want to pause and ask, ‘what is it to be justified?’,” said Dr Madison.

“One of the most essentially divisive points in the theory of justification is what role, if any, consciousness plays on the part of the subject. So, if you’re justified in believing something, for example, do you have to be aware of evidence or reasons, or can you be justified in the absence of evidence?”

When asked if he felt overwhelmed by the nature of such questions, Dr Madison said on the contrary, he enjoyed rigorous debate and pushing the boundaries of thought to uncover new and novel ways of thinking about life.

“In my view, I believe evidence is required, so to be justified in believing things, you must have a conscious awareness of your grounds. That’s the view that I endorse and defend.”

Notre Dame’s Dean of Philosophy and Theology, Professor Matthew Ogilvie, said the School wished Dr Madison all the best for his tenure at the University of Warwick in November.

“Brent will be missed during his year away but we wish him very well for his fellowship,” said Professor Ogilvie.

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