I have been professor of philosophy at the University of Western Australia since late 2019, having taught over the past 30 years in North America at the University of Alberta (2000-2017), the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (1996-2001), and Queen’s University (1992-1996), and most recently at La Trobe University in Melbourne (2017-2019). I am also a Fellow at the UWA Public Policy Institute and the coordinator for the new undergraduate major in Science and Technology in Society at UWA.
I was born in Broken Hill in New South Wales and grew up there and in Perth in Western Australia. I have a B.A. with first class honours in philosophy from the University of Western Australia, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where I was a Fulbright Scholar from late 1987 until early 1992. A recent interview with Richard Marshall at 3.16am gives more of an idea of stuff I have thought about, and how I got back to where I once started with all this philosophy stuff.
My philosophical interests are various, and on this site you can find representative work in the areas I have published in, such as mind and cognition, biological science, eugenics, social science. But the best place to find my published research work is PhilPapers / PhilPeople, since they are comprehensive and contain copies of nearly all of the papers I have written as well as descriptions of the books I have authored or edited.
Starting around 2005 or so, I led two large-scale projects in Engaged Philosophy that aim to integrate philosophical thinking more directly with community-based concerns. While they don’t have your standard academic output—complicated talks and papers that can be understood by the author and at most three other people—they do represent ongoing areas of interest for me and I expect to continue this kind of work in the foreseeable future. More on that elsewhere on the site.
I currently supervise four PhD students at UWA: Jorge Mendonca, Lucia Neco, Alberto Guerrero Velazquez, and Ian Maddox, as well as one philosophy honours student, Ruza Kinsman. I am also an external PhD supervisor for Ruadhan Flynn at the University of Vienna. You can find out more about them under the Mentoring section of the site, along with information on most of the other people I have supervised or otherwise mentored over the years.
My UWA profile page is written to be more student friendly (so I am told). If there are any undergraduate, honours, or graduate students, postdocs, or others interested in collaborating to develop and deploy their philosophical skills in public and community-oriented spaces, drop me an email on rwilson dot robert at gmail dot com. That also holds true if you see anything else on this site that sparks with you. I particularly welcome inquiries from students at all levels interested in courses of study or mentorship, especially those whose backgrounds make them less likely to otherwise find themselves involved in the study of philosophy.