Leading philosopher will advance Catholic understanding of education, culture and society

Leading British philosopher Professor John Haldane will join the Australian Catholic University this year to establish a new project to develop Catholic school education, situating this within a broader understanding of culture and society.

Professor Haldane has been appointed Professor of Philosophy of Education at ACU, where he will lead an important Catholic educational, cultural and societal project, in partnership with the Archdiocese of Melbourne and Catholic Education Melbourne. Professor Haldane will engage in research and academic writing along with public and media events, seminars and initiatives around the themes of the project, including the philosophy of education and the identity of Catholic schools.

Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, Peter A. Comensoli, said he was excited that the Archdiocese would be collaborating with a global leader in philosophy and educational thinking.

“We are committed to building the best Catholic schools for our students and their families, and now is a great moment to think creatively about the coming years. We cannot be successful if we are isolated from critical thought and best practice globally, and John Haldane will bring a real gift to our tremendous Catholic school communities in Melbourne, who are already places of wisdom and community founded on the Gospel.”

ACU Vice Chancellor Professor Greg Craven said Professor Haldane’s appointment was an asset for the University and for all those committed to Catholic education in Australia. “Professor Haldane’s appointment highlights the significance of ACU as an international centre for research in philosophy of education. His new project will enhance the important contribution that ACU makes to Catholic education at all levels from primary school to higher education.”

Jim Miles, Acting Executive Director of Catholic Education Melbourne said the appointment of Professor Haldane comes at an important time for Catholic education. Professor Haldane is a strong advocate for the deeper purposes of education and his scholarly commitment to the full flourishing of each student is much needed in these days when education is so often reduced to pragmatic and instrumental outcomes. We welcome the opportunity to partner with ACU and the Melbourne Catholic community on the important work that Professor Haldane will undertake.

Professor Haldane is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Chair of the Royal Institute of Philosophy in London, and a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life in Rome. He was named by the Tablet in 2018 as one of the 50 most influential Catholic minds in the world, and by the Catholic Herald in 2019 as one of the ‘Catholics of Today’.

A longtime visitor and popular speaker in Australia, Professor Haldane is a prolific researcher in philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, educational theory, and theological issues, and has published many books and articles on philosophical, social and religious topics. He also writes regularly for both secular and Catholic media and has appeared extensively on BBC radio and television, and on the ABC in Australia.

For the past five years Professor Haldane has held the J. Newton Rayzor Sr Distinguished Chair in Philosophy at Baylor University in Texas. He has taught at the University of St Andrews since 1983, holding a number of senior positions in the University, including Director of the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs. During this period, he delivered the Stanton Lectures, University of Cambridge; Gifford Lectures, University of Aberdeen; Joseph Lectures, Gregorian University; McDonald Lectures, University of Oxford; and the Kaminski Lectures, Catholic University of Lublin. He has held many Visiting Professorships and is in constant demand around the world as a lecturer, public speaker, media presenter and conversationalist.

While St Andrews remains his permanent home and he continues there as Professor of Moral Philosophy Emeritus, he will be working at ACU half-time over the coming four years. He will also retain his role as Visiting Professor of Philosophy and Education at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, University of Birmingham.

Professor Haldane said he was delighted to be joining ACU. “I will be returning to Australia almost twenty years since my first visit, which was to Melbourne to debate the issue of Atheism and Theism with the famous philosopher JJC Smart. In the years since, I have had the pleasure of spending periods in the country lecturing, broadcasting and travelling. This has given me a strong and clear sense of the vigour of the country and its growing importance as the movement of international economic and cultural influence moves eastwards, away from the UK and the US.

This is an exciting time to be coming back to Australia and it is a special pleasure and privilege to be part of a creative collaboration between the Archdiocese of Melbourne under the leadership of Archbishop Comensoli, a former St Andrews Student of mine – and the Australian Catholic University. Institutional Catholicism continues to face challenges, but its philosophical, theological, cultural and social heritage and resources are deep and equip it for renewal and service to wider society. I hope to contribute to that by engaging within and beyond the Church and the University.”

Professor Haldane will take up his appointment from July 2020. He will be located within the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy located on the Melbourne Campus.

The following slideshow controls change the content above and below. Information is displayed below the controls while video content plays above the video controls.

Have a question?

 AskACU home

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs