Robert Mark Simpson

I’ve been a lecturer in philosophy at Monash since July 2013, having previously been a graduate student and tutor in philosophy at the University of Oxford (2009-13) and at Monash prior to that (2007-08). For two terms in 2015 I was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Law and Philosophy Program at the University of Chicago. I’ve also been a short-term visiting scholar at the Australian National University in 2014, and at the University of Cambridge in 2016.

My main research interests are in social and political philosophy; they include: free speech, hate speech, the analysis of speech-harm, attributions of responsibility in law, the moral limits of the law, human enhancement, epistemology of disagreement, and philosophical issues in religious conflict. My main teaching responsibilities at Monash are in human rights theory and ethics.

My CV can be downloaded here. To see publication details for my research papers, or to access PDF copies (for most of them), you can visit this page, or go to my or PhilPapers profiles. The captioned posts below contain some brief, informal discussions of a few of the topics that I’ve written about in my research.

While plenty of my papers are conventional sole-authored pieces, I’m also a fan of collaborative research and writing. People I’ve written with (or am currently writing with) include Adam Etinson, Amanda Greene, Amia Srinivasan, Aveek Bhattacharya, Heather Whitney, Josh DiPaolo, Kirk Lougheed, Michael Selgelid, Nick Evans, Pei-hua Huang, Rob Sparrow, Toby Handfield, and Waleed Aly.

  • People sometimes criticize others’ beliefs by insisting that they would have believed otherwise if they’d had a different upbringing. They say things like, ‘you only believe in God because you were raised in a Christian household’. These criticisms are sometimes called ‘etiological challenges’… Read more
  • When we ask why it’s important to protect freedom of speech – and likewise, when we’re trying to explain what’s objectionable about repressive regimes that fail to protect freedom of speech – one of the notions that we routinely invoke is that ‘people have minds of their own’. The idea… Read more
  • Can speech be used to oppress people? There’s a sense in which the answer must be ‘yes’. If by ‘oppressing someone’ we just mean ‘treating someone very badly’ or ‘making someone’s life worse’, then of course speech can be used to oppress people. Words can be used to bully people, to harass people, or to ... Read more
  • Listen to an ABC Radio National podcast of me chatting with author Richard King and RN Host Waleed Aly about “On Offence: The Politics of Indignation”, King’s new book about the manufacturing of offence, and how offence is used to advance different groups’ purposes in contemporary politics. Read more