Peter Baume Award: Emeritus Professor Frank Jackson AO

20 November 2018

Frank Jackson's work has been hugely influential and one of his papers - Epiphenomenal Qualia - is among the most cited articles in the philosophy of mind. In his paper, he presents the 'knowledge argument' against physicalism about consciousness. It begins with the story of Mary, an expert on the physics and neuroscience of colour vision, who has lived all her life in a black-and-white room but, it is argued, doesn't know what it is like to see colour despite all her physical knowledge.

The paper has generated a huge amount of literature, has been the inspiration for a British documentary and appears as a central theme in David Lodge's novel Thinks.

Professor Jackson's ground-breaking work in philosophy has receive numerous accolades, including the Order of Australia in 2006 for services to philosophy and the social sciences as an academic, administrator and researcher.

His distinguished career includes being invited to give the John Locke Lectures - the most prestigious lecture series in philosophy in the world - at Oxford in 1995, and visiting appointments at Cambridge, Harvard and Princeton.

Professor Jackson describes himself as a 'counterpuncher'. "I'm the sort of philosopher who hears someone say something and thinks 'I don't believe that' or 'that sounds right but couldn't you say it better this way or that way, and improve the argument'. I then write a paper about it."

He took philosophy and mathematics at the University of Melbourne and a PhD in philosophy at La Trobe University.

He served as Director of the ANU Research School of Social Sciences from 2004 to 2007, and as Director of the ANU Institute of Advanced Studies from 1998 to 2001.

He is renowned as a highly collaborative and supportive colleague and mentor. From very early in his career, he displayed a commitment to co-writing papers (something which is relatively uncommon in philosophy). He has also played a major role in supervising and mentoring younger students.

He is a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

Professor Jackson was appointed as Distinguished Professor at ANU in 2003 and became Emeritus Professor in 2014.

He receives the Peter Baume Award, the University's most prestigious award, which recognises eminent achievement and merit of the highest order.