This volume, which complements a collection of public lectures by Australian and New Zealand Philosophers, comprises separate interviews with fourteen prominent Australasian philosophers. Many general readers will be unfamiliar with the interviewees, the exception being Peter Singer, whose international reputation transcends academic philosophy. However, the subjects, and indeed many other Australasian philosophers not included here, have made a significant contribution to the discipline at an international level. Indeed, a good number of Australasian philosophers, including some of those interviewed here, hold, or have held, chairs at some of the top universities in the world. Although it is not widely appreciated in Australia and New Zealand, the antipodean philosophical community punches above its weight internationally. This is something both to reflect on and to celebrate. The stated aim of this volume – ‘to bring the diverse and significant contributions of Australasian philosophers to the attention not only of seasoned philosophers, but also to the wider academic community … and indeed members of the wider public’ – is to be commended. But while the volume does an admirable job on that score, its real value lies in the way it reveals what kind of activity philosophy is, why it is important that some people spend, and should be able to spend, their lives engaged in it; and, on a more personal level, how individual people end up living this kind of life.
- Book review