Suzy Bliss

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Suzy Bliss

Lecturer, Philosophy
School of Humanities

Room L128, Arts Building, Newnham Campus

+61 3 6324 3717 (phone)

Dr Suzy Bliss is a lecturer in philosophy and health care ethics in the School of Humanities. Her research to date has been in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind, but she is currently undertaking interdisciplinary research with her nursing colleagues that relates to teaching ethics to nursing students.

Career summary


DegreeTitle of ThesisUniversityCountryAwarded
PhDMental Causation, Causal Exclusion and a Dual Concept of CausationMacquarie UniversityAustralia2008
BA (Hons) University of New EnglandAustralia2003
BA Sydney UniversityAustralia2000
BN University of Technology, SydneyAustralia1993


Healthcare ethics; nursing ethics; normative ethics and metaethics; metaphysics; philosophy of mind

Teaching expertise

Suzy has taught a number of philosophy subjects and also teaches ethics and law to nursing and paramedic students. She is currently involved in designing the new Bachelor of Nursing curriculum as part of their accreditation process in 2015.

Teaching responsibility

View more on Dr Suzy Bliss in WARP


  • Ethical issues in healthcare
  • Pedagogical issues associated with cultivating moral awareness
  • Mental causation and metaphysics of mind
  • The metaphysics of causation

Research Themes

Suzy's research aligns to the University's research themes of Better Health and Creativity, Culture and Society.  She is currently interested in how discourses of moral understanding shape student nurses' subjectivity as moral agents. This research allows for a crossover between philosophical themes (normative ethical theories and the development of a moral identity) and the service teaching that she does for nursing and paramedicine. She is collaborating with her nursing colleagues on a paper about a return to the 'virtue script' in the new Bachelor of Nursing curriculum due to commence in 2016.


Suzy has collaborated with Jordi Fernández from the University of Adelaide on several papers in the metaphysics of mind. They are interested in the puzzle of mental causation: How can mental properties be, on the one hand, different from physical properties and, on the other hand, causally efficacious? They are sympathetic to the view that our common sense understanding of causation encompasses two distinct notions: counterfactual dependence and 'biffy' causation (perhaps energy transfer of some kind?). If this is correct, then it seems worth questioning whether Jaegwon Kim's argument for reductionism (the supervenience argument) might trade on an equivocation. This collaboration is ongoing.

Jordi Fernandez is widely published in the metaphysics of mind, self-knowledge and memory. He currently has an ARC Discovery Grant (2013-2015) and is pursuing a project on the 'false memory' versus 'recovered memory' debate. Suzy worked as a research assistant for Jordi in the latter part of 2013 where she organised a workshop on the philosophy of memory as part of Jordi's ARC project.

Current projects

Suzy is currently collaborating with some of her nursing colleagues on a paper relating to the new BN curriculum due to commence in 2016. This article critically examines the theoretical basis of nursing, particularly in regard to what they see as a tension between the professional and discipline aspects of nursing. This tension is becoming more pronounced as both healthcare and higher education reforms are impacting upon the way nurses are educated as well as their working conditions once they are registered. They argue that the way to navigate these reforms and ameliorate the tension requires innovative curriculum development, where ethical content is integrated across every unit of study.

Fields of Research

  • Philosophy (220399)

Research Objectives

  • Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies (970122)


Suzy's research lies at the intersections of metaphysics, philosophy of mind and applied ethics. The main theme in her research to date has been the question of whether high-level properties that are mentioned in the special sciences can be reduced to more fundamental properties at lower levels of explanation. One crucial aspect of this research relates to a distinction between two types of causation proposed, most prominently, by Ned Hall: Causation as 'production' (for example, the transfer of conserved quantities) and causation as counterfactual dependence. This distinction can be applied to the causal powers of higher-order properties in the domains of various special sciences. In collaboration with Jordi Fernández, she has explored this issue in connection with the multiple-levels picture of nature that seems implicit in debates on psychological explanation. She has put forward the outcomes of this research in articles published in The Southern Journal of Philosophy, Acta Analytica and Abstracta.

Total publications


Journal Article

(6 outputs)
2018Bliss S, 'Could we remedy the 'crisis of care' by incorporating mandatory group psychotherapy in nurse education?', Nurse Education Today, 61 pp. 25-27. ISSN 0260-6917 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.nedt.2017.11.001 [eCite] [Details]


2017Bliss S, Baltzly D, Bull R, Dalton L, Jones J, 'A role for virtue in unifying the knowledge and caring' discourses in nursing theory', Nursing Inquiry, 24, (4) Article e12191. ISSN 1320-7881 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/nin.12191 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Baltzly D; Bull R; Dalton L; Jones J


2016Fernandez J, Bliss S, 'Schizophrenia and the estranged self', Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice (Online), 22, (4) pp. 615-621. ISSN 1365-2753 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/jep.12583 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2


2012Bliss S, Fernandez J, 'Does the supervenience argument generalize?', The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 49, (4) pp. 321-346. ISSN 0038-4283 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/j.2041-6962.2011.00080.x [eCite] [Details]


2010Bliss S, Fernandez J, 'Program explanation and higher-order properties', Acta Analytica, 25 pp. 393-411. ISSN 0353-5150 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s12136-010-0094-9 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1


2008Bliss S, Fernandez J, ' Causal inheritance and second-order properties'', Abstracta: linguagem, mente e acao, 4 pp. 74-95. ISSN 1807-9792 (2008) [Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]



(1 outputs)
2010Bliss S, Fernandez J, 'Review of Mental Causation by Anthony Dardis', Mind: a quarterly review of philosophy, 119 pp. 468-471. ISSN 0026-4423 (2010) [Review Single Work]

[eCite] [Details]