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Graham Wood

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Graham Wood

Lecturer, Philosophy

Room L120 , Arts Building

+61 3 6324 3920 (phone)

+61 3 6324 3652 (fax)

Graham.Wood@utas.edu.au

Dr Graham Wood is a philosopher in the School of Humanities located in Launceston. His areas of research include Moral Psychology, Cognitive Science of Religion, and Environmental Philosophy.

View Graham's YouTube channel.

Biography

Graham has worked as a philosopher at the University of Tasmania since 2006.

Career summary

Qualifications

DegreeTitle of ThesisUniversityCountryAwarded
PhD The fine-tuning of the universe: a philosophical analysisUniversity of TasmaniaAustralia2005
Grad. Dip. Env. St. (Hons)Taoism and the environmental crisisUniversity of TasmaniaAustralia1991
BA University of New South WalesAustralia1990

Teaching

Teaching expertise

  • Ethics
  • Moral Psychology
  • Environmental Philosophy

Teaching responsibility

Research Invitations

Visitor: Discipline of Psychology within the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, U.K., (Feb – Jun 2017).

Academic Visitor: New Insights and Directions for Religious Epistemology at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford, Oxford, U.K., (Jan – Feb 2015).

Visiting Associate: Department of Philosophy, Macquarie University, Sydney, (May – June 2011).

Academic Visitor: Science and Religious Conflict Project at the James Martin 21st Century School Program on Ethics and the New Biosciences, and the Centre for Neuroethics, Oxford, (Jan – Mar 2011).

View more on Dr Graham Wood in WARP

Expertise

Graham's research concerns the relationship between human values and a scientific understanding of the human condition. He examines this relationship within three realms: environmental philosophy, cognitive science of religion, and moral psychology. In his research environmental, religious, and moral values are examined using insights from philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and evolutionary psychology.

Research Themes

Graham's research is relevant to two of the University's research theme areas. His work in Moral Psychology and Cognitive Science of Religion is relevant to the theme Creativity, Culture and Society, and his work in Environmental Philosophy is relevant to the theme Environment, Resources and Sustainability.

Current projects

The Patchwork Mind. This research project develops an account of ‘belief’, based on the assumption that distinct evolutionary pressures have produced several distinct cognitive systems that each generate distinct types of ‘belief’. The account uses the function of beliefs to demarcate distinct categories of belief within the larger folk psychological category ‘belief’. It assumes that categories of belief, such as ‘predictive belief’ (including scientific belief), ‘co-operative belief’ (including moral and religious beliefs) and ‘communicative belief’ (including linguistic beliefs) can be understood ‘third personally’ in this way (even though this is not obvious from a ‘first personal’ perspective). This account does not preclude the existence of other categories, but these three categories are examined because they are likely to exist due to the evolutionary importance of prediction, cooperation, and communication. This project assumes, and builds on, Sellars’ distinction between the manifest and scientific images and takes Quine’s web of belief (as he applies it to prediction) and applies it to cooperation and communication. For a paper on this see ‘Do religious beliefs have a place within an ‘epistemically naturalized’ cognitive system?’Sophia 56 (4) 2017, pp. 539–556.

Belief in Objective Value: a modular account. This research develops an account of belief in objective moral values using the concept of mental modularity in the context of dual process theories of cognition. Introspection often seems to reveal that the prescriptive force of one's own moral judgements comes from the underlying 'objectivity' of values relevant to those judgements. This research examines the cognitive architecture of the human mind that may be responsible for generating such beliefs about the objectivity of moral values. For a paper on this see 'On the perceived objectivity of some moral beliefs', Philosophical Psychology, 33, (1) 2020 pp. 23-41.

Representations recorded in ancient religious narratives of the evolution of human self-consciousness. This research develops an account of the cultural and biological evolution of the concept of the 'self' and/or the evolution of self-consciousness (with particular reference to moral consciousness) within the human species. The research applies insights from evolutionary psychology and cultural evolutionary theory to 'origin narratives' within ancient religious texts (e.g., the biblical account of the fall in Genesis 2-3). For a presentation on this see – ‘The ‘Fall’ and the rise of ‘self-consciousness’.

Environmental Philosophy. I am involved in a number of research projects that examine philosophical questions in the context of human – environment interactions, for example, in relation to human interaction with the ocean.

Fields of Research

  • Environmental Philosophy (220303)
  • Psychology of Religion (170111)

Research Objectives

  • Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies (970122)
  • Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences (970117)
  • Environmental Ethics (950403)

Publications

Graham's pre-2008 publications focused on the philosophical dimensions of the debate concerning the 'fine-tuning of the universe'. Since 2008 the focus of his publication history has shifted to his current research interests of Moral Psychology, Cognitive Science of Religion, and Environmental Philosophy.

Total publications

17

Highlighted publications

(5 outputs)
YearTypeCitationAltmetrics
2020Journal ArticleWood G, 'On the perceived objectivity of some moral beliefs', Philosophical Psychology, 33, (1) pp. 23-41. ISSN 0951-5089 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/09515089.2019.1696454 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 1

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2019Chapter in BookWood G, 'Method: Atheism', Theism and Atheism: Opposing Arguments in Philosophy, Macmillan Reference USA, JW Koterski and G Oppy (ed), United States, pp. 49-63. ISBN 9780028664460 (2019) [Research Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

2017Journal ArticleWood G, 'Do religious beliefs have a place within an 'epistemically naturalized' cognitive system?', Sophia, 56, (4) pp. 539-556. ISSN 0038-1527 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s11841-016-0567-4 [eCite] [Details]

Tweet

2014Chapter in BookWood G, 'Understanding person' talk: when is it appropriate to think in terms of persons?', The Roots of religion: Exploring the Cognitive Science of Religion, Ashgate, R, Trigg and J, Barrett (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 91-112. ISBN 9781472427311 (2014) [Research Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

2013Chapter in BookWood G, 'The Rationality of Heuristic Religious Belief', A New Science of Religion, Routledge, GW Dawes and J Maclaurin (ed), Abingdon, pp. 189-204. ISBN 9780415635851 (2013) [Research Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

Journal Article

(8 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2020Wood G, 'On the perceived objectivity of some moral beliefs', Philosophical Psychology, 33, (1) pp. 23-41. ISSN 0951-5089 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/09515089.2019.1696454 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 1

Tweet

2017Wood G, 'Do religious beliefs have a place within an 'epistemically naturalized' cognitive system?', Sophia, 56, (4) pp. 539-556. ISSN 0038-1527 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s11841-016-0567-4 [eCite] [Details]

Tweet

2015Gale F, Davison A, Wood G, Williams S, Towle N, 'Four impediments to embedding education for sustainability in higher education', Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 31, (2) pp. 248-263. ISSN 0814-0626 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1017/aee.2015.36 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 15Web of Science - 12

Co-authors: Gale F; Davison A; Williams S; Towle N

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2014Wood G, 'Generalizing a model beyond the inherence heuristic and applying it to beliefs about objective value', Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37, (5) pp. 504-505. ISSN 0140-525X (2014) [Contribution to Refereed Journal]

DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X13003907 [eCite] [Details]

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2011Wood G, 'Cognitive science and religious belief', Philosophy Compass, 6, (10) pp. 734-745. ISSN 1747-9991 (2011) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2011.00434.x [eCite] [Details]

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2009Wood G, 'Detecting Design: fast and frugal or all things considered?', Sophia, 48, (2) pp. 195-210. ISSN 0038-1527 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s11841-009-0107-6 [eCite] [Details]

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2007Wood G, 'Fine-tuning 'Analogies' and The Law of Small Probability', Philo, 10, (2) pp. 149-157. ISSN 1098-3570 (2007) [Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

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2006Wood G, 'The fine-tuning argument: the 'design inference' version', Religious Studies, 42, (4) pp. 467-471. ISSN 0034-4125 (2006) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1017/S0034412506008493 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1

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Chapter in Book

(6 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2019Wood G, 'Method: Atheism', Theism and Atheism: Opposing Arguments in Philosophy, Macmillan Reference USA, JW Koterski and G Oppy (ed), United States, pp. 49-63. ISBN 9780028664460 (2019) [Research Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

Tweet

2019Wood G, 'Understanding Historical and Contemporary Ethics and Earth Ethics', Inspiring Earth Ethics: Linking Values and Action, Australian Earth Laws Alliance, M Maloney, J Grieves, B Adams and E Brindal (ed), Banyo, Queensland, Australia, pp. 7-12. ISBN 9780648713708 (2019) [Other Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

Tweet

2014Wood G, 'Understanding person' talk: when is it appropriate to think in terms of persons?', The Roots of religion: Exploring the Cognitive Science of Religion, Ashgate, R, Trigg and J, Barrett (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 91-112. ISBN 9781472427311 (2014) [Research Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

Tweet

2013Wood G, 'The Rationality of Heuristic Religious Belief', A New Science of Religion, Routledge, GW Dawes and J Maclaurin (ed), Abingdon, pp. 189-204. ISBN 9780415635851 (2013) [Research Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

Tweet

2012Wood Graham, 'Attributing Agency: Fast and Frugal or All Things Considered?', Scientific Approaches to the Philosophy of Religion, Palgrave Macmillan, Yujin Nagasawa (ed), Basingstoke, pp. 71-91. ISBN 9780230291102 (2012) [Research Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

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2011Wood G, 'The Pulp Mill, Bleached Kraft Paper and Sustainable Development: an Ethical Analysis of Necessities Versus Luxuries', Pulp Friction in Tasmania: A review of the environmental assessment of Gunns' proposed pulp mill, Pencil Pine Press, Fred Gale (ed), Launceston, pp. 287-304. ISBN 9780646545783 (2011) [Other Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

Review

(1 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2014Wood G, 'Fraser Watts (ed.), Creation: Law and Probability', European Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 6, (4) pp. 205-211. ISSN 1689-8311 (2014) [Review Single Work]

[eCite] [Details]

Thesis

(1 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2005Wood G, 'The fine-tuning of the universe, a philosophical analysis' (2005) [PhD]

[eCite] [Details]

Other Public Output

(1 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2020Wood G, 'The COVID-19 Pandemic: A Biological and Cultural Evolutionary Analysis', Heterodox: The Blog, Heterodox Academy, June (2020) [Newspaper Article]

[eCite] [Details]

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Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants

5

Total funding

$697,252

Projects

Risks & Opportunities for the Blue Economy (2020 - 2022)$613,462
Description
Cataloguing hazards and characterising risks associated with the Blue Economy is the most challenging step of any risk identification process. This project will deliver an integrative characterisation of risk across all parts of the Blue Economy CRC engineering and technology, production, energy, sustainability and policy. The resulting integrated inventory will identify the multidimensional envelopes of risk relevant to the Blue Economy activities in the short to medium term. Opportunities (research gaps, industry needs, etc.) identified during the analysis will also be catalogued. Consequently, this project is foundational to many CRC activities, bringing immediate benefit to any industry partners undertaking trials or deployment within the next decade.
Funding
Blue Economy CRC Co ($613,462)
Scheme
General Projects
Administered By
Blue Economy CRC Co
Research Team
Fulton E; Lacharite M; Semmens JM; Lea MA; MacLeod C; D'Alessandro SP; Deegan CM; Hatton MacDonald DA; Haward MG; Wood G; Abdussamie N
Period
2020 - 2022
Integrating Blue Economy Governance Integrity Research (2020)$43,749
Description
The governance of the Blue Economy (BE) involves all levels of government and industry and is affected by a range of normative, regulatory, economic and policy frameworks that are poorly integrated. This in part reflects the lack of clarity over the values justifying the BE. This project will scope three general projects that would identify, analyse and reconcile those values (from UN Global Compact to the Social License to Operate), integrate the range of BE governance activities in a BE Integrity System, and explore the various options for certification of BE products that will add to the integrity systems strength.
Funding
Blue Economy CRC Co ($43,749)
Scheme
Scoping Study Projects
Administered By
Blue Economy CRC Co
Research Team
Sampford C; Fievez J; Breakey H; Cadman T; Lewis M; Wood G
Year
2020
Theism and Atheism: Opposing Viewpoints in Philosophy (2018)$1,585
Description
The aim of this project is to answer the question 'what method or methods should be used in attempts to assess the comparative merits of two worldviews, one incorporating Theism and the other Atheism?"
Funding
Cengage Learning Inc ($1,585)
Scheme
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Wood G
Year
2018
What is knowable in science and elsewhere? A cross-disciplinary approach to distinguishing science from scientism. (2018)$10,455
Description
The ongoing public debate around anthropogenic climate change makes one thing clear: scientists can have a hard time getting their message across to the public. Various explanations have been given for the lack of public acceptance of the reality of anthropogenic climate changefrom individual biases to manipulation of the media by those with vested interests. In this project, we will explore the hypothesis that: scientists have trouble communicating their findings to the public due to many members of the public having overly simplistic understandings of the nature of natural science. In particular, for example, we are interested in the apparently paradoxical idea that such resistance by the public can be the result of Scientisman excessive or dogmatic belief in the power of scientific knowledge and techniques. Those who view science this way may hold scientific discussion to an unrealistically high standard, and when a theory inevitably falls short of this standard (e.g. when there is seen to be disagreement among experts on climate change), the theory is dismissed as unsettled or a result of bad science. Alternatively, scientific claims may be dismissed as presumptuous or arrogant.In this project a multidisciplinary team will:1.Provide epistemic insights through the exploration of what is knowable in science from a cross-disciplinary perspective.2.Gather baseline data about:(i) the extent to which academic staff teachers, and cohorts of students from across disciplines, understand the nature and process of science;(ii) any correlations between overly simplistic understandings of science and dismissive attitudes towards particular theories, and/or the scientific enterprise in general.This is a pilot for a larger study which will gather a larger data set, and test the effectiveness of one or more interventions that will be designed to aid in the development of a more sophisticated view of science.
Funding
University of Tasmania ($10,455)
Scheme
Grant - CALE Hothouse Alignment Scheme
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Fraser SP; Chase JK; Coady DA; Corry RL; Hinds M; Konkes C; Wood G; Seen AJ
Year
2018
Rival Systems of Reasoning: Dennett's Intentional Stance and the Cognitive Science of Religion (2009 - 2010)$28,001
Funding
John Templeton Foundation ($28,001)
Scheme
Grant
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Wood G
Period
2009 - 2010

Research Supervision

Graham welcomes expressions of interest from individuals considering undertaking an MA or PhD in Moral Psychology, Cognitive Science of Religion, or Environmental Philosophy.

Completed

1

Completed

DegreeTitleCompleted
PhDExperience, Reality and Representation: On the implications of a maximally non-deflationary phenomenal realism
Candidate: Jason Peter Whatley
2015