Dr Stephanie Collins, Dr Katrina Hutchison and Dr Oisín Deery
Original Published Date: 
Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Three recently announced Discovery Early Career Researcher Awardees (DECRAs) are undertaking research in the discipline of philosophy, exploring the moral problems of artificial intelligence, the culpability of organisations, and the biases that affect women's career paths.

Dr Oisín Deery, based at Monash University and York University (Toronto, Canada), is investigating the moral problems raised by artificially intelligent systems. Such artificial agents are becoming increasingly prevalent in contemporary society but raise moral problems, such as who, if anyone, is legally responsible or liable for the harms caused by artificially intelligent agents. His research project will seek to show how building moral agents endowed with artificial intelligence is possible and to identify both practical and theoretical constraints on such agents.

Dr Katrina Hutchison at Macquarie University is exploring how small, cumulative gender biases affect women's career paths and progression, with a focus on women surgeons. By testing the applicability of philosophical theories of epistemic injustice and moral aggregation to surgical careers, Dr Hutchison's research project will contribute to a more diverse and equitable surgical workforce, and ensure that the best surgeons, including women, contribute to all areas of surgery. The findings have a pathway for uptake via collaboration with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, who oversee professional standards and surgical training in Australia.

The third Discovery Early Career Researcher Award recipient and a philosopher at the Australian Catholic University, is Dr Stephanie Collins, who is undertaking a project to explain how organisations can do wrong. By combining three distinct fields: metaphysics, moral philosophy, and law, Dr Collins will contribute a much-improved scholarly, legal, and public understanding of how organisations exist, persist, act, have characters, and can be punished.

This small snapshot shows how ARC supported Discovery Early Career Researcher Awardees are using a philosophical approach to engage with some of the deepest questions and problems that define our time. 

Photo credit: 

(L to R) Dr Stephanie Collins, Dr Katrina Hutchison and Dr Oisín Deery.