Dr Denise Gamble

Dr Denise Gamble
 Position Visiting Research Fellow
 Org Unit School of Humanities
 Email denise.gamble@adelaide.edu.au
 Telephone +61 8 8313 5302
 Location Floor/Room 7 ,  Napier ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    [Nephew Nathan with Denise in 2010  picture!]

    Denise  immigrated aged 5 with her family to Australia from Northern Ireland.

    She studied Philosophy at University of Sydney where she obtained both a BA with First Class Honours in Philosophy and a Ph.D (1988). During her Ph.D candidature she spent a year as a visiting graduate student at MIT in Boston, (Ma).  From 1989-91 she  lived in New York City whilst first a research fellow at Rutgers University (NJ) (on an Eleanor Sophia Wood travelling postdoctoral fellowship for 6 months), and then remained as a "Visiting professor", giving courses in Medical ethics, Business ethics, and Aesthetics of film. Denise joined the Philosophy Department at University of Adelaide in 1992.  

    Denise's research interests have shifted and broadened: from philosophy of mind and cognitive science (the area of her Ph.D), and analytical philosophy of language, to encompass Kant's moral philosophy, applied ethics, philosophy of film, and philosophy of criminal law.  Denise remains firmly in the analytical philosophy tradition but seeks not to be narrowly confined by naturalism.

    Courses taught by Denise at Adelaide include Philosophy of Film and Crime & Punishment.  (Denise prepared for this course by passing four law subjects - Legal institutions, Contracts, Torts, Criminal Law - studied externally through University of Sydney.)  She also co-ordinates and  gives lectures in Professional Ethics and the cross-disciplinary course Ethics, Science, & Society (jointly run with Department of Anatomical Sciences.)

    Denise was for several years involved in developing OHS policy and convening the Faculty OHS Committee  in her role as   Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Associate Dean (OHS)

    She is a Professional Associate of the Ethics Centre of South Australia.


  • Teaching Interests

    In 2012 undertook mentoring of two BA Advanced degree philosophy students which turned out to be a worthwhile and rewarding experience for all concerned.  Looking forward to seeing these students successfully through to their graduations.

    Discovering fresh, engaging, and successful ways to teach and enable students to engage with philosophically challenging issues in philosophy of film. 

    Liberalism and philosophy of criminal law is another strong interest. "Crime & Punishment" is a course run usually every two years which attracts a wide range of students including many law students. 

    Denise also has a deep and enduring interest in Kant studies most appropriately pursued at the teaching level through Honours courses. In 2012 she shared an Honours course in Kant's moral philosophy - her focus being on Kant's theory of virtue - with Prof. Garrett Cullity. 

    In 2013 Denise held her own Honours seminar on Kant's doctrine of right, in Metaphysics of Morals.

    Another ongoing teaching interest is in applied ethics and bioethics.  Denise has shared the running of an interdisciplinary course in bioethics with Dr. Jeff  Trahair of the Department of Anatomical Science for the last ten years.  There are prospects being actively pursued of further interdisciplinary involvement with Engineering in teaching professional ethics and Denise is also involved in initiatives to develop a cross-disciplinary bioethics major under the auspices of Public Health in 2013.

    Finally Denise developed and offered a course in analytical philosophy of language for many years at Adelaide University.  This course began with Russell and Frege, covered description theories of meaning, causal theories of meaning, verificationism, (areas in which she has published journal articles) and theories of meaning for natural kind terms.  However in recent years Denise has pursued other interests.


  • Research Interests

    Denise's earliest research focus was in analytical philosophy of mind, philosophy of cognitive science, and philosophy of language. Her doctoral thesis was titled: Propositional attitudes and cognitive science: Is cognitive science vindicating realism toward propositional attitudes? A study of conservative cognitivism.  The thesis examined Fodor's cognitivism in relation to instrumentalism (Dennett) and interpretationism (Cummins) .  In philosophy of language Denise has published on and retains a strong interest in semantic realism, and causal-referential theories of meaning but has latterly not pursued active research in the area.  In more recent year's Denise's primary research interests have centred on Kant's moral and aesthetic philosophy, particularly the role of ideas of practical reason in understanding the implications of Kant's view of the respect-worthiness of humanity, and issues such as aesthetic transformation and moral experience considered in relation to critiques of cinematic realism that have played dominant role in philosophy of film.

    Work in progress:

    Kant's aesthetics and critique of cinematic realism.

     This paper in the philosophy of film explores three theses of anti-realism: an aesthetic thesis, a political thesis, and a moral psychological thesis to help explain the preponderance of anti-realism amongst 20th century European film theorists. The paper also contains a perspective on art from Kant's aesthetics in order to explore ideas such as "the autonomy of the aesthetic", defamiliarization (or ostranenie), and "transformation".  This paper should be ready for submission to an appropriate philosophy journal in a matter of weeks.

    Respect-worthy humanity in Kant's moral theory.  

    The work here is to revise and partly rework a paper that has received strong though qualified review at several excellent international philosophy journals.  The paper will examine Kant's morally relevant concept of respect-worthiness of humanity in the light of his teleology of reason and ideas of reason.   

    Denise's research activities are severely limited by heavy teaching and administration duties.  Without publication, study leave is unavailable; but study leave is needed to pursue high level research!

  • Research Funding

    2011 -  Awarded small grant in Faculty Grant Scheme to seed research in Philosophy of Film:  Film and moral experience

    2012 - Nominated for the Heads of School Faculty research support incentive to  receive small grant to assist in teaching relief in order to further research

  • Publications

     Some Articles


    2. Potentialism and the value of an embryo (2005)  Public Affairs Quarterly 19 4 265-29

    3. Manifestability and semantic realism (2003) Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 84 1 1-24
    4. Defending semantic realism. (2002) Language and Communication 22 3 243-258
    5. P-consciousness presentation; A-consciousness representation. (1997) Behavioural and Brain Sciences (Open peer commentary on Ned Block’s “On a confusion about a function of consciousness”) 20 1 149-50
    6. Meaning and mental representation.  (1992)  Australasian Journal of Philosophy 70 3 343-357



      1. Kant’s ‘Doctrine of Right’: A Commentary.  The Philosophical Quarterly 2014; doi: 10.1093/pq/pqt04
      2. Kantian ethics almost without apology.  1997 Australasian Journal of Philosophy 75 4 439-41
      3. Representation, meaning and thought. 1995 Australasian Journal of Philosophy 73 3 483-4.
      4. Philosophical determinism: On the origin of knowledge by natural selection.  1995 Australasian Journal of Philosophy 73 3 498-9.
      5. The representational theory of mind. 1993 Australasian Journal of Philosophy 71 4 525-7.
  • Files

  • Media Expertise

    CategoriesLaw, Crime & Justice, Ethics
    ExpertiseKantian ethics
    Philosophy of film and morality
    Liberal legal theory

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Entry last updated: Tuesday, 29 Mar 2022

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