Professor Fred D'Agostino


Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+61 7 336 56557


political philosophy, methodology of science

Fred D'Agostino was educated at Amherst College (BA, 1968), Princeton University (MA, 1973), and the London School of Economics (PhD, 1978). He was Research Fellow in Philosophy at the Australian National University from 1978 to 1984, and worked at the University of New England from 1984 to 2004, where he was Associate Professor of Philosophy, Associate Dean of Arts, Head of the School of Social Science, and Member of the University Council. He is now Professor of Humanities and has recently been Deputy President of the Academic Board. He has edited the Australasian Journal of Philosophy and Politics, Philosophy and Economics and has published four books--Chomsky's System of Ideas (Clarendon Press, 1986), Free Public Reason (OUP, 1996), Incommensurability and Commensuration (Ashgate, 2003), and Naturalizing Epistemology (Palgrave, 2010). He recently completed work on an ARC Discovery Grant project in social epistemology, and on an Australian Learning and Teaching Institute grant for educational leadership development. He is co-editor of the Routledge Companion to Political and Social Philosophy. His current research is on disciplinarity. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Research Interests

  • disciplinarity
  • pluralism
    Pluralism is the view that it is both unavoidable and desirable that there should be more than one standard against which options are judged. It is significant in relation to democratic polities and in relation to epistemology.
  • incommensurability
    Incommensurability arises when there are two or more criteria in terms of which to judge options and neither dominance nor settled trade-offs between the criteria. It is vital for cost-benefit analysis, utilitarianism, and in civil litigation.
  • social contract theory
  • social epistemology
    Epistemology seeks norms for enquiry. Social epistemology recognizes that these norms must facilitate certain kinds of interactions and relations among enquirers.


  • Fellow of Academy of Humanities
  • PHD, LSE
  • Masters of Anthropology, Prin
  • BA(Hons), Amherst


  • D'Agostino, Fred (2012) Disciplinarity and the growth of knowledge. Social Epistemology, 26 3: 331-350.

  • D'Agostino, Fred (2012) An analytics of marginality. European Legacy-Toward New Paradigms, 17 6: 755-768.

  • D'Agostino, Fred (2011). Rational agency. In Ian C. Jarvie and Jesus Zamora-Bonilla (Ed.), The SAGE handbook of the philosophy of social sciences (pp. 182-198) London, United Kingdom: Sage.

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Book Chapter

  • D'Agostino, Fred (2011). Rational agency. In Ian C. Jarvie and Jesus Zamora-Bonilla (Ed.), The SAGE handbook of the philosophy of social sciences (pp. 182-198) London, United Kingdom: Sage.

  • D'Agostino, F. B. (2005). Legitimacy in a Pluralistic Context. In Graham Young and Graham Maddox (Ed.), Legitimation and the State 1st ed. (pp. 15-29) Armidale: Kardooair Press.

  • D’Agostino, Fred (2005). The Sinews of a Free Society: Autonomy, Democracy and Education. In Tim Battin (Ed.), A Passion for Politics: Essays in Honour of Graham Maddox (pp. 99-109) Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia: Pearson Education Australia.

  • D'Agostino, Fred (2005). The legacies of John Rawls. In Thom Brooks and Fabian Freyenhagen (Ed.), The legacy of John Rawls (pp. 195-212) New York, NY, United States: Continuum.

  • D'Agostino, Fred (2004). Pluralism and Liberalism. In Gerald F. Gaus and Chandran Kukathas (Ed.), Handbook of Political Theory (pp. 239-249) London., Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: Sage Publications.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • D'Agostino Fred and O'Brien Mia (2007). Convening a university program or major: Curriculum leadership or career suicide?. In: Crisp, Geoffrey and Hicks, Margaret, Enhancing higher education, theory and scholarship, proceedings of the 30th HERSDA annual conference (CD=ROM), Adelaide, 8-11 July. Higher education research and development society of Australasia (HERDSA) inc annual conference, Adelaide, South Australia, (1-14). 8-11 July 2007.

  • D'Agostino, F. B. (2005). Rituals of cosmopolitanism. In: D. Ellison and I. Woodward, Sites of Cosmopolitanism: Citizenship, Aesthetics, Culture. Sites of Cosmopolitanism Conference, Brisbane, Australia, (). 6-8 July 2005.

  • D'Agostino, Fred (2004). From the organization to the division of cognitive labor. In: , Proceedings of the Politics, Philosophy and Economics Workshop. Politics, Philosophy and Economics Workshop, New Orleans, USA, (1-24). 27-28 March, 2004.

  • Rooney, D., McKenna, B. and D'Agostino, F. B. (2004). Wisdom as an attribute of knowledge work. In: Prof Mao-Wei Hung and Prof Yuh-Jzer Joung, Proceedings of the International Conference on Knowledge Management in Asia Pacific (KMAP). International Conference of Knowledge Management in Asia Pacific (KMAP), Taipei, Taiwan, (118-127). 7-8 December, 2004.

Other Outputs


PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision