Honorary Professor, School of Mathematics and Statistics, UNSW

Brief history

Research activities



Opinion and News

Student supervision


UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics

© Copyright 2022 James Franklin


Opinion and News

I will speak at the Australasian Association of Philosophy conference in July on 'Ethics: Ditch casuistry, start with axiology'.

I commented for an ABC story on Australian materialism.

On May 25 I spoke to the Aisling Society of Sydney on 'Irish Australian Catholics: the tribal faith of a semi-enclosed community' ... video.

I spoke to the HELIAIA II: UPLB Undergraduate Philosophy Conference on May 7, on freedom ... text

I was interviewed on the work of David Stove on the Hermitix podcast on 1 Apr.

The Science of Conjecture was listed in '20 Inspirational Books Nassim Taleb Recommends Reading', Mar 24.

I was interviewed on Northern Vibe on 17 Jan 2022 on rationality in science.

On 1 Dec 2021 I spoke on 'Quantification in ethics' in the University of Central Florida's Ethically Speaking series. (video)

The Oct 2021 HPS&ST Newsletter includes my opinion piece on 'Mathematics as a science of the real world: Aristotelian realist philosophy of mathematics'.

I spoke on Oct 8, 2021 on 'How to sell the virtue of restraint: Casablanca' in the University of Notre Dame Australia's workshop on Screeing Virtue, Screening Vice: What can films and television shows tell us about virtue and vice? (video)

In the Oct 2021 New Criterion, some thoughts on one of the "great philosophers", Bishop Berkeley.

Cardinal Pell in his Prison Journal (16 Sept 2019) is unhappy with the advice I gave his lawyers on multiplying probabilities.

On July 13 I spoke at the Australasian Association of Philosophy conference on 'Emergentism in the spectrum of cosmological views'.

On Apr 12 I spoke on the virtue of temperance to Theology on Tap ... details

My story, Jesus' PhD, for Easter.

I am mentioned in a list of Australian philosophers ordered by number of google searches for them.

On 31 Mar I spoke to the Glebe Realists on the Sydney philosopher David Stove ... text

On 27 Feb 2021 I spoke at the launch of Wanda Skowronska's biography of Fr Paul Stenhouse.

A Faculti interview on Aristotelian philosophy of mathematics, Feb 2021.

In Dec 2020 I spoke to the UNSW Conservatives on 'What it's like being a conservative in academia?" ... video (10 mins in)

I spoke to the Glebe Realists on the life and work of philosopher D.M. Armstrong on 3 Nov 2020 ... video ... text.

I was interviewed in the Philosophy and What Matters series on D.M. Armstrong and truthmakers.

On the Resources section of the Australian Catholic Historical Society website I have created pages on Catholic intellectual life, women in the Australian Church, Irish Catholic Australians, Controversies and scandals, and the Sexual abuse crisis ... story on Cathnews.

A brief (8 min) video introduction to Aristotelian realist philosophy of mathematics, and one (16 mins) on proof in mathematics; plus an interview on 'Is mathematics science?'

Video is available of my talk on 'Mathematics and Ethics: The Two Sciences with Demonstrable Truths' in the Scholarship at the Cathedral series. (text)

I debated with Peter Slezak on 'The moral responsibility of intellectuals' on Feb 27, 2020 ... video

A podcast on themes from Aristotelian realist philosophy of mathematics.

I spoke to the Australian Catholic Historical Society on 'Catholic rural virtue: ideal and reality' on Feb 16, 2020 ... text ... podcast

My eulogy for Peter Coleman, delivered at his funeral on Apr 8, 2019.

I spoke to the Sydney Realists on 'The realism of Aquinas: the good, the true, the good, the beautiful' on Mar 19, 2019 ... text

My reaction to Cardinal Pell's conviction.

Paul Thagard writes "The current philosophy of mathematics that fits best with what is known about minds and science is James Franklin's Aristotelian realism."

In Feb 2019 I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales.

On 11 Nov 2018 I spoke on mathematical realism at the American Catholic Philosophical Assoc. conference in San Diego.

The Japanese translation of my book The Science of Conjecture, by Ikuko Nanjo, has received a prize from the Japan Society of Translators.

My thoughts on the "cognitive virtues" appeared in the Aug/Sept 2018 issue of St James' Church magazine Connections.

On 7 and 12 June 2018 I spoke on nondeductive methods in mathematics at the PhilMath Intersem at the University of Paris 7.

My brief biography of philosopher David Stove appears in the Australian Dictionary of Biography online.

On 20 Apr I spoke via videolink on 'How I taught the world's only course on ethics in mathematics' at EiM1: The first meeting on ethics in mathematics at Cambridge University ... video ... text.

On 13 April 2018 I spoke on definitions in mathematics at the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science workshop on Definitions in early modern natural philosophy, logic and mathematics.

On 30 Sept 2017 I discussed religion and atheism with Peter Slezak and Uthman Badar ... video

On 13 Sept 2017 the High Court of Australia's judgment in The Queen v Dookheea referred to my discussion of proof beyond reasonable doubt in The Science of Conjecture.

On 12 Sept I spoke on 'Hunting down conscientious objectors in medicine' at the conference on conscience and conscientious objection in health care at Macquarie University.

I have created a Wikipedia article on Ethics in mathematics. Contributions welcome.

On June 5-6 2017 I spoke at a conference in York on Molyneux's Question.

On Nov 30 2016 I spoke on 'The Sydney Intellectual/Religious Scene 1916-2016' at the Heretics Centenary Conference at St Paul's College, Sydney University ... paper.

An opinion piece about attacks on conscientious objectors in medicine. Similar issues are discussed in my submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Status of the Human Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief.

On Sept 24 2016 I spoke on Catholic missions to Australia aborigines at the Australian Catholic Historical Society's conference at North Sydney.

I gave some some thoughts on logic on Radio National's Philosopher's Zone, 11/9/16.

My article 'Global and local' appears in Princeton University Press's selection of Best Writing on Mathematics 2015 ... story.

On 9/5/15 I spoke at the Blackeath Philosophy Forum on 'Mathematics - key to the real world'.

I spoke to the Glebe Realists on Realist foundations of ethics in 2015.

Viewpoint: Is there something mysterious about mathematics? (Aeon ideas).

My book on Archbishop Mannix was launched in Melbourne on St Patrick's Day, Mar 17 2015, and in Sydney at the Australian Catholic Historical Society's meeting on Apr 19 ... the video ... comment.

On Dec 21 2014 I spoke on ABC Radio National's Philosopher's Zone on the philosophy of mathematics ... Radio National's opinion piece (named one of RN's top 10 articles of 2014).

I debated with Norman Wildberger on infinity on 23/9/14 ... details ... video.

An Aristotelian Realist Philosophy of Mathematics was reviewed in the Sept 2014 New Criterion and in the 2015 Philosophia Mathematica.

On ABC Radio Philosopher's Zone, I gave a tribute to David Armstrong and spoke at the official Sydney University memorial service for him on 16/7/14.

My book An Aristotelian Realist Philosophy of Mathematics: Mathematics as the Science of Quantity and Structure was published by Palgrave Macmillan in Apr 2014.

On 19/3/14, I spoke on extreme risks at the LSE Choice Group seminar.

On 28/1/14, I spoke on 'The genius of the scholastics and contemporary issues' to the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

On 25/1/14, I spoke at the conference on scientism of the Abraham Kuyper Centre for Science and Religion, Amsterdam.

On 15/12/13, I spoke on 'Lessons from Artificial Intelligence on the uniqueness of human cognition' at the conference on Natural Cognition at the University of Macau.

On 5/10/13, I gave a keynote address on Australian philosophy to the Australasian Postgraduate Philosophy Conference.

On 8/9/13, I MCed the book launch of Wanda Skowronska's To Bonegilla from Somewhere.

On 17/5/13, I gave the opening keynote address at the International Young Scholars Conference, Boracay, Philippines.

On 29/1/13, I organised and MCed the book launch of Stephanie Jarrett's Liberating Aboriginal People From Violence. ... flyer ... account of the launch ... another ... Bess Price thanked James and Irene Franklin for their support in her maiden speech in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly in 2012.

In The Australian of 22/12/12, J.M. Coetzee included The Science of Conjecture among his Books of the Year recommendations (also praised by Nassim Taleb).

I have edited the latest (2012) issue of the Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society.

On 12/12/12, I spoke to the Ambrose Centre for Religious Liberty on religious freedom ... text.

The Australian Financial Review of 10/11/12 mentioned my views on St John's College. I am a member of the new St John's College Council

I discussed euthanasia at Philoagora on Nov 6, 2012.

I spoke on Pascal’s Wager on ABC-RN Philosopher's Zone on 12 Nov 2011 ... transcript

I spoke on Christianity in 21st century Australia on Dec 1 2010 ... flyer

I spoke on Australian philosophy at the Sydney Philosophy Forum, 27 Aug 2010.

I discussed philosophy of mathematics on ABC Radio National’s Philosopher’s Zone, 15 May 2010.

I debated the virtue of prudence with Bob Carr and others on ABC Radio National’s Spirit of Things program, 4 Apr 2010.

At the book launch of What Science Knows on 15 Dec 2009, I gave some thoughts on what to think about climate change.

I spoke at the Australian Catholic Students Association Conference, Brisbane, July 11 2009 on social justice

I spoke at Philoagora in June 16 2009 on the relevance of philosophy to science ... text ... version on Philosopher’s Zone, Radio National

I spoke at the Sydney Writers’ Festival on May 22 2009 on Sydney philosophy ...text.

I spoke on temperance at Warrane College’s Autumn Seminar, May 2 2009 ... details

On ABC Radio National Counterpoint, 6 Apr 2009, I discussed Maths and the financial crisis

I spoke on 'When science doesn’t know’ at the Evidence, Science and Public Policy conference, Sydney University, on Mar 26 2009.

I debated ‘Can atheists justify morality?’ at UNSW, Mar 30 2009 ... details

The Australian 23 July 2008 had a story on my work on an Australian Database of Indigenous Violence ... Christopher Pearson column.

I spoke on The Philosophy of Mathematics and Infinity to the Philoagora forum on July 22 2008.

I made a submission to the Review of Australian Higher Education, on the need for business to pay for the supply of graduates, especially via internships.

I made a submission to the 2008 Quarantine and Biosecurity Review.

I spoke on social justice on Philosopher’s Zone interview 1 Dec 2007... Counterpoint 26 Nov. An Online Opinion piece, ‘Social justice’: Utopian fantasy or foundation of prosperity?

On Aug 18 2007 I discussed the worst arguments in philosophy on ABC Radio National's Philosopher's Zone ... transcript.

On July 10 2007 I spoke on ‘Australian philosophy - a distinctive tradition’ at Philoagora.

My presentation on ‘Happiness and restraint’ to the Happiness and Its Causes Conference on 15 June was printed in The Australian's Higher Ed Supplement.

I spoke at the Federation of Catholic Scholars conference in April 2007 on 'Natural law ethics in disciplines abstract to applied'.

I spoke on ‘Why be moral?’ on ABC Radio National’s Counterpoint on Apr 2, 2007 ... transcript.

Opinion piece on 'Quantitative risk: actuaries' new sister profession', in Actuary Australia (p. 10)

I gave a series of four lectures on the foundations of ethics at the Aquinas Academy in March 2007 ... details... first lecture... 2nd... 3rd... 4th.

The book launch of Catholic Values and Australian Realities was held on April 30 2006 ... an account.

A video on Wolfram’s A New Kind of Science (starts at 2:00).

Letter in The Australian on the Business Council of Australia's whinges about the skills of graduates.

On Radio National’s Encounter, Mar 12 2006, I debated “Uncertainty” about postmodernism and religion.

In 2006-8 I held an ARC Discovery Grant for a project on the virtue of temperance in Australia and from 2007-9 one for a project on the philosophy of mathematics.

I was awarded the 2005 Eureka Prize for Research in Ethics (story). (Cathnews story)

On Oct 3 2005 I was interviewed on Radio National’s Counterpoint on restraint; see the Restraint Project.

I was interviewed on Radio National’s Philosopher's Zone on Relativism and Cardinal Ratzinger on 27 Apr 2005.

On June 11 2004 the Times Literary Supplement gave its lead review to Corrupting the Youth. I was “in conversation” with Rai Gaita and Jean Curthoys on the book at Gleebooks on July 7, 2004.

I debated Patricia Petersen on ‘Is there anything wrong with pornography?’ at the Philorum Philosophy Forum on June 2, 2004 ... text.

I debated God and Science at the Blackheath Philosophy Forum Feb 7, 2004.

See also my collections of Myths about the Middle Ages; self-reference jokes; my page on School of Mathematics alumni.

Some opinions on the direction of mathematics education can be found at Gazette Letter .

Something on the excitement of mathematics in the 2004 ABC radio talk, 'A mathematical mind'.

My day, 15 Apr 2005; a profile (2006).

The Science of Conjecture appeared in 2001 and was widely reviewed ... SMH article.

In 2001 I created a page of links to Australia's wackiest postmodernists ... analysis.

In 1998 I set up and taught the world's first course on Professional Issues and Ethics in Mathematics.

Mathematics for the intelligent, 1997.

Obituary of David Stove, 1994.

Obituary of Albert Daoud, 1994.

Debate of 1990 on history and philosophy of science in science education.

Warning on calculators in exams, 1990.

Does maths make you think logically? 1988; launch of Introduction to Proofs in Mathematics.

I completed a PhD in algebra at the University of Warwick in 1981.

As a third year undergraduate student at Sydney University in 1973, I had a front-row view of the "Sydney philosophy disturbances".

I was awarded the T.G. Room medal for first place in mathematics in the 1970 HSC.