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  Stephen Hetherington

Emeritus Professor of Philosophy *

University of New South Wales, Sydney

* 'Emeritus' is a title. It is also actively apt: I describe myself as emeritising.  (I have not seen the word used by others; it should be, though.) I am as academically busy as ever, still writing and editing.

UNSW's initial response in 2020 to The Virus included their offering voluntary redundancies. So here I am -- emeritising.

      Introductory books
      Edited books

Current projects




B.A. (Hons I) (University of Sydney)
B. Phil. (University of Oxford)
M.A. (University of Pittsburgh)
Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh)



I have written six research monographs and six introductory books, mostly in epistemology (but also some metaphysics). I have edited, co-edited, and general-edited several other books. 



Epistemologys Paradox (Rowman & Littlefield, 1992)

My first book argued -- as a piece of epistemology -- that it is impossible to develop a rationally coherent theory of knowledge, even of epistemic justification. That sounds confronting. Does it imply that all epistemological thinking, including itself, must fail? In a sense, yes. Is that worrying? It might be.

A short paper that succinctly conveys some of the spirit and thinking animating that book is my 2010 Elusive epistemological justification. It is a revised version of a 1992 paper called Lacking Knowledge and justification by theorising about them, a paper that was cited by David Lewis in note 1 of his noted 1996 paper Elusive knowledge’.)


Good Knowledge, Bad Knowledge (Clarendon [Oxford University] Press, 2001)

Having set that challenge, in my first book, to any attempt to theorise about knowledge or its kin, my next book also set a challenge. Its confrontational sub-title was On Two Dogmas of Epistemology. Those two dogmas are knowledge-absolutism and justificationism. The book argues that each of them might be false.


The first dogma insists that all knowledge is absolute, denying that it is possible to know even a specific fact or truth more, or less, well, with knowledge admitting of grades or degrees. The second dogma assures us that any instance of knowledge must include some good epistemic justification, such as good evidence.


But I develop an alternative model of knowledge, on which we discard those two dogmas. (a) I call the model knowledge-gradualism. It admits the possibility of there being better, or worse, knowledge even of a specific fact. This model has significant benefits. It allows us to defuse some sceptical arguments, perhaps along with the Gettier Problem. (b) I also argued that once we admit the possibility of grades or degrees of knowing, we should allow the conceptual possibility of there being a worst possible grade or degree of knowing. And that, I argue, would be what is often called a mere true belief: it would be a true belief that lacks all justificatory support. How often does this arise? Maybe not often. Is it what we usually want from knowledge? Not usually. Is it therefore not knowledge? Not if this book is correct.


How to Know (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011)

My next book continued that spirit of questioning some theses that seem to be central to contemporary epistemological theorising. This time, I concentrated upon a further aspect of how we are generally told to conceive of knowledge. I argued that all knowledge is knowledge-how -- practical knowledge, knowledge how to do something. It is not uncommon for epistemologists to argue either that (a) knowledge-that and knowledge-how are (metaphysically) different kinds of knowledge, or that (b) all knowledge-how is a kind of knowledge only insofar as it involves, or even is, some form of knowledge-that. I offer another conceptual option -- that all knowledge-that is a kind of knowledge only insofar as it is (and hence involves) some form of  knowledge-how. As I said, all knowing is practical, in the sense of being some or other complex of abilities or skills. 


And then, because abilities or skills in general admit of grades or degrees, this move -- I call it knowledge-practicalism -- provides new support for the key idea present in Good Knowledge, Bad Knowledge (above). That key idea was  knowledge-gradualism, and it becomes even more plausible if this book is correct in its main idea. In short,   knowledge-practicalism begets knowledge-gradualism.


Knowledge and the Gettier Problem (Cambridge University Press, 2016)

For some time (starting in the 1990s), I had been arguing, in several papers, for what I saw as fundamental, yet ignored, failings in how epistemologists were engaging with the challenge that had supposedly been set for them in 1963 by Edmund Gettier, with his famous paper on how not to define knowing. I found it difficult, though, to do justice to how deeply embedded those failings were within post-Gettier  attempts to understand the nature of knowledge. So I wrote this book. I see those failings as afflicting post-Gettier epistemology in large ways, ones that cannot be evaluated by a mere consulting of one's intuitions, for example, in response to imagined cases.


The book is thus a detailed argument for post-Gettier epistemology's being built upon some basic mistakes. Those mistakes undermine all of the many kinds of theory (of knowledge) that have been championed in response to Gettier's famous challenge. The failings are methodological and metaphysical. 


That might suggest a book in which readers are guided, in standard fashion, through one post-Gettier theory of knowledge after another, fault being found with each in turn, and consequent frustration being expressed. Not so, though: the book is an attack on the foundations -- methodological and metaphysical, as I said -- of post-Gettier theories of knowledge. And this is established via a general ‘ master argument’, showing that none of the ways in which epistemologists have sought to explain what goes wrong within a Gettier case succeeds: none of (epistemic) luck, safety, sensitivity, or virtue does so, in particular. How could that be so? The problem begins with how epistemologists have formulated, from the outset, the challenge of understanding ‘Gettier cases’ and what we need to explain in response to them.


The book includes a critical chapter on the usual reliance on intuitions as a way of engaging with Gettiers challenge. It ends with a compatibilist proposal, showing how, even if any Gettiered belief is not knowledge, knowledge can still be a kind of justified true belief.


Defining Knowledge (Cambridge University Press, 2022)

Some ancient Greek philosophy -- both Socratic and Aristotelian -- meets some current epistemology. Conflict ensues. Who wins? Ah, wouldn't we all like to know? What I can say is that some highly noticeable strands in current epistemology should become a little less purely current, and a little more welcomely ancient. Epistemologists need to attend more carefully to something that is methodologically implied by their oft-cited focus on (what I call) Knowing's Further Features question: what else, if anything, must a belief be, other than true, if it is to be knowledge? Answer: much much less than is standardly claimed. Indeed, does a belief need only to be true, if it is to be knowledge? I wend my way towards that resting-place, by looking, with gratitude, at some scholarly writing on Socratic  analysis, and some on Aristotle on definition. I argue that a notable strain of contemporary epistemology has long overlooked some key constraints, methodological in origin and metaphysical in outcome, on how we should approach the challenge of defining what it is to know a fact or truth. ('But hasn't Timothy Williamson shown us that we do not need to meet that challenge of finding a conceptual analysis of knowledge?' Alas, I do not believe so, as I explain along the way, in this discussion.) 


Stephen Hetherington on Epistemology: Knowing, More or Less (Bloomsbury, 2024) -- (edited by J.J. Joaquin and Mark Dacela)

I call this more a polygraph than a monograph; yet where else on this page does it best belong? It gathers together some of my previously published papers, along with two newly written chapters. Wait a moment, though: there is also an interview with my, by JJ and Mark, the book's excellent editors. It was they who conceived of this book's existence in the first place; it is they who close the book by asking me some questions about aspects of my epistemological efforts - along with a few questions reminding me that, yes, I have also been an actual person along the way. Childhood? It's there. Early philosophy studies? Also there. Start of my career? Why not? And then we plunge into some epistemology. Happy as a pig in muck: who could ask for anything more?

Introductory books


My first epistemology textbook (Knowledge Puzzles, for Westview, 1996) was playful and irreverent. It is a sequence of very short chapters, with many puzzles, and some lame jokes.


My second textbook was less playful, but wider-ranging, covering many topics from both metaphysics and epistemology. (I especially enjoyed writing the chapter on the meaning of life.) It was Reality? Knowledge? Philosophy! (Edinburgh University Press, 2003).


A few years later, I focused on self-knowledge. I asked, as Descartes did, so famously and influentially, what, how, and whether I could know, beginning with knowing even my own hand. That book was Self-Knowledge (Broadview, 2007). (And here is a radio interview that I did about the book. The interview was with the now-late Alan Saunders on ABC Radio National's The Philosopher's Zone.)


Two years after that, my focus was on sceptical ideas, as they can arise in many areas of thought, including personally and socially important ones: Yes, But How Do You Know? (Broadview, 2009). (I also did a radio interview, again with Alan Saunders on ABC's The Philosopher's Zone, about this book.)


Then I took a break from introductions, until I was asked to write the very short and simple What Is Epistemology? (Polity Press, 2019: here is a brief blog posting on it). It tries to guide readers into their very first attempt to build a theory of knowledge, and it closes with a chapter on applied epistemology.


Polity then asked me whether I would like to write a wider-ranging introductory book. 'Yes', I replied. The result is this:

Being Philosophical: An Introduction to Philosophy and Its Methods (Polity Press, 2024) (Here is a Polity blog post for the book.) If you are interested in metaphysics, or epistemology, or moral philosophy, then I hope that you will enjoy this book.  

Edited books

I began by asking several philosophers to describe possible future directions that epistemology might take: Epistemology Futures (Clarendon [Oxford University] Press, 2006).

In that same year, I edited a book arising from a conference that I had organised. The result was a snapshot of epistemology being done in Australia at the time: Aspects of Knowing (Elsevier, 2006). 

My next adventure in editing was an overview, in ten chapters, of some
key moments in epistemology's history: Epistemology: The Key Thinkers (Continuum, 2012). A second edition, with an added chapter on medieval epistemology, appeared more recently (Bloomsbury, 2019).

Then I was asked to edit an anthology of many classic and current writings in metaphysics and epistemology, introducing each one with some brief comments (and trimming the writings so that they can be grasped more easily): Metaphysics and Epistemology: A Guided Anthology (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014).

I stepped back from epistemology with my next piece of editing, asking for some thoughts on the nature of philosophical greatness: What Makes a Philosopher Great? (Routledge, 2017).

Then came an invitation to edit a book in CUP's series, Classic Philosophical Arguments, on The Gettier Problem (Cambridge University Press, 2019). (Here is a brief piece at CUP on the book.)

At that same time, I was general-editing a four-volume history of (non-sceptical) epistemology: The Philosophy of Knowledge: A History (Bloomsbury, 2019).

The fourth of those four volumes was co-edited by me, along with Markos Valaris: Knowledge in Contemporary Philosophy (Bloomsbury, 2019).

I have also co-edited, this time with Nicholas D. Smith, a book blending ancient Greek with contemporary epistemology: What the Ancients Offer to Contemporary Epistemology (Routledge, 2020).


David Macarthur, quite some time ago, suggested that we jointly edit this volume: Living Skepticism: Essays in Epistemology and Beyond (Brill, 2022).

Is philosophy always as bold -- as adventurous -- as it should be? I fear not. But it can be so, and it is so, in Extreme Philosophy: Bold Ideas and A Spirit of Progress (Routledge, 2024).


I have more than one hundred published or forthcoming papers. Here I list some of them. I do so by grouping them under topic headings. (A few papers appear in more than one grouping.) Almost all are in epistemology; a few are in metaphysics. (Some of these topics are also discussed, more fully, in one or more of my books -- above. Some of these papers, too, have been used in some of those books, as I indicate below.) I will add an asterisk to a few of my favourite papers, in case that is of interest.


* ‘Knowing failably.’ The Journal of Philosophy 96 (1999), 565–87   [Some of this appears also in my Good Knowledge, Bad Knowledge

Fallibilism and knowing that one is not dreaming.’ Canadian Journal of Philosophy 32 (2002), 83–102

Fallibilism.’ The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2005)

Knowledge’s boundary problem.’ Synthese 150 (2006), 41–56  [This became part of ch. 1 in my How to Know]

* ‘Knowledge that works: A tale of two conceptual models.’ In Aspects of Knowing: Epistemological Essays, (ed.) S. Hetherington (Oxford: Elsevier, 2006), 219–40

Libraries and fallible knowledge.’ Think 11 (2012), 65–72

The significance of fallibilism within Gettier’s challenge: A case study.’ Philosophia 40 (2012), 539–47

* ‘Concessive knowledge-attributions: Fallibilism and gradualism.’ Synthese 190 (2013), 2835–51

* ‘Understanding fallible warrant and fallible knowledge: Three proposals.’ Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (2016), 270–82

‘Skepticism and fallibilism.’ In Skepticism: From Antiquity to the Present, (eds.) D. Machuca and B. Reed (London: Bloomsbury, 2018), pp. 609–19

* ‘Some fallibilist knowledge: Questioning knowledge-attributions and open knowledge.’ Synthese 198 (2021), 2083–99

Knowing failably and Moorean assertions​, Philosophical Issues (2022)


The sceptic is absolutely mistaken (as is Dretske).’ Philosophical Papers 27 (1998), 29–44  
[Most of this appears in my Good Knowledge, Bad Knowledge]

* ‘Knowing failably.’ The Journal of Philosophy 96 (1999), 565–87  [Some of this appears in Good Knowledge, Bad Knowledge]

* ‘Knowing (how it is) that P: Degrees and qualities of knowledge.’ In Perspectives in Contemporary Epistemology, (ed.) C. de Almeida.  Invited fifty-year anniversary issue of Veritas, 50 (2005), 129–52   [This was the basis for ch. 5 of my How to Know]

Knowledge’s boundary problem.’ Synthese 150 (2006), 41–56  [This contributed to ch. 1 in my How to Know]

Scepticism and ordinary epistemic practice.’ Philosophia 34 (2006), 303–10

‘How to know (that knowledge-that is knowledge-how).’ In Epistemology Futures, (ed.) S. Hetherington (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006), 71–94  [This became the core of ch.2 of my How to Know.]

* ‘Knowledge that works: A tale of two conceptual models.’ In Aspects of Knowing: Epistemological Essays, (ed.) S. Hetherington (Oxford: Elsevier, 2006), 219–40.


* ‘Sceptical insulation and sceptical objectivity.’ Australasian Journal of Philosophy 72 (1994), 411–25

* ‘Gettieristic scepticism.’ Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (1996), 83–97

Scepticism on scepticism.’ Philosophia 25 (1997), 323–30

The sceptic is absolutely mistaken (as is Dretske).’ Philosophical Papers 27 (1998), 29–44  
 [Most of this appears also in my Good Knowledge, Bad Knowledge]

Free will as a sceptical threat to knowing.’ Principia 3 (1999), 139–54

Re: Brains in a vat.’ Dialectica 54 (2000), 307–11

Fallibilism and knowing that one is not dreaming.’ Canadian Journal of Philosophy 32 (2002), 83–102

Scepticism and ordinary epistemic practice.’ Philosophia 34 (2006), 303–10

* ‘Knowledge that works: A tale of two conceptual models.’ In  Aspects of Knowing: Epistemological Essays, (ed.) S. Hetherington (Oxford: Elsevier, 2006), 219–40

* ‘Sceptical possibilities? No worries.’ Synthese 168 (2009), 97–118

The Cogito: Indubitability without knowledge?Principia 13 (2009), 85–91

* ‘Elusive epistemological justification.’ Synthese 174 (2010), 315–30 

'The Cartesian dreaming argument for external-world skepticism.’ In Just The Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Arguments in Western Philosophy, (eds.) M. Bruce and S. Barbone (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 137–41.  [In fact, that published version included many typesetting mistakes, since my corrections to the page proofs were apparently overlooked. So, here is a pdf of the correct version.]

* ‘Skeptical challenges and knowing actions.’ Philosophical Issues 23 (2013), 18–39

‘Skepticism and fallibilism.’ In Skepticism: From Antiquity to the Present, (eds.) D. Machuca and B. Reed (London: Bloomsbury, 2018), pp. 609–19

Should you be afraid? Aloneness scepticism and Descartes.’ Think 17 (2018), 15–25

The Grue Problem

‘* ‘Why there need not be any Grue Problem about inductive inference as such.’ Philosophy 76 (2001), 127–36

The Grue possibility as a sceptical possibility?Philosophia 29 (2002), 253–60

The Gettier Problem

Gettier and scepticism.’ Australasian Journal of Philosophy 70 (1992), 277–85

* ‘Gettieristic scepticism.’ Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (1996), 83–97

* ‘Actually knowing.’ The Philosophical Quarterly 48 (1998), 453–69

* ‘Knowing failably.’ The Journal of Philosophy 96 (1999), 565–87  [Some of this also appears in my Good Knowledge, Bad Knowledge]

A fallibilist and wholly internalist solution to the Gettier Problem.’ Journal of Philosophical Research 26 (2001), 307–24  [This was also used in ch. 7 of my Knowledge and the Gettier Problem]

Gettier problems.’ The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2005)  [This paper was the basis for 'The Gettier Problem and 'Gettier Problem' -- both of these appearing below.]

* ‘Knowledge that works: A tale of two conceptual models.’ In Aspects of Knowing: Epistemological Essays, (ed.) S. Hetherington (Oxford: Elsevier, 2006), 219–40

‘The Gettier non-problem.’ Logos & Episteme 1 (2010), 85–107

‘The Gettier problem.’ In The Routledge Companion to Epistemology, (eds.) S. Bernecker and D. Pritchard (New York: Routledge, 2011), 119–30

Abnormality and Gettier situations: An explanatory proposal.’ Ratio 24 (2011), 176–91  [This was used in ch. 3 of my Knowledge and the Gettier Problem]

The significance of fallibilism within Gettier’s challenge: A case study.’ Philosophia 40 (2012), 539–47  [This was adapted by a section in ch. 5 of my Knowledge and the Gettier Problem]

The Gettier illusion: Gettier-partialism and infallibilism.’ Synthese 188 (2012), 217–30

Gettier Problem.’ In The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, (ed.) T. Crane (Routledge, 2016)

Gettier cases: Transworld identity and counterparts.’ In Explaining Knowledge: New Essays on the Gettier Problem, (eds.) R. Borges, C. de Almeida, and P. Klein (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), pp. 366–83

‘Introduction: Meet the Gettier Problem.’ In The Gettier Problem, (ed.) S. Hetherington (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), pp. 1–10

* ‘The Gettier Problem’s explicability problem.’ In The Gettier Problem, (ed.) S. Hetherington (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), pp. 218–34

* ‘Gettier’s actual challenge: Methodology and metaphysics.’ In Socratically: A Festschrift in Honor of Claudio de Almeida, (eds.) E. Alves, J.R. Fett, and K. Etchevery (Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS [PUCRS University Press], 2021), pp. 583–611

Epistemic internalism

* ‘Epistemic internalism’s dilemma.’ American Philosophical Quarterly 27 (1990), 245–51

On being epistemically internal.’ Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 51 (1991), 855–71

A fallibilist and wholly internalist solution to the Gettier Problem.Journal of Philosophical Research 26 (2001), 307–24  [This was adapted in ch. 7 of my Knowledge and the Gettier Problem]

‘The grounds of knowledge need not be accessible.’ In Problems in Epistemology and Metaphysics: An Introduction to Contemporary Debates, (ed.) S.B. Cowan (London: Bloomsbury, 2020), pp. 107–18

‘Response to Hasan.’ In Problems in Epistemology and Metaphysics: An Introduction to Contemporary Debates, (ed.) S.B. Cowan (London: Bloomsbury, 2020), pp. 119–22


Knowledge as mere true belief

* ‘Is this a world where knowledge has to include justification?Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2007), 41–69  [This was also the basis for ch. 4 of my How to Know.]

‘Knowing as simply being correct.’ [in Chinese] Philosophical Analysis (Shanghai) 8 (2017), 41–53; [in English] in A Dialogue between Law and Philosophy: Proceedings of the International Conference on Facts and Evidence, (eds.) B. Zhang and S. Tong (Beijing: Chinese University of Political Science and Law Press, 2018), pp. 68–82

* ‘The redundancy problem: From knowledge-infallibilism to knowledge-minimalism.Synthese 195 (2018), 4683–702

* ‘Knowledge-minimalism: Reinterpreting Plato’s Meno on knowledge and true belief.’ In What the Ancients Offer to Contemporary Epistemology, (eds.) S. Hetherington and N.D. Smith (New York: Routledge, 2020), pp. 25–40

‘Epistemic alchemy?’ In Illuminating Errors: New Essays on Knowledge from Non-Knowledge, (eds.) R. Borges and I. Schnee (Routledge, 2024), pp. 104–19.

Knowing luckily 

‘Knowledge can be lucky.’ In Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, 2nd edn, (eds.) M. Steup, J. Turri, and E. Sosa (Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2014), pp. 164–76

* ‘Conceiving of knowledge in modal terms?’ In Knowledge in Contemporary Philosophy, (eds.) S. Hetherington and M. Valaris (London: Bloomsbury, 2019), pp. 231–48

* ‘The luck/knowledge incompatibility thesis.’ In The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy and Psychology of Luck, (eds.) I.M. Church and R.J. Hartman (New York: Routledge, 2019), pp. 295–304


‘Knowing can include luck.’ In Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, 3rd edn, (eds.) B. Roeber, E. Sosa, M. Steup, and J. Turri (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2024), pp. 151–9 

‘On whether knowing can include luck: Asking the correct question.’ In Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, 3rd edn, (eds.) B. Roeber, E. Sosa, M. Steup, and J. Turri (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2024), pp. 169–71


‘How to know (that knowledge-that is knowledge-how).’ In Epistemology Futures, (ed.) S. Hetherington (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006), 71–94

Not actually Hume’s problem: On induction and knowing-how.’ Philosophy 83 (2008), 459–81

Knowing-that, knowing-how, and knowing philosophically.’ Grazer Philosophische Studien 77 (2008), 307–24  [This contributed to ch. 2 of my How to Know]

* ‘Knowledge and knowing: Ability and manifestation.’ In Conceptions of Knowledge, (ed.) S. Tolksdorf (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2011), 73–100

(with Karyn Lai) ‘Practising to know: Practicalism and Confucian philosophy.’ Philosophy 87 (2012), 375–93

(with Karyn Lai) ‘Knowing-how and knowing-to.’ In The Philosophical Challenge from China, (ed.) B. Bruya (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2015), pp. 279–301

Technological knowledge-that as knowledge-how: A comment.’ Philosophy & Technology 28 (2015), 567–72

‘Self-knowledge as an intellectual and moral virtue?’ In Moral and Intellectual Virtues in Western and Chinese Philosophy: The Turn Towards Virtue, (eds.) C. Mi, M. Slote, and E. Sosa (New York: Routledge, 2015), pp. 64–76

* ‘Knowledge as potential for action.’ European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 9 (2017)

* ‘Knowledge and knowledge-claims: Austin and beyond.’ In Interpreting Austin: Critical Essays, (ed.) S.L. Tsohatzidis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), pp. 206–22

Creating the world: God’s knowledge as power.’ Suri 8 (2019), 1–18

The epistemic basing relation and knowledge-that as knowledge-how.’ In Well-Founded Belief: New Essays on the Epistemic Basing Relation, (eds.) J.A. Carter and P. Bondy (New York: Routledge, 2020), pp. 305–23

Knowledge as skill.’ In The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Skill and Expertise, (eds.) E. Fridland and C. Pavese (New York: Routledge, 2020), pp. 168–78

* ‘Knowing to.’ In Knowers and Knowledge in East-West Philosophy: Epistemology Extended, (ed.) K.L. Lai (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022), pp. 17–41

‘Fallible knowing, fallible acting.’ In Living Skepticism: Essays in Epistemology and Beyond, (eds.) S. Hetherington and D. Macarthur (Leiden: Brill, 2022), pp. 179–98.

‘Knowledge practicalism’, in Routledge Handbook of Pragmatism, (eds.) S. Aikin and R. Talisse (Routledge, 2023), pp. 252–63.

Free will and responsibility

Free will as a sceptical threat to knowing.’ Principia 3 (1999), 139–54

Epistemic responsibility: A dilemma.’ The Monist 85 (2002), 398–414

* ‘Alternate possibilities and avoidable moral responsibility.’ American Philosophical Quarterly 40 (2003), 229–39

So-far incompatibilism and the so-far consequence argument.’ Grazer Philosophische Studien 73 (2006), 163–78



* ‘Deathly harm.’ American Philosophical Quarterly 38 (2001), 349–62

Lucretian death: Asymmetries and agency.’ American Philosophical Quarterly 42 (2005), 211–19

* ‘Where is the harm in dying prematurely? An Epicurean answer.The Journal of Ethics 17 (2013), 79–97


and ...

Here are a few papers that don't fit easily, or at all, into those categories, but that I want to mention.

Epistemic disaster averted.’ Analysis 59 (1999), 194–200  [This is on epistemic coherentism]

Photosinthesis: How deceptive images imperil knowledge.’ Think 10 (2005), 99–107  [This is applied epistemology, bearing especially on some deeply immoral actions by the Australian government, when they were badly mistreating -- for immediate political gain -- some asylum seekers.]

* ‘The extended knower.’ Philosophical Explorations 15 (2012), 207–18  [This is a blend of an anti-sceptical argument and the justly famous idea, from Andy Clark and David Chalmers, of the extended mind. The result is a conception of a very extended epistemic agent and how she can know.]

Transient global amnesia and Kantian perception.’ Think 38 (2014), 69–72  [This is about the nature of perception, finding support for a famous Kantian thesis in an unsettling kind of experience that I sometimes have.]


Finally, ...

I would like to mention the papers that began all of this for me -- the three following ones. The first two were (slightly revised) undergraduate essays, each written for coursework in my Honours year at the University of Sydney. The third was written in my first semester as a Ph.D. student at the University of Pittsburgh. It was my first essay in my (first) Aristotle course.

Tooley’s theory of laws of nature.’ Canadian Journal of Philosophy 13 (1983), 101–6   [written for a course on laws of nature, taught by D.M. Armstrong]


Parsons and possible objects.’ Australasian Journal of Philosophy 62 (1984), 246–54   [written for a course on formal metaphysics, taught by John Bacon]


A note on inherence.’ Ancient Philosophy 4 (1984), 218–23   [written for a course on Aristotle, taught by Mary Louise Gill]



Current projects


Well, who knows? I am working on what I hope will be a book. It is on epistemology both contemporary and ancient (ancient Greek). It is slowly taking shape. One of these days it might even breathe and move.

introductory books
edited books
current projects




My wife, Parveen Seehra, is an artist. Her pictures appear on the covers of two of my books -- Reality? Knowledge? Philosophy! (Edinburgh UP, 2003) and How to Know (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011). To see those covers, click on links above (in the entries for those two books). The picture on the cover of How to Know is actually an ink drawing of me.


Here are two of my favourite pictures by her (Going, Going and Gone, in a Single Bound). (The first one now appears on the cover of my book Stephen Hetherington on Epistemology -- see above.)


My father, Norman Hetheringtonwas indirectly famous within Australia. He created the Australian TV show Mr Squiggle, and performed it on the ABC for forty years: he was Mr Squiggle’. It was a show beloved by a few generations of Australian children. Here is a (1965? 1970?) photo of him, along with Patricia Lovell (who was Miss Pat in the show) and Mr Squiggle and Bill Steamshovel (the show's other main character).








Dad was a puppeteer and artist, having been a cartoonist before puppets took over his life. Mr Squiggle was his best-known puppet (and allowed him to blend cartooning with puppetry), but there were many many more that he made and used. A lot of these were made for, and appeared in, store shows, such as school-holidays or pre-Christmas seasons’ in Sydney's largest department stores (e.g. Grace Bros, David Jones) and elsewhere. His puppets were a powerful presence in my childhood --- indeed, in my entire upbringing. (My part-time job when I was an undergraduate student at Sydney University was as a puppeteer. Much earlier than that, here I am at 10, with Dad, in a small newspaper piece publicising a show that he was doing, with my tiny help backstage, during some school holiday period.)

Dad and I went to the same Sydney high school -- Fort Street. It is a public (state) school, academically highly selective in its admission standards, with an outstanding history. It is the oldest publicly funded high school in Australia, having been founded in 1849. Its record of producing leaders and high achievers in many fields -- not only for Australia but further afield -- is extensive and one of the very best in Australia: see this page for a sense of the school's past and present, along with a link at that page to some School Archives. When I was a student there, for example, the Chief Justice of the countrys High Court, along with the country's Governor-General and the States (New South Waless) Premier were Fortians.


Dad was proud of having been a student at Fort St, as am I. For those six years, I travelled nearly one-and-a-half hours each way on public transport, five days a week, to get to and from the school. I must have valued being a student there!


Here is a (School magazine) picture of me, at 13 or 14, looking very happy at having topped my year academically -- very hirsute, too.

And apparently hair continues growing. Who knew? Here I am, at 19 or 20, at Sydney University, pictured unawares, while talking, probably with a prospective new student, at an information desk for the philosophy students' Russellian Society.


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