UOW libraries

Passmore Philosophy Collection

John Arthur Passmore AC (1914 – 2004) was one of Australia’s pre-eminent philosophers, a major figure in the history of ideas and one of the first to give shape to the field of ‘applied philosophy’. In 1988 he provided an initial donation of books from his personal and working library. Following his death in 2004, his family offered the remainder of his library to UOW. The books are a valuable addition of around 2000 items in the areas of philosophy, ethics, logic, moral thought and the history of thought.

The Passmore Collection provides an indication of the eclectic nature of his interests and supplements his personal papers and writings that have been donated to the National Library of Australia.


1934 T. S. Eliot, Literary Society, University of Sydney
1951 Ralph Cudworth, Cambridge University Press
1952 Hume’s intentions, Cambridge University Press
1957 A hundred years of philosophy, Duckworth and Co
1961 Philosophical reasoning, Duckworth and Co
1965 Introduction to Joseph Priestly, Collier Books
1970 The perfectibility of man, Duckworth and Co
1974 Man’s responsibility to nature, Duckworth and Co
1978 Science and its critics, Rutgers University Press
1980 The philosophy of teaching, Duckworth and Co
1985 Recent philosophers, Duckworth and Co
1991 Serious art, Duckworth and Co
1997 Memoirs of a semi-detached Australian, Melbourne University Press


1914 Born 9 September, Manly NSW
1918-28 Attended Manly Public School
1929-30 Attended Sydney Boys’ High School
1931-34 Studied at University of Sydney, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts, first class honours in Philosophy and English literature
1935-49 Successively Tutor, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Sydney
1950-54 Professor of Philosophy at Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand
1955 Reader of Philosophy, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University
1959 Professor of Philosophy, Australian National University
1965 Awarded the Mackie Medal by the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science
1967-70 Visiting Scholar, Institute of Education, London
1971 Visiting Fellow, Clare Hall, Cambridge, United Kingdom
1974 Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Science
1974-77 President of the Australian Academy of Humanities
1976 Gauss Lecturer, Princeton University
1978 Visiting Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford
1979 Foreign Member of the Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters
1980 Tanner Lecturer, Cambridge University
1980-82 University Fellow in History of Ideas, Australian National University
1981 Boyer Lecturer for the ABC, presenting a series of discussions on the limits of government
1985-91 Visiting Distinguished Professor and General Editor, Bertrand Russell Project, McMaster University, Canada
1992 Honorary Graduate, University of Wollongong
1993 Awarded the Order of Australia for his contribution to philosophy
1995-2004 Visiting Fellow in History and Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Australian National University
Last reviewed: 13 January, 2017

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