Advisory Board Memorial

Professor J.J.C. Smart, AC

The End of the World: The Science and Ethics of Human Extinction began with the following praise from J.J.C. Smart

John Leslie details a large number of possible causes of extinction which may chill the reader’s blood, but may even be enjoyed by cheerful pessimists. Optimists might try to get the powers that be to do something about it. His argument does not imply fatalism, since our efforts can change the probabilities. Leslie’s book is of urgent practical as well as theoretical importance: it could well be the most important book of the year.

Professor J.J.C. Smart, AC, 3 Hon DLitts is a Scottish-Australian philosopher. He earned a M.A. from Glasgow University in 1946, a B. Phil from the Queen’s College, Oxford in 1948, and honorary D. Litt degrees from University of St. Andrews in 1983, La Trobe University in 1992, and University of Glasgow in 2001. He was appointed Companion of the Order of Australia in 1990 whose postnominal abbreviation is AC.
From 1948–50 he was a junior research fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Adelaide from 1950–72. From 1972–76 he was Reader in Philosophy at La Trobe University, and from 1976–85 he was Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University. Since 1986 he has been Emeritus Professor at the Australian National University, and has also been an honorary fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford since 1991 and an honorary research scholar at Monash University since 1999. His current interests are metaphysics, philosophy of science and ethics.
Jack has been on the editorial boards of American Philosophy Quarterly, Philosophy of Science, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Behaviorism, and Synthese. In philosophy of mind, Jack is a physicalist. In the 1950s, he was one of the early proponents of the Mind-Brain Identity Theory, which says that particular states of the mind are identical with particular states of the brain. In ethics, he is a defender of utilitarianism.
His books include Atheism and Theism (Great Debates in Philosophy) with John Haldane, Essays Metaphysical and Moral: Selected Philosophical Papers, Ethics, Persuasion and Truth (International Library of Philosophy), Between Science and Philosophy: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, Utilitarianism : For and Against with Bernard Williams, Philosophy and Scientific Realism, and Our Place in the Universe: A Metaphysical Discussion.