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Personal profile


Dr Paul Formosa is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Macquarie University. He completed his PhD in philosophy in 2008 and he joined the Department of Philosophy at Macquarie in 2009. He has been a Macquarie University Research Fellow (2009-2011), an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow (2012-2016) and is currently a member of an ARC Discovery Project on human dignity (2019-2021). Paul has also been an elected member of the University Senate and the Faculty Board, and served as Department HDR and MRes Director.

Research interests

Paul has published widely on topics in moral and political philosophy, with a particular focus on Kantian ethics, moral evil, moral psychology, human dignity, and philosophy and technology (including ethics and videogames). Paul's research tries to answer questions such as the following: How do we treat people with respect? Is human dignity inherent or conferred? How can videogames be designed to encourage moral engagement? Can robots have moral status? Can people be evil? How do we design fair and just institutions?     

Paul is the author of Kantian Ethics, Dignity and Perfection (Cambridge University Press, 2017), co-editor of Politics and Teleology in Kant (University of Wales Press, 2014), and co-editor of journal special issues on Morality Play (Games & Culture) and Kant on Education and Evil (Educational Philosophy and Theory). He is the author of over forty publications with leading international presses such as Oxford University Press and in leading international journals.

Funded Research Projects:

1. Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project, ‘Conferring dignity in law and health care’, 2019-2021. CI Barclay (Monash), CI Kilmister (Monash), PI Tasioulas (King’s College London), PI Crock (Hush Foundation), PI Sensen (Tulanne), CI Formosa (Macquarie). This project looks at the foundations of human dignity and the use of dignity in human rights law and health care. 

2. Macquarie Research Seeding Grant, “Designing for moral engagement in videogames”, 2018-2019. CI Malcolm Ryan, CI Paul Formosa, CI Stephanie Howarth, and PI Jane Messer. This project is developing a videogame to be used for testing moral engagement. 

3. Macquarie Outside Studies Program, “Ethics and Responsibility: From Kantian Ethics to Videogames”, 2018. CI Paul Formosa. This project explores topics in Kantian ethics and the ethics of videogames and technology. 

4. ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA); 'Dignity and Respect: a Kantian Theoretical Approach to Practical Rationality and Human Agency'; 2012-2016; CI Paul Formosa. This project sets out a Kantian account of dignity and respect. 

5. Macquarie Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Scheme (MQRFS); ‘Justice, Deliberative Democracy, Civic Virtue and Political Identity: The Contemporary Relevance of Kant's Political Philosophy’; 2009-2012; CI Paul Formosa. This project explores various themes in Kant’s moral and political philosophy.

Research student supervision

Paul can supervise students across a range of topics in moral and political philosophy. His past and current HDR supervisions are listed below, with student names removed below for privacy.

HDR supervision completions:
1. “Feeling Together: Can there be group emotion?”, PhD Awarded 2018. Role: associate supervisor.
2. “The Ethics of Internet Privacy”, PhD awarded 2017. Role: associate supervisor.
3. “Kant’s Conception of Toleration,” MRes awarded 2017. Role: principal (and sole) supervisor.
4. “A Dark Universal: Towards a Thomistic Theory of Evil”, MRes awarded 2016. Role: principal (and sole) supervisor.

Ongoing HDR supervision:
5. “Kant and Toleration”, PhD commenced in 2018. Role: principal supervisor.
6. “A Thomistic Theory of Evil”, PhD commenced in 2017. Role: principal supervisor.
7. “Aristotle and Vice”, PhD commenced in 2017. Role: associate supervisor.


Paul has taught the following units: PHL357 Theories of Justice; PHIL705 Foundations of Research in Ethics; PHL132 Philosophy, Morality and Society; PHIL383/PHL354 Philosophy Capstone Unit; PHL382 Agency and the Self; and PHIL706 Research Topics in Ethics.

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Paul Formosa is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Evil Arts & Humanities
Immanuel Kant Arts & Humanities
Conception Arts & Humanities
Dignity Arts & Humanities
Morality Play Arts & Humanities
Video Games Arts & Humanities
Moral Evil Arts & Humanities
Kantian Ethics Arts & Humanities

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2012 2023

Research Outputs 2006 2019

Different substantive conceptions of evil actions

Formosa, P., 2019, The Routledge handbook of the philosophy of evil. Nys, T. & de Wijze, S. (eds.). London ; New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, p. 256-266 11 p. (Routledge Handbooks in Philosophy).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


Evil, virtue, and education in Kant

Formosa, P., 2019, In : Educational Philosophy and Theory. 51, 13, p. 1317-1326 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

moral education

Kant and the demandingness of the virtue of beneficence

Formosa, P. & Sticker, M., Sep 2019, In : European Journal of Philosophy. 27, 3, p. 625-642 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Immanuel Kant
Moral Standing

Kant on Education and evil—Perfecting human beings with an innate propensity to radical evil

Roth, K. & Formosa, P., 2019, In : Educational Philosophy and Theory. 51, 13, p. 1304-1307 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialResearchpeer-review

Measuring morality in videogames research

Ryan, M., Formosa, P., Howarth, S. & Staines, D., 10 Oct 2019, In : Ethics and Information Technology.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

research interest

Activities 2018 2018

  • 2 Editorial work

Games and Culture (Journal)

Malcolm Ryan (Editor), Paul Formosa (Editor), Rowan Tulloch (Editor)

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial work

Educational Philosophy and Theory (Journal)

Klas Roth (Editor), Paul Formosa (Editor)
2018 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial work