Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours), The University of Queensland
  • Graduate Diploma in Theology, Brisbane College of Theology
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours), The University of Queensland
  • Cambridge CELTA - Certificate (Level 4) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, The University of Cambridge

Research interests

Renee’s research interests centre on the philosophy of emotion, and she engages with a variety of areas including Early Modern philosophy, emotion theory, philosophy of mind, moral psychology, feminist philosophy, and also contemporary neuroscience and psychology. In particular, Renee focuses on the ongoing influence of “Cartesian” dualism on the current understanding of emotion, selfhood and agency – especially in the form of the “split self” view, which is characterised by oppositions between mind/body, reason/emotion, higher level/lower level cognitive processes etc. – and on the fruitful corrective offered by feminist interpretations of Spinoza’s monistic philosophy.

Current research interests

Renee is currently looking at the effect of the “split self” view on the role of emotion in the agent self, and exploring the various ways in which a Spinozistic approach can inform the debates between emotion theorists and enhance the understanding of the role of emotion in the self and agency. This incorporates a consideration of the ways in which Spinoza’s philosophy illuminates and is supported by recent trends in the neuroscientific and psychological study of affect and emotion.

Current research projects

Renee is working on a monograph from her PhD thesis, which discusses the various ongoing effects of the Cartesian legacy on philosophical debates about the nature of emotion and the self, with particular respect to agency, and on the corrective offered by a contemporary feminist exposition of the Spinozistic self. She is also working on articles regarding a Spinozistic solution to the current stalemate in debates on whether emotions are cognitive or non-cognitive and whether they form a natural kind, and Spinozistic correctives for the continued influence of dualism in the philosophical accounts of selfhood and agency offered by J. David Velleman and Kristján Kristjánsson.

Biography

Renee is an honorary research fellow at the University of Queensland, having recently completed her PhD in Philosophy there. Renee specialises in the philosophy of emotion, selfhood and agency, using the work of Spinoza to inform contemporary debates in these areas. Originally a scientist, Renee also draws on her background to engage with recent developments in neuroscience and psychology that are relevant to her philosophical research. Renee enjoys teaching Philosophy in a variety of courses, and received a Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Award for Tutors in 2016.

Other activities and service

Public lectures:

  • “The Spinozist Self”, Queensland School of Continental Philosophy weekly lecture series, 29 October 2015
  • “The Spinozist view of the self – consequences for understanding mental disorder”, Annual Seminar of the Philosophy, History, Ethics and Psychiatry Group, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, Queensland Branch, 10 October 2015

Awards

  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Award for Tutors (2016)
  • Four nominations for “Most Effective Tutor” by Dean’s Commendation students, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (2014-2015)