Dr Ashley Woodward

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Dr Ashley Woodward obtained a B.A. (Hons.) at LaTrobe University and a PhD in philosophy at the University of Queensland. Before coming to Dundee in 2013, he taught in philosophy programs at a number of Australian universities, including the University of Queensland, Monash University, University of Melbourne, University of Tasmania, and Swinburne.

He has also taught in a number of creative arts programs, including the School of Creative Arts, the Centre for Ideas at the Victorian College of the Arts, and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne, and the art history and theory program in the School of Art at RMIT. He is a founding member of the Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy, an executive committee member of the Friedrich Nietzsche Society, and an on-going editor of Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy.


  • Nihilism and meaning in life
  • Aesthetics and philosophy of art
  • Philosophies of information and technology
  • Posthumanism and transhumanism
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Jean-François Lyotard

Dr Woodward’s research began with a focus on the problem of nihilism (the perceived meaninglessness of life) in the contemporary world, which led him to pursue this issue in the thought of Friedrich Nietzsche and later philosophers working in the traditions of existentialism and post-structuralism. He has published a book on this issue (Nihilism in Postmodernity), and two books on the reception and influence of Nietzsche (Understanding Nietzscheanism; Interpreting Nietzsche). One of the key post-structuralist philosophers is Jean-François Lyotard, whose works have in some areas been highly influential, but whose extensive work in areas such as philosophy of information and philosophy of art have been largely overlooked. Dr Woodward has produced three books addressing underappreciated aspects of this important philosopher’s work and addressing its contemporary relevance: Lyotard and the Inhuman Condition, Acinemas: Lyotard’s Philosophy of Film, and Lyotard’s Philosophy of Art.

Dr Woodward is currently focusing on a new research project, ‘Transforming Information,’ which aims first to develop the field of philosophy of information by bringing current Analytic philosophies into dialogue with the contributions of historically overlooked thinkers in the Continental tradition such as Raymond Ruyer, Gilbert Simondon, and Michel Serres, and second, to develop an original approach to information by drawing on the aesthetic tradition, critiquing the rationalist bias which has typically informed information theory and underlining the artistic, sensory, creative ways in which information technologies have always been used. Ultimately, this project aims to produce a novel conception of information which has the potential to transform how we understand the information society and its meaning for human life.


View full research profile and publications


  • PI11006 Plato and the Good Life
  • PI21004 Thinking About Life
  • PI22006 Aesthetics
  • PI31020  Philosophy + Art Now
  • PI32024  Philosophy + Politics Now
  • PI41022  Philosophy of Information
  • PI41027  Nietzsche

Second supervisor