Matt Beard

Philosophy, ethics, leadership

So, you think you might need a philosopher?

Hi! I’m Matt Beard. I’m a philosopher who writes, talks and teaches about ethics. I work at the Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership where I’m the Program Director of the Vincent Fairfax Fellowship – a year-long ethical leadership program for senior leaders.

You might be wondering, what on earth would leaders (or anyone else) have to learn from a philosopher?

Good question! Philosophy has gotten a bit of a bad rap – thanks largely to philosophers themselves. It’s often seen as naval gazing, conceptual and disconnected from reality, but it doesn’t have to be. Philosophy – and ethics, which is my speciality – is ultimately about trying to understand the world and what matters as they really are. Not the way we’re told they are, or the way we’d like them to be. But in their full, complex, messy reality.

Philosophy and ethics can help breathe life into our work, thinking and relationships. Too often we inherit beliefs, ideas and practices that we never question or examine, and sleepwalk our way through life. I want to help you and the people you care about be awake to the world in all its complexity, absurdity and wonder.

You might benefit from some philosophical or ethical advice if:

  • There’s a problem but you can’t quite articulate what it is
  • You’ve lost a sense of the purpose and meaning of your work
  • You and the people you work with seem to have different understandings of what’s ethical and what’s not
  • Something has gone seriously wrong, and you’re not sure why or what to do about it
  • You want to give back to society more than you are
  • All you hear are the same stale and unsatisfying ways of thinking and acting
  • Tough decisions are a part of your work, and you want to make sure they’re made well
  • None of the other external consultants, advisors and subject matter experts have done what you hoped they would

/ Corrupting the Youth

About two-and-a-half thousand years ago, the Greek philosopher Socrates was sentenced to death in Athens for (among other things) “corrupting the youth”. By this, the Athenian powers-that-be basically meant that he had encouraged young people to question the status quo and think for themselves.

Thankfully, it’s no longer a capital offense, because I’m the resident philosopher on the hit ABC podcast Short & Curly, where I sing and dance (literally) whilst teaching kids how to think about ethics. I’m also the author (with Kyla Slaven) of The Short and Curly Guide to Life, which does the same, but in print.

I love working with young people, in schools and at community events. Please get in touch to talk through what we can do together!

/ Acknowledgement of Country

I live on Aboriginal country. My home is on the traditional lands of the Wangal clan of the Darug people, who called themselves ‘Eora’. I acknowledge their unceded sovereignty over and spiritual ties to this land and its waters, which they called Wareemba – where sweet water meets salt water.

I pay my respects to their elders past and present, recognise the injustice and violence of colonisation and commit myself to the spiritual and political vision set forth in The Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.