Tim van Gelder

Epistemology is everywhere

About TvG

I am an Enterprise Research Fellow in the School of Biosciences at the the University of Melbourne, working on a project funded by the US Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency.

I am also a Principal in van Gelder & Monk, a small Melbourne firm providing facilitation, consulting and training services in analytical thinking for organisations, specializing in the use of our distinctive mapping techniques.

My primary training was in philosophy, but my career has traversed cognitive science, information design, software development, business management, consulting and training.  “Applied epistemologist” would best describe my occupation, except that few people know what it means.

Some testimonials

“Tim van Gelder is known internationally for his outstanding work in cognitive science, and for his highly influential publications in a variety of fields. He is most famous for his pioneering work in the area of computer-aided argument mapping, and the development of the acclaimed mapping software Rationale.  His company Austhink Consulting is making great strides in promoting argument mapping in areas as diverse as higher education, the banking industry, the military, the legal sphere, and a variety of other corporate and public sector domains. I recommend him without hesitation as a teacher and a corporate consultant.”
– Martin Davies, University of Melbourne

“Our increasingly complex, changing and uncertain world demands communities and governments to work together.  Methods for sharing ideas, problems and solutions that recognise us all as ‘experts’ are critical.  We need facilitation techniques that are participatory and deliberative while building consensus and results.  Tim’s dialogue mapping technique has filled this need – particularly helping our community to collaborate and make sense of complex issues.  With Tim’s help we are all better prepared for the future.”
– Mark Noonan

“I had the great pleasure of working with Tim van Gelder on designing the bCisive identity. Tim is a brilliant, strategic thinker who is 2-3 steps ahead of everyone else. He is sharp, open minded, and creative which allows the design process to evolve bringing the best solutions to fruition. I look forward to working with him again.”
– Paul Woods

Biographical Sketch

  • 2017 – appointed Enterprise Research Fellow, School of Biosciences, University of Melbourne
  • 2011 – Graduate, Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • 2010 – Associate, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute
  • 2009 – resumed full time as Managing Director and Principal Consultant with Austhink Consulting.
  • CEO, Austhink Software, 2005-8.  In 2006 Austhink Software released the Rationale argument mapping software; and in 2008 the bCisive mapping software
  • Founded Austhink Software Pty Ltd in 2004; secured venture capital investment in 2005 and 2008.
  • Eureka Prize for Critical Thinking, 2001
  • In 2000 awarded Australian Research Council 3-yr grant for research on affordable and effective methods for improving critical thinking
  • With Andy Bulka, founded The Reason Group Pty Ltd and released the Reason!Able argument mapping software
  • With Paul Monk, founded Austhink Consulting in 2000.  Principal, 2000-present.
  • Principal Fellow (level Associate Professor), Department of Philosophy, University of Melbourne, 1998-present.
  • Australian Research Council Queen Elizabeth II Research Fellow, Australian National University (1993-4) and University of Melbourne (1994-8).
  • Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Indiana University, Bloomington IN, 1989-93.
  • Awarded PhD in 1989.  Thesis: Distributed Representation.  Advisor: John Haugeland.
  • Studied for a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, with additional studies at Carnegie Mellon.
  • Studied Law and Arts at the University of Melbourne, graduating with an Honours Degree in Philosophy in 1983, taking the Hastie Exhibition.
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