Ancient Philosophy at the University of Chicago

There is a vibrant community of faculty and graduate students committed to the study of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy at the University of Chicago. Members of this community come primarily though not exclusively from the Departments of Philosophy and Classics and from the Committee on Social Thought. There is a joint PhD program sponsored by the Departments of Philosophy and Classics, allowing students in either to specialize in the field.

Students and faculty also constitute part of the Chicago Area Consortium in Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy, which includes Northwestern University and the University of Illinois – Chicago and draws visitors from throughout the Midwest to its monthly faculty work-in-progress talks and from around the world to its biennial conference. Moreover, faculty members serve on dissertation committees throughout the Consortium.

Gathered together on this page is information that reflects the wide range of ancient philosophy activities at the University. In addition to the formal activities described here, there are regular less formal reading groups and occasional impromptu gatherings to read texts or papers.

Primary Faculty

Elizabeth Asmis (Classics)
Agnes Callard (Philosophy)
Gabriel Richardson Lear (Philosophy and Social Thought)
Jonathan Lear (Philosophy and Social Thought)
Glenn Most (Classics and Social Thought)
Number 1 178 px wide crop 1Martha Nussbaum (Law School and Philosophy)

Doctoral students

(email addresses in parentheses: add

Arnold BrooksArnold Brooks – ABD, Philosophy & Joint Program (arnoldbrooks)
Previous Education: BA, Philosophy (Pennsylvania State University);
MA, Humanities (Chicago)
Research Interests: ancient physics and metaphysics, Plato, Aristotle, Pre-Socratics
Provisional Dissertation Title: Change, Stasis, and Actuality in Aristotle’s Physics
Dissertation Committee: Gabriel Lear (chair), Marko Malink, Ben Morison (Princeton)

Noah ChafetsNoah Chafets – ABD, Social Thought (nochafets)
Previous Education: BA, Philosophy (Vassar College)
Research Interests: Plato, Aristotle, rhetoric, moral psychology, Freud
Dissertation Topic: The Good and its Guises: Desire in Plato’s Gorgias and Republic
Dissertation Committee: Gabriel Lear (chair), Agnes Callard, Nathan Tarcov

Emilio Comay del Junco
Emilio Comay del Junco – 3rd year, Social Thought/Philosophy & Joint Program
Previous education: BA (Hons), Philosophy and German, McGill University
Research interests: Aristotle, history of natural philosophy and metaphysics, social and political philosophy, ethics, philosophical method.

Michael CremaMichael Crema – ABD, Philosophy (mncrema)
Previous Education: BA, Philosophy and Classics (University of British Columbia);
MPhil, Philosophy, King’s College London
Research Interests: Hellenistic philosophy, ethics, aesthetics
Dissertation Title: Practical Deliberation and Moral Rules in Stoic Ethics
Dissertation Committee: Martha Nussbaum (chair), Gabriel Lear, Elizabeth Asmis

John Ellison – ABD, Social Thought (ejellison)
Previous Education: AB (Harvard)
Research Interests: Plato, history of Platonism, Aristotle, philosophy of law, political philosophy, moral psychology, metaphysics
Dissertation Title: The Question of Law in Plato
Dissertation Committee: Gabriel Lear (chair), Nathan Tarcov, André Laks (Paris-Sorbonne)

Rory-Hanlon-Webpage-PhotoRory Hanlon – 3rd year, Philosophy & Joint Program (rhanlon11)
Previous education: BA in Liberal Arts, St. John’s College, Santa Fe
Research Interests: Aristotle and Plato; Wittgenstein; metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind

s200_dhananjay.jagannathanDhananjay Jagannathan – ABD, Philosophy & Joint Program (djagannathan)
Previous Education: BA, Philosophy and Classics (Texas);
MSt, Ancient Philosophy (Oxford); MPhil, Classics (Cambridge)
Research interests: Plato, Aristotle, ethics, moral psychology, political philosophy, Greek tragedy
Dissertation Title: The Labors of Wisdom
Dissertation Committee: Gabriel Lear and Martha Nussbaum (co-chairs), Richard Kraut (Northwestern)

Serena Lai – 2nd year, Philosophy & Joint Program (serenalai)
Previous education: BA in Music and Philosophy, University of Georgia (2011)
Research Interests: Aristotle, metaphysics, logic, philosophy of science, philosophical methodology

mendelsohnJoshua Mendelsohn – 4th year, Philosophy & Joint Program (mendelsohn)
Previous Education: BA (Hons), Philosophy and German (Sydney); BSc, Mathematics and Statistics (Melbourne)
Dissertation topic: Induction in Aristotle’s theory of knowledge
Research interests: Ancient logic, ancient epistemology, Aristotle’s theory of predication, logic in the scholastic tradition;

Michael Moore – 1st year, Classics & Joint Program (madmoore)

Benjamin Ogles – ABD, Classics & Joint Program (benjamino)
Previous Education: BA, English Literature & Classics (Vanderbilt)
Research interests: Ancient poetics and ethics, Aristotle, Greek and Latin poetry, philosophy of language

LukeParker_0Luke Parker – ABD, Social Thought & Classics (lukeparker)
Previous Education: BA, Philosophy & Classics: Greek (Vassar)
Research Interests: Pre-Socratics, Plato, ancient Greek and modern poetry & poetics, literature and philosophy
Dissertation Topic: Philosophical poetics and the status of language in Heraclitus and Plato
Dissertation Committee: Gabriel Lear, Glenn Most, Mark Payne

nathan_rNathan Rothschild – ABD, Philosophy (nateroth)
Previous Education: BA, Humanities (Yale); MLitt, Philosophy (St. Andrews)
Research Interests: Ancient philosophy, philosophy of mind, psychoanalysis, Heidegger, Wittgenstein
Dissertation Title: The Pursuit of One’s Own in Plato’s Psychology
Dissertation Committee: Martha Nussbaum (chair), Jonathan Lear, Gabriel Lear

s200_bart.van_wassenhoveBart Van Wassenhove – ABD, Classics (bvanwassenhove)
Previous Education: MA, History (Ghent University)
Research interests: Hellenistic and Roman philosophy, moral emotions and moral progress
Provisional Dissertation Title: Moral Emotions in Seneca’s Philosophical Works
Dissertation Committee: Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer (chair), Elizabeth Asmis, Martha Nussbaum

Leon Wash – 4th year, Classics (lwash)
Previous Education: BA, Classics, minor in Philosophy (Rutgers); MA, Classics (UIUC)
Research Interests: Greek poetry and philosophy, Empedocles and Socrates, psychology, demonology, metaphor, Nietzsche

Recent Graduate-Level Courses in Ancient Philosophy

(* indicates seminars open only to graduate students)

Spring 2017: Actuality and Potentiality: Aristotle’s Metaphysics Θ (Christopher Shields, Visiting Professor, University of Notre Dame )*
Spring 2017: Greek Philosophy—Phaedrus (Elizabeth Asmis)*
Winter 2017: Roman Philosophers on the Fear of Death (Martha Nussbaum)
Winter 2017: Plato’s Statesman (Gabriel Lear)*
Winter 2017: Epicureanism (Elizabeth Asmis)


Spring 2016: *Aristotle’s de Anima (Sean Kelsey, White’s Visiting Professor, University of Notre Dame)
Winter 2016: *Plato’s Philebus (Gabriel Lear)
Autumn 2015: Lucretius and Marx (Elizabeth Asmis)

Winter 2015: *Socratic Intellectualism (Agnes Callard)
Winter 2015: Phaedo (Agnes Callard)
Winter 2015: Cicero on Friendship and Aging (Martha Nussbaum)
Autumn 2014: *The Reception of Philosophy in the Roman Period (Elizabeth Asmis)

Spring 2014: *Aristotle’s Politics (Gabriel Lear)
Spring 2014: Aristotle on Practical Wisdom (Anselm Mueller)
Winter 2014: *Ancient Medical Writings in Context (Elizabeth Asmis)

Autumn 2013: *Aristotle’s Theory of Science: Posterior Analytics I (Marko Malink)
Spring 2013: The Presocratics (Chris Frey)
Spring 2013: Aristotle on Virtue (Gabriel Lear)
Spring 2013: Ontological Dependence (Marko Malink & Anat Schechtman)
Winter 2013: *Aristotle and the Origin of the Ethical (Agnes Callard)
Winter 2013: *Philosophy in the Early Roman Empire (Elizabeth Asmis)
Winter 2013: Plato’s Philebus (Agnes Callard)

Autumn 2012: *Aristotle on Substance and Essence: Metaphysics Zeta (Marko Malink)
Autumn 2012: *Plato on Beauty and Truth (Gabriel Lear)
Autumn 2012: *Plotinus/Neoplatonism (Eyfi Emilsson)
Autumn 2012: Ancient Metaphysics (Eyfi Emilsson, Wigelund Visiting Professor, University of Oslo)

Yearlong Ancient Philosophy Workshop Translation Group

2017-18: Plato, Charmides
2016-17: Aristotle, Metaphysics Book Λ
2014-15 + 2015-16: Plato, Phaedo
2013-14: Plotinus, Ennead IV.3, “Problems of the Soul, part 1”
2012-13: Plato, Euthydemus
2011-12: Aristotle, On Generation and Corruption I

Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy Workshop Speakers

2014-15: James Wilberding (Ruhr-Universität Bochum), Rachana Kamtekar (Arizona), Emily Fletcher (Madison), Chris Shields (Notre Dame), Rusty Jones (Harvard), Jenny Strauss Clay (Virginia)
2013-14: Lloyd Gerson (Toronto), John Wynne (Northwestern), Ben Morison (Princeton), Pieter Hasper (Indiana), Susan Sauvé Meyer (Penn), Rachel Barney (Toronto)
2012-13: Eric Brown (Wash. Univ. St. Louis), Alex Gottesman (Temple), André Laks (Paris-Sorbonne), Julia Annas (Arizona), David Ebrey (Northwestern)

Topics for the Biennial Consortium Conference

2016: Evil? The Bad, the Ugly, and the Depraved.
2014: The Human and The Divine
2012: Animality
2010: Representation, Emotion, Cognition

Other Ancient Philosophy Conferences at UChicago

May 2014: Aristotle’s Logic and Metaphysics (organized by Marko Malink)
March 2012: Techne Workshop: The Craft Analogy in Ancient Philosophy (organized by Gabriel Lear)