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
Agnes Callard
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

Amber Ace- 3rd year, Classics (aace)
Previous Education: Classics at King’s College, Cambridge (BA and MPhil)
Interests: Classical and non-Classical topics including Lucretius and Epicureanism, Plato, Greek tragedy, gender and ethics

Sara Lea Ben Asher– 2nd year, Philosophy (sarale)
Interests: Ancient Philosophy (Plato and Aristotle), Heidegger
Previous Education: BA (Philosophy and Classics), Tel Aviv (2014)

Arnold Brooks – ABD, Philosophy & Joint Program (arnoldbrooks)
Previous Education: BA, Philosophy (Pennsylvania State University);
MA, Humanities (Chicago)
Interests: ancient physics and metaphysics, Plato, Aristotle, Pre-Socratics
Dissertation: Change, Stasis, and Actuality in Aristotle’s Physics
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

Elena Comay del Junco 

– ABD, 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.
Dissertation: Aristotle’s Cosmological Ethics
Committee: Gabriel Richardson Lear and Martha Nussbaum  (co-chairs), Christopher Shields (Notre Dame)

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; Hellenistic Philosophy; Philosophy of Mind, Moral Psychology, Philosophy of Perception; Wittgenstein
Dissertation: Aristotle’s Divided Soul
Dissertation Committee: Martha Nussbaum, Gabriel Lear, Agnes Callard

Serena Lai – 3rd 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 – ABD, 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;