Research Summary

With Ancient Philosophy (especially Aristotle), Metaphysics, and Philosophy of Biology as my central areas of interest, my current focus is on questions regarding the fundamental status of organisms within Aristotle’s philosophy, in particular an exploration of Aristotle’s understanding of the metaphysical composition of organisms--and on drawing connections with contemporary philosophy of biology.

Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Philosophy, University of Notre Dame
  • Master of Arts, Philosophy, University of Notre Dame
  • , B.A., summa cum laude, Philosophy, English, University of Notre Dame

Biography

With ancient philosophy (especially Aristotle) and metaphysics as my areas of specialization, along with a growing interest in philosophy of biology, my research pursues metaphysical issues in Aristotle in a systematic way and explores their relevance for contemporary metaphysical and scientific discourse.

My central focus is on the nature of matter for Aristotle, with respect to its role in both the coming to be and the being of organisms. This interest has fueled my critiques of views that see the diversity of co-specific organisms in Aristotle as derived from the diversity of their matter or form. I argue instead that organisms have their diversity non-derivatively, a thesis I take to be supported by Aristotle’s metaontology as well as other key Aristotelian metaphysical themes. My current focus is on the implications of this vision of Aristotelian organisms for the nature of Aristotelian matter, centrally in the context of animal generation (and derivatively in the context of elemental transformation and non-substantial changes).  

 

On the contemporary front, I am researching how the very different metaontological assumptions predominant today generate different ontological problems (e.g. problems about compositional unity) from the ontological problems Aristotle focused on.  More broadly, I am interested in the relationship between different specific Aristotelian sciences and how they relate to Metaphysics, which he calls first philosophy.  My anti-reductive project on Aristotelian matter and related metaphysical issues dovetails with my research on homology in contemporary Philosophy of Biology, supporting an account of the homology of biological traits within organisms that references the context of the organism as a whole, and exploring the relevance of key Aristotelian concepts for contemporary debates in Philosophy of Biology.