Research

Current Research

1. Aristotle's Material Elements
I finished a draft of a monograph, tentatively titled Aristotle's Material Elements.  More details are available on the Elements page.

Synopsis:  
This book offers a study of Aristotle’s material elements as they appear within his natural philosophy, and particularly, in On Generation and Corruption 2.1-4, Physics 8.4, and De Caelo 4.  The book defends the view that Aristotle possesses an account of simple bodies that remains consistent across these texts; the apparent differences between his account of elemental motion and the elemental transformations are methodological, not doctrinal.  In defending this view, the book develops an account of the powers of bodies, and shows that inanimate bodies possess powers that explain their changes in the categories of quality, quantity, and place.  A consequence of the account is that Aristotle’s simple bodies are substances of a special kind: they are unable to change with respect to quality, quantity, or place without also undergoing substantial change.  

2. Current Projects: 
  • A few projects on Meteorology 4: 
  • One focuses on the role of heat and cold, and makes a case for teleological explanation in Meteorology 4.1-11.  Draft available. 
  • The other focuses on the relationship between efficient causes, matter, and processes (such as solidification) in Meteorology 4.4-10, and makes the case that Aristotle considers composite sublunary materials to have a hylomorphic structure, but no independent final cause.  Draft available.
  • A third (not yet written!) plans to examine the relevance of pores in Aristotle's natural philosophy; it is inspired by some oddities in Meteorology 4.9, and will be focusing on GC 1.8-9.
  • Interpretative essay on Aristotle's On Generation and Corruption 2.5 - complete draft; for an edited volume on GC 2.5.
  • "Distinguishing Principles in Aristotle's Elemental Transformations" - complete draft; focus on GC 1.4 and Physics 1.7 (and an homage to Sarah Broadie.) 
  • Things around the middle: A study of Aristotle's Meteorology 4.  I am in the early planning stages of a book on Aristotle's Meteorology 4.  This book will contextualize the place of Meteorology 4 as an authentic work of Aristotle, and in doing so, will explain the relevance - and limitations - of formal and final explanations within Aristotle's so-called 'chemistry'. 

3. Other Interests 

I am generally interested in topics at the intersection of metaphysics and natural philosophy in Aristotle.  I am particularly interested in what role, if any, matter and material kinds of explanation may have within Aristotle's mathematics and logic.  I am also interested in the ontological status of inanimate materials that appear outside of biological contexts, and more recently, the relationship between biological and non-biological processes. 


Recent Journal Articles (please e-mail if you need access to any of these)

(5) "Mixing and the Formation of the Homoeomers in On Generation and Corruption 2.7" Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 54, 2018: 187-226. (Page proofs)

(4) "Primary Qualities and Aristotle's Elements" Ancient Philosophy 38(1), 2018: 91-112. (Page proofs)

(3) "Prime Matter Without Extension" Journal of the History of Philosophy 54(4), 2016: 523-546 (Page proofs)

(2) "Elemental Structure and the Transformation of the Elements in On Generation and Corruption 2.4" Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 45, 2013: 195-224 (Text of the article)

(1) "Substantial Change and the Limiting Case of Aristotelian Matter" History of Philosophy Quarterly 30(4), 2013: 293-310 (Page proofs)


Published in Conference Proceedings:

"Corpses, Seeds, and Statues: The Relation Between Potentiality and Possibility in Aristotle's Metaphysics and De Interpretatione" Newsletters for the Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy 7(1), 2006: 27-31.

Recent Book Reviews: 

Review of Devin Henry, Aristotle on Form, Matter, and Moving Causes (Cambridge, 2020), in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Review of Christian Pfeiffer, Aristotle's Theory of Bodies (Oxford, 2019), in Ancient Philosophy 40(2), 2020, 512-515 (page proofs)

Review of Christopher Byrne, Aristotle's Science of Matter and Motion (Toronto, 2018), in Journal of the History of Philosophy 58(2), 399-400. (page proofs)


Other projects, some ongoing for years now...

Unearthing the metals in Aristotle's Meteorology

Incomplete and indeterminate quantity in Aristotle

Aristotle's geometrical objects

Material explanation in Posterior Analytics 2

Philoponus on matter and extension in De Aeternitate Mundi Contra Proclum 11