Princeton University
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 1997
Notre Dame, Indiana, United States of America
Areas of Specialization
Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy
  • Mind and World in Aristotle's de Anima
    Cambridge University Press. 2022.
    Why is the human mind able to perceive and understand the truth about reality; that is, why does it seem to be the mind's specific function to know the world? Sean Kelsey argues that both the question itself and the way Aristotle answers it are key to understanding his work De Anima, a systematic philosophical account of the soul and its powers. In this original reading of a familiar but highly compressed text, Kelsey shows how this question underpins Aristotle's inquiry into the nature of soul,…Read more
  •  45
    Color, Transparency, and Light in Aristotle
    Phronesis 63 (2): 209-210. 2018.
    _ Source: _Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 209 - 210 Aristotle says that it is in the nature of color to impart movement to transparent media. Typically this is interpreted as implying that these media must be transparent before color moves them. I argue that this is a mistake.
  • Causation in Plato and Aristotle
    Dissertation, Princeton University. 1997.
    It is a commonplace that the Greek word $\alpha\iota\sp{\!\!\!{\sp{\sp,}}\prime}\!\tau\iota o\nu,$ traditionally translated "cause," is far broader than its English equivalent. When philosophers today talk about causes, they are interested in what makes things happen or brings things about; by contrast, the Greek notion of an $a\iota\tau\iota o\nu$ will embrace anything that contributes to our understanding of a thing. Still, some $\alpha\iota\sp{\!\!\!{\sp{\sp,}}\prime}\!\tau\iota\alpha$ are ca…Read more
  •  50
    The argument of Metaphysics VI 3
    Ancient Philosophy 24 (1): 119-34. 2004.
  •  88
    Causation in the phaedo
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 85 (1). 2004.
    In the _Phaedo Socrates says that as a young man he thought it a great thing to know the causes of things; but finding existing accounts unsatisfying, he fell back on a method of his own, hypothesizing that Forms are causes. I argue that part of what this hypothesis says is that certain phenomena--the ones for which it postulates Forms as causes--are the result of processes whose object was to produce them. I then use this conclusion to explain how Socrates' discussion of causality in the _Phaed…Read more
  •  22
    Physics 199a8-12
    Apeiron 44 (1): 1-12. 2011.
    This paper concerns an argument for natural teleology that is often taken to rest on an analogy between nature and art; I present an alternative reading. This reading can be found in some older commentaries; I hope to add to their discussions by making the case explicitly, as well as by clarifying some points of detail
  •  39
    Aristotle_ Physics _I 8
    Phronesis 51 (4): 330-361. 2006.
    Aristotle's thesis in Physics I 8 is that a certain old and familiar problem about coming to be can only be solved with the help of the new account of the "principles" he has developed in Physics I 7. This is a strong thesis and the literature on the chapter does not quite do it justice; specifically, as things now stand we are left wondering why Aristotle should have found this problem so compelling in the first place. In this paper I develop an interpretation which will help to remedy this.I b…Read more
  •  18
    Commentary on Shaw
    Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium of Ancient Philosophy 29 (1): 107-110. 2014.
    Shaw’s paper is focused on Aristotle’s treatment of generation in Physics I and On Generation and Corruption. His idea is that these treatments are addressed to very different phenomena, which difference gives rise to a special problem calling for a very special solution. The thrust of my comments is that the pheno­mena in question are in the relevant respects very much alike. This means that the problem Shaw raises is even more radical than he supposes, and ditto the idea appealed to in its sol…Read more
  •  11
    Recollection in the Phaedo
    Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium of Ancient Philosophy 16 (1): 91-121. 2000.
  •  44
    Truth and value in Plato's Republic
    Philosophy 88 (2): 197-218. 2013.
    This paper is a reaction to a recent article by Raphael Woolf, the drift of which is that, according to the Republic , truth as such is not important. I am not persuaded and in what follows I try to get clear about why
  •  53
    Aristotle introduces Physics I as an inquiry into principles; in this paper I ask where he argues for the position he reaches in I 7. Many hold that his definitive argument is found in the first half of I 7 itself; I argue that this view is mistaken: the considerations raised there do not form the basis of any self-standing argument for Aristotle's doctrine of principles, but rather play a subordinate role in a larger argument begun in earnest in I 5. This larger argument stalls in I 6, which en…Read more
  •  8
    The Argument of Metaphysics vi 3
    Ancient Philosophy 24 (1): 119-134. 2004.
  •  11
    Aristotle's definition of nature
    Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 25 59-87. 2003.
  •  159
    Hylomorphism in Aristotle’s Physics
    Ancient Philosophy 30 (1): 107-24. 2010.