Graduate students in the Program for Ancient Philosophy belong to both Philosophy and Classical Studies, pursuing a PhD in the one they were originally admitted to and an MA in the other.
Philosophy PhD, Greek MA
- Aristotle’s philosophy of mind, metaphysics
- Plato’s philosophy of mind
- Ancient theories of perception and memory
I hold an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and earned a master’s degree in ancient philosophy at Hertford College, University of Oxford, where I was the recipient of the Hertford Senior Scholarship.
I am the current sitting Chair of the Graduate Student Council of the American Philosophical Association and have also served as the President of the British and Irish Postgraduate Philosophy Association. At Michigan, I organize the Annual Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop in Ancient Philosophy as well as the bi-weekly ancient reading group.
My primary research interests lie in ancient philosophy of mind and metaphysics. My current work focuses on issues regarding perception (especially visual perception), memory, imagination (φαντασία), and consciousness in the writings of figures throughout the history of philosophy. I have particular interest in these topics within the work of Plato, Chrysippus, and especially Aristotle.
For further information, including publications, current and future research projects, service, and CV, please see my website: https://www.seanmcostello.com/
Classical Studies PhD, Philosophy MA
- Ancient medicine
- Hellenistic epistemology
- Ancient astronomy
- Hellenistic poetry
I am a PhD candidate in my fifth year on the Classics side of the program in ancient philosophy. I took my BA (2017) and MA (2018) in Classics at the University of Toronto.
My main research is in method and philosophy of science in ancient medicine, especially in the Hellenistic period. My dissertation focuses on the third-century physicians Herophilus of Chalcedon, Erasistratus of Ceos, and the Empiricist school of medicine. I also have research interests in Hellenistic epistemology, most of all the debates over the nature of knowledge that took place between the Stoics and Academics. I also have ongoing interests in Hellenistic poetry and ancient astronomy.
Classical Studies PhD; Philosophy MA (awarded, 2021)
- Ancient commentaries
- Allegorical interpretation
- Ancient Science
- Early Christian Thought
I am a scholar of late antique intellectual history and philosophy. I am mostly interested in the hermeneutics of ‘authoritative’ texts within both Pagan and Christian circles. In my dissertation, entitled ‘Reading, Interpretation, and Authority: the case of Porphyry of Tyre’ and supervised by Francesca Schironi, I examine the commentaries written by the Neoplatonist philosopher Porphyry of Tyre (234–305 CE) in order to understand how exegetical practices play a key role in both building the identity of intellectual communities and in shaping the authority of interpreters and teachers within those communities. I have presented my work at several international conferences in a variety of fields, including Classical Studies, Philosophy, and Biblical Studies. I have also developed a strong research interest in the history of ancient science and ancient scientific thought: I wrote an article on Ptolemy, Porphyry and musical theory (forthcoming in Phronesis), and I have worked as a research assistant for the Aratus-Project, an NSF-funded project on the ancient reception of Aratus’ Phenomena.
Sherice Ngaserin Ng
Philosophy PhD, Greek MA
- Ancient Greek Scepticism
- Indian Buddhism
- Metaphysics & epistemology of ethics
I received my B.A. (Hons.) from Yale-NUS College, Singapore, where I majored in Philosophy and minored in Global Antiquity (specifically, in Classical Indian and Ancient Greek thought). I am interested in the implications of philosophical inquiry on the ethical life, and believe that Plato and the Indian Buddhist philosophers’ systematic approaches to philosophy are well-suited to this project. My most recent work focuses on drawing comparisons between Platonic and Indian Buddhist philosophy, including a project on the moral value of knowing in Plato’s Theaetetus and Dignāga’s Pramāṇa-samuccaya (‘Compendium on the Means of Knowing’).
Classical Studies PhD, Philosophy MA
- Ancient science
- Plato’s philosophy of mathematics
- Hellenistic Alexandria
- Homeric poems and Archaic Greek poetry
I grew up in a small village in the north of Italy and I studied Classics at the University of Bologna. I then did research in History of Ancient Science at Humboldt University, Berlin. My interests cover two main areas of specialization. On the one hand, I am extremely fascinated by ancient Greek science and by its relationship to philosophy. In particular, I have been working on texts in the field of ancient Greek geometry, harmonic theory, and mechanics. On the other hand, I am interested in archaic Greek poetry and, more specifically, the Homeric poems. I am currently working on reasoning and understanding in the Iliad and the Odyssey.
Philosophy PhD, Greek MA
- Plato (incl. feminism, and methodology&form in dialogues)
- Contemporary philosophy of literature and aesthetics
- History of utopian philosophy
I received my B.A. from the University of Memphis in 2019, with majors in Philosophy, English, and French, and spent a semester at the Sorbonne in 2018 studying French language and literature. My philosophical interests center on Plato and contemporary literature, as well as feminist social/political philosophy. Currently, I am developing a dissertation project which explores utopianism in Plato’s dialogues and tracks it through contemporary speculative fiction, with a particular focus on late 20th and early 21st century feminist critical dystopias. I am interested in how Plato’s ideas are developed through myth and the dialogue form, which allows readers to explore different possible social arrangements reflecting different moral and political possibilities. These aspects of Plato’s writing, in my view, inform contemporary authors whose work not only explores Plato’s ideas, but borrows from his settings, mythologies, characters, and imagery.
I also have interests in Plato’s ideas and depictions of love and friendship, as well as his cosmology and depictions of the natural world. I am also interested in contemporary social/political philosophy, especially where social/political ideas are explored in contemporary literature, as well as social/political philosophy of language, especially where it intersects with philosophy of gender.
Philosophy PhD, Greek MA
- Ancient moral psychology
- Ancient ethics
- Ancient social-political philosophy
My research focuses on ancient Greek philosophy, moral psychology, and ethics. I also have research interests in social-political philosophy, philosophy of mind, and artificial intelligence. My dissertation develops an Aristotelian account of the passions, which focuses on how passions shape what is salient to us and motivate cognition and action. I show how this account helps us provide an Aristotelian model of how self-control works, understand why pleasure perfects activity, and shed insight on contemporary debates about the normative significance of emotions.
Before coming to Michigan, I received an MA in Philosophy from Western Michigan University. Before that, I received a BA in Philosophy, Theology, Theological Languages from Concordia University Wisconsin.
Philosophy PhD; Greek MA (awarded, 2022)
- Aristotle’s metaphysics, physics, and psychology
- Stoic moral psychology and action theory
- Ancient Chinese philosophy
I have broad interests in history of philosophy (ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, ancient Chinese philosophy, early modern philosophy, and early analytic philosophy) and contemporary philosophy (metaphysics, philosophy of mind, moral psychology, philosophy of action, and social philosophy).
I am currently writing a dissertation on Aristotle’s theory of boundaries and its application to his physics and psychology. Building on my dissertation, I am developing a neo-Aristotelian theory of telic boundaries, which covers boundaries in both natural and social realms.
I also write on the Stoics’ theory of non-rational representation, Descartes’ theory of error and his foundationalist methodology, and different approaches to sagehood in ancient Chinese philosophy (e.g. Zhuangzi’s equanimity approach, Mengzi’s cultivation approach, etc.). Lastly, I have a long-term translation project on Russell’s lectures in China.Website: https://glennzhou.weebly.com/
Francisco Calderón Second year, Philosophy PhD
- Early Greek philosophy and science
I hold undergraduate degrees in both physics and philosophy from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia.
I am mainly interested in how scientific theories are built, including the methodological and social aspects of scientific practice, throughout different historical periods. More specifically, my main line of work is on the foundations of contemporary physical theories, especially quantum field theory. I still do a little non-philosophical research in theoretical and mathematical physics.
I am also interested in early Greek philosophy and science, especially in the Presocratics and Plato. Finally, I am interested in the literature on science and values. As such, all my research interests operate within the intersection of the philosophy, history, and sociology of physics and science.
Within the field of ancient, I have—with the Greek translation group from Universidad de los Andes—published a collaborative translation of Thucydides’ “Melian Dialogue” with some essays by the group’s faculty members. We are also currently revising our translation from Aristophanes’ Clouds, and I've written an essay (in Spanish) surveying the traces of early Greek science in the comedy to go in that volume. Additionally, I am writing a solo paper on socially-informed aspects of the methodology of Presocratic astronomy and scientific realism, which I presented last year at the History of Philosophy of Science (HOPOS) biennial conference.
Valerie Trudel Second year, Philosophy PhD
- Metaphysics and epistemology of gender
- Feminist philosophy
- Social/political philosophy
I received my B.A. (2021) in Classical Civilizations and Philosophy from UCLA, where I completed an honors thesis (in Classics) on Presocratic psychology, entitled “Rationality and Control in the Presocratic Soul.”
Now I am primarily pursuing interests in feminist philosophy and the philosophy of gender, especially in terms of how we should understand trans identities and how the nature of those identities can shed light on our understanding of gender as a whole.
I still hold strong secondary interests in the Presocratics and Plato, especially in the reception of the latter's work in contemporary political philosophy and in how the work of ancient thinkers can be incorporated into our contemporary political debates.