From Function to Flourishing: Neo-Aristotelian Ethics and the Science of Life

In my dissertation, I develop and defend a novel form of Aristotelian naturalism, the view that ethical truths are based on considerations of human nature. Common to all other versions of the view is a commitment to a teleological conception of the nature of life that seems radically out of touch with the understanding of life in the science of biology. This has given rise to a serious criticism of the view: that it is untenable in light of modern evolutionary biology. My dissertation provides new foundations for contemporary Aristotelian naturalism by engaging a recent body of work in philosophy of biology that has been overlooked by both Aristotelians and their critics. Based on critical engagement with this literature, I propose an alternative form of Aristotelian naturalism that diverges from the mainstream neo-Aristotelian view and is distinctive for incorporating our scientific understanding of the nature of life.


    • “Is the Neo-Aristotelian Concept of Organism Presupposed in Biology?”, in Aristotelian Naturalism: A Research Companion, ed. Martin Hähnel, Springer, Forthcoming.
    • “From Biological Functions to Natural Goodness”, Philosophers’ Imprint 19 (51), 2019. (PDF)
    • “Neo-Aristotelian Naturalism and the Evolutionary Objection: Rethinking the Relevance of Empirical Science”, in Philippa Foot on Goodness and Virtue, ed. John Hacker-Wright, Palgrave, 2018, 277-307. (PDF)
    • “On the Relevance of Evolutionary Biology to Ethical Naturalism”, in The Ethics of Nature and The Nature of Ethics, ed. Gary Keogh, Lexington Books, 2017, 37-50.


Under Review:

    • Paper on why neo-Aristotelian naturalism is a form of ethical naturalism
    • Paper offering a novel form of neo-Aristotelian naturalism

Under Preparation:

    • “Can Artificial Machines Have a Natural Good?”
    • “On the Moral Psychology of Intelligent Machines”