I am an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Philosophy and a Tutorial Fellow of
Somerville College, Oxford. 

My research has centred on questions at the intersection of Aristotle’s ethics and moral
psychology. Recent publications include "The Constitution of the Soul – Aristotle on
Lack of Deliberative Authority", Classical Quarterly (forthcoming, 2015); "The
Will – Origins of the Notion in Aristotle's Thought", Antiquorum Philosophia
(2012); “Deliberation as Inquiry: Aristotle’s Alternative to the Presumption of Open
Alternatives”, Philosophical Review (2011). I have also published on the reception
history of the Nicomachean Ethics (“The Nicomachean Ethics in Hellenistic Philosophy”, in
Jon Miller (ed.), The Reception of Aristotle’s Ethics (CUP 2012)); and on
Aristotle's reproductive biology ("The Private Parts of Animals – Aristotle on
the Teleology of Sexual Difference", Phronesis (2008)). 

This spring, CUP published a volume of papers I edited with Devin Henry, Bridging the Gap
between Aristotle's Science and Ethics. The volume appeared at the end of May 2015. 

From the cover: 

"This book consolidates emerging research on Aristotle's science and ethics in
order to explore the extent to which the concepts, methods, and practices he developed
for scientific inquiry and explanation are used to investigate moral phenomena. Each
chapter shows, in a different way, that Aristotle's ethics is much more like a
science than it is typically represented. The upshot of this is twofold. First,
uncovering the links between Aristotle's science and ethics promises to open up new
and innovative directions for research into his moral philosophy. Second, showing why
Aristotle thinks ethics can never be fully assimilated to the model of science will help
shed new light on his views about the limits of science. The volume thus promises to make
a significant contribution to our understanding of the epistemological, metaphysical, and
psychological foundations of Aristotle's ethics." 

A link to the CUP site: 


I received my PhD from the Sage School of Philosophy at Cornell University, where I wrote
a dissertation titled “Aristotle’s Theory of Decision (prohairesis)” under the
supervision of Terry Irwin (2006). I am still working on a comprehensive analysis of
prohairesis for a monograph. 

My first academic appointment after Cornell was in Canada. I came to Western University
as an Assistant Professor in the fall of 2005, and was tenured and promoted to Associate
Professor in July 2012. I spent the 2012-13 academic year on sabbatical leave in Oxford,
where I was Visiting Scholar at Corpus Christi College in Michaelmas term. I have also
taught at St. Catherine's College, Oxford. In the 2007/8 academic year, I held a
Lectureship in the Faculty of Philosophy at Cambridge University and a Fellowship at
Trinity College, Cambridge. Before arriving at Cornell on a Fulbright Fellowship in 2000,
I was a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the Norwegian University of Science
and Technology in my native city Trondheim, where I also earned a Cand. mag. degree
(B.A.-equivalent) and a Cand. philol. degree (M.A.- equivalent) in the late 90’s.
Trondheim is a beautiful Medieval city at 63,4º North. In Canada, that is equivalent to
the latitude of Iqaluit, Nunavut (so, north of the Hudson Bay), though unlike Iqaluit,
Trondheim benefits from the balmy Gulf Stream. It is a pleasant place, if a little dark
in winter. 

A note on my name: I sign with both my first names ("Karen Margrethe"), and
prefer that all three names appear in writing. Alas, Oxford email doesn't recognise
Scandinavian naming practices, so my email address leaves out my second first name. If
you find the cluster of consonants in "Margrethe" hard to pronounce, I'm
fine with being called "Karen"! Just don't tell my mom. 

Recent and Upcoming talks: I presented a paper titled “Spicy Food as Cause of Death:
Conditional and Unconditional Necessity in Metaphysics 6.3” at the conference
"Actions and Passions in Ancient Greece" at the Maison Française d'Oxford,
May 8-9, 2015 organised by Catherine Darbo, Carlo Natali and Cristina Viano. 

I organised a session at the Oxford Summer School in Philosophy and Psychiatry in July
23-24 2015 (with Chris Megone), and presented a paper on "Mental Health and Ancient
Philosophy: Aristotle on Moral Injury" 

I will present the paper "Vice in the Nicomachean Ethics" at a colloquium in
Paris 27-28 November 2015 titled "Le vice et ses vertus. Théories des vices dans la
philosophie antique", Université Paris Ouest Nanterre / Université Paris 1

I will present "Vice in the Nicomachean Ethics" at the Philosophical Society in
the Faculty of Philosophy at Oxford on February 5th 2016 

Forthcoming Publications

Aristotle on Economy and Private Property, The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle Politics (2013)


Aristotle on Principles in Ethics, Bridging the Gap between Aristotle's Science and Ethics (2012)



The Nicomachean Ethics in Hellenistic Philosophy – A Hidden Treasure?, in Miller (ed), The Reception of Aristotle's Ethics, Cambridge University Press (2012) (2013)

Forthcoming Book

Book Chapters


Did Plato Articulate the Achilles Argument?, The Achilles of Rationalist Psychology (2008)

Against Better Judgment? Davidson and Aristotle on Weakness of Will, I et filosofisk terreng, Festskrift til Sverre Sløgedal (2000)



A Brief History of the Soul, Notre Dame Philosophical Review (2012)


The Brute Within: Appetitive Desire in Plato and Aristotle (review), Journal of the History of Philosophy (2008)