David Charles appointed the Newman Philosophy Professor

David Charles, appointed as Newman Philosophy Professor, focuses his research on ancient philosophy, especially on Aristotle’s philosophy.
Photo of professor David Charles.
David Charles (photo by Michael Marsland)

David Charles, newly appointed as the Howard H. Newman Philosophy Professor, focuses his research on ancient philosophy, especially on Aristotle’s philosophy, and on Philosophy of Mind.

One of his goals, he says, “is to re-examine the way in which philosophers today understand experience as a purely psychological phenomenon which then needs to be reconnected with a purely physiological set of brain processes. My aim is to call into question the manner in which the mind/body question was originally set up by Descartes when he rejected the Aristotelian idea that experience was essentially psycho-physical in nature.”

Charles studied philosophy at Oxford University, where he earned B.Phil. and D.Phil. degrees. He was a fellow in philosophy at Oriel College for over thirty years, for the last eight as a research professor. He was at various times vice-provost in Oriel and chair of the Oxford philosophy faculty. Charles has been a visiting professor at universities in the United States, Japan, Taiwan, and Italy. He joined the Yale faculty in 2014 as a professor of philosophy

Charles is the author of numerous books and articles on a wide range of topics. His books include “Aristotle’s Philosophy of Action” and “Aristotle on Meaning and Essence.” He has edited or co-edited several volumes, including “Definition in Greek Philosophy” and “Explanation, Reduction and Realism.” Currently, Charles is working on a book titled “Aristotle and the Mind/Body Problem,” which argues that Aristotle regarded many psychological phenomena as inextricably psycho-physical and this this theory, although not a standard post-Cartesian option, remains “a defensible and attractive one.”

The Yale professor has delivered invited papers at universities throughout Europe, the United States, and the United Kingdom, and in Brazil, Japan, and China, among other countries. His honors include an honorary doctorate from the Technical University of Athens and a fellowship from the Learned Society of Wales.

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