Professor Gabriele Galluzzo
Associate Professor of Ancient Philosophy
I joined the University of Exeter in 2013 and I am currently Senior Lecturer in Ancient Philosophy in the Department of Classics, Ancient History, Religion and Theology (CAHRT). In almost twenty years of career in Italy, Germany and the UK, I developed an interdisciplinary research agenda, which builds bridges and establishes connections between the history of metaphysics and the revival of metaphysics in contemporary analytic philosophy. At the centre of this research agenda is Aristotle’s metaphysical thought and its reception in the Middle Ages and in modern times.
I am the author of three monographs: Aristotle’s Metaphysics Book Zeta: The Contemporary Debate (Edizioni della Normale 2006); Breve storia dell’ontologia (Carocci 2010); the two-volume The Medieval Reception of Book Zeta of Aristotle's Metaphysics (Brill 2013). I have also co-edited three successful collections, which explore a number of metaphysical themes in ancient, medieval and contemporary thought and are the result of important international collaborations: (with R. Chiaradonna) Universals in Ancient Philosophy, (Edizioni della Scuola Normale 2013); (with F. Amerini) A Companion to Latin Medieval Commentaries on Aristotle’s Metaphysics (Brill 2014); (with M.J. Loux) The Problem of Universals in Contemporary Philosophy (CUP 2015). Since 2013, I am the general co-editor of the international journal Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale.
Since July 2021, I am co-director (with Daniel King) of the Centre for Knowledge in Culture in Antiquity and Beyond (KIC), which I co-founded with a team of colleagues in 2016. The KIC centre (Centre for Knowledge in Culture in Antiquity and Beyond | Classics and Ancient History | University of Exeter) is the most interdisciplinary centre in Classics and Ancient History, as it is a platform for research in a number of areas including ancient medicine, technology, philosophy, sex and gender, and literary criticism. It hosts every year international conferences and talks by invited speakers, and fosters grant applications by colleagues at all stages of career.
My aspiration is for my research agenda to shape my teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. To this end, I designed the 3rd-year module Being and Not-Being in Ancient Philosophy and the MA module Truth and Knowledge in Ancient Philosophy. I also have an interest in the study of ancient Greek scientific and technical language, and I have always contributed to the Department’s Greek language teaching at all levels.
I am strongly committed to the idea that engagement with ancient philosophical thought may be beneficial to modern societies and concerns. I therefore developed and conduced a range of impact and public engagement activities, which try to promote engagement with ancient material in relation to such major themes as happiness, wellbeing and mental health. I am for instance one of the founding members of the international network Modern Stoicism (Modern stoicism), which engages the general public with principles of Stoic philosophy and promotes medical research on the positive impact of Stoicism on mental health and levels of happiness.
My main research area is ancient metaphysics, with particular, but not exclusive, reference to Aristotle’s metaphysics and its reception in the Middle Ages (both in the Latin and the Arabic worlds) and in contemporary philosophy. Throughout my career, I have pursued an interdisciplinary research agenda, which explores key notions of Aristotle’s metaphysical thought (substance, essence, matter, form etc.) as well as the way they have interpreted and transformed in different ages. This interdisciplinary research agenda branches off into several directions.
Aristotle’s metaphysical thought. My core recent interest is Aristotle’s theory of substance, which is developed in the Categories and in the so-called central books (VII-VIII-IX) of the Metaphysics. The theory involves the use of a number of key ideas and concepts (property, substratum, essence, matter and form), which are still at the centre of contemporary metaphysical thought and still shape the way we think about reality. I published extensively on Aristotle’s Metaphysics (my co-authored monograph Aristotle’s Metaphysics Book Zeta: The Contemporary Debate, Pisa, 2007, is the first and only comprehensive reconstruction of the contemporary scholarly debate on Aristotle’s ontology). I am currently preparing an unprecedented monograph on Aristotle’s theory of matter and form (hylomorphism), which will be the first comprehensive exploration of Aristotle’s theory of matter and form both in metaphysics and in areas outside metaphysics (mathematics, politics and aesthetics) and the first book to systematically engage with contemporary Neo-Aristotelianism in metaphysics. I have recently been selected by an international team of scholar to work on a new French translation and commentary of Book VII of Aristotle’s Metaphysics (under contract with Vrin).
The reception of Aristotle’s Metaphysics in the Middle Ages. Over the last fifteen years, I have been one of the leading figures in the study of late medieval commentaries on Aristotle’s Metaphysics, with particular reference to Aristotle’s theory of substance. My focus has mainly been on key figures of the medieval reception of the Metaphysics in both the Arabic and Latin world, such as Averroes, Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus. My 2013 two-volume monograph The Medieval Reception of Book Zeta of Aristotle’s Metaphysics (Brill, Leiden 2013) offers a comprehensive reconstruction of medieval approaches to Aristotle’s theory of substance. In 2014, I was commissioned by Brill to co-edit the Brill Companion to Latin Medieval Commentaries on Aristotle’s Metaphysics (Leiden, 2014). I have more recently been invited to contribute a chapter to the Critical Guide to Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Contra Gentiles (Cambridge University Press), edited by T. Orborne and T. Nevitt.
Contemporary analytic metaphysics. Aristotelian metaphysics has recently been rediscovered by philosophers in the analytic tradition. A number of Neo-Aristotelian theories of material objects have been advanced and are still at the centre of contemporary debated. In line with my general approach, I substantially engaged with contemporary debates in metaphysics, and I am the co-author of the collection The problem of Universals in Contemporary Philosophy (Cambridge, 2015), which has rapidly become a classic in the field and is currently being translated into Arabic.
The metaphysical implications of ancient technology. I recently developed a strong interest in the metaphysical implications of ancient discussions about the nature of artefacts. My interest in particular lies in exploring the way ancient philosophers drew the line between natural and artificial objects and dealt with the metaphysical implications of technological development. A paper on Aristotle’s metaphysics of artefacts has been accepted for publication in the volume Technological Animation in Classical Antiquity (Oxford, 2023). To further expand this line of research, I successfully co-applied, together with Janette Williams from Queensland University, to the QUEX Institute Accelerator Grant Scheme for the project “Wondrous machines”.
I would be happy to consider supervising PhD projects in all areas of ancient philosophy and would particularly welcome projects in the following areas: Ancient Metaphysics, Ancient Theories of Language, Truth and Knwoledge in Ancient Thought, Philosophy and Science in Anitquity, and Early Christian Thought.
I have a vast experience in supervising postgraduate research. During my time at Exeter, I have overseen, as first supervisor, co-supervisor or second supervisor, the completion of four PhD projects, on topics such as Aristotle's theory of definition, the Presocratics and Euripides, Epicureanism in Imperial Literature, and Isocrates on freedom of speech.
I am currently supervising as first supervisor three PhD projects:
- Philip Diaz-Lewis, Aristotle on Beauty and Aesthetic Objectivism.
- James Stevenson, Living the Good Life: What can Epicurus tell us about Happiness in Modernity?
- Wei-Shuo Lu, The Literary Contextualist Interpretation in Plato’s Writing: the Shorter Way in the Republic as a Case Study.
External impact and engagement
My impact and public engagement activities promote a new, holistic and integrated approach to happiness and wellbeing through the use of ancient philosophical material. This approach has led me to prepare and submit an Impact Case Study for REF2021, titled “Informing new approaches to wellbeing through ancient philosophy”. The many activities I developed over the years at local, national and international level centre on two collaborative projects.
The Modern Stoicism Project. I am one of the founders of the international network Modern Stoicism (https://modernstoicism.com/), which engages the general public with principles of Stoic philosophy and promotes medical research on the positive impact of Stoicism on mental health and levels of happiness. The network offers self-guided online courses (attended by over 3000 people internationally) and organises regular annual events (attended by over 300 people internationally). To support the activities of the network I co-founded in 2017 the limited company Modern Stoicism, of which I am one of the trustees.
The Happiness Across the Ages Project. Over the years, I developed a fruitful and deep collaboration with the Exeter branch of the University of the 3rd Age, offering regular lectures and interactive seminars on campus for the members of the organisation. More recently, I designed and conduced, together with Sanja Djerasimovic (Impact Researcher, History), the intergenerational project “Happiness across the Ages”. The project worked with a group of six U3A members and eight Exeter students to provide them with tools to reflect on, and explore within their communities, experiences of happiness, supporting lifelong learning and wellbeing. The main outcome of the project has been a toolkit, intended as a model for third age facing organisations, but also for academics trying to develop meaningful experiences for their students at the intersection of teaching and research. The toolkit has been endorsed by national U3A and is now hosted on their website. It has also been endorsed by the charitable organisation Generations Working Together.
- CLA1201 - Classical Language and Texts: Greek I
- CLA1204 - Classical Language and Texts: Greek III
- CLA1507 - Ancient World: Greek Philosophy
- CLA1508 - Ancient World: Roman Philosophy
- CLA2507 - Ancient World: Greek Philosophy
- CLA2508 - Ancient World: Roman Philosophy
- CLA3007 - The Crisis of the Athenian Polis
- CLA3204 - Classical Language and Texts: Greek III
- CLA3263 - Being and Not-Being in Greek Philosophy: from Parmenides to Aristotle
- CLAM106 - Ancient Philosophy
- CLAM201 - Greek I
- CLAM204 - Greek III
I trained as a philosopher and a philologist at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, where I obtained my BA, MA and PhD (fully funded by a Scuola Normale Superiore PhD scholarship). Thanks to the Scuola Normale Superiore’s International Exchange and Visiting Programme, I completed my education and research training at international level by spending extensive periods of study at the École Normale Supérieure of Paris (first as an undergraduate in 1997 and then as a postgraduate student in 1999) and at the University of Oxford (as a visiting PhD student and then visiting scholar in 2002-2006). In 2005 I took up a seven-year post of Senior Research Fellow at the Scuola Normale of Pisa. During the tenure of the fellowship, I developed an interdisciplinary and innovative research agenda, which centres on Aristotle’s Metaphysics and its reception through different ages, and combines textual and historical analysis with engagement with contemporary debates in metaphysics, especially in the analytic tradition. In 2012 I obtained a post of Assistant Professor (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität of Munich and I was appointed as the general co-editor of the international journal Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale. My research achievements have been recognised through the awarding in 2013 of a highly competitive and prestigious Alexander von Humboldt scholarship for Experienced Researchers, from which I withdrew to take a position of lecturer in the Department of Classics and Ancient History in 2013. I progressed to Senior Lecturer in 2018. In recognition of my work on the reception of ancient thought in the Middles Ages, I have been invited in 2013 to be a permanent member of the Medieval Texts Editorial Committee (Auctores Britannici) of the British Academy.