I am a Professor of Philosophy and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Epistemology and Metaphysics in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Alberta. I was born in Munich, Germany, where I spent the first eighteen years of my life. I came to the United States when I was twenty, after riding my motorcycle (then a Honda XL500, single-cylinder enduro) across France, Spain and Portugal for a year, trying (and failing) to understand Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit.
After a year of studying philosophy and classical philology at the University of Tübingen, Germany, I completed my undergraduate work at SUNY Stony Brook in 1990 and received my PhD from MIT in 1995. Over the next twenty or so years, I explored many parts of the United States and held faculty or visiting positions in Louisiana, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Utah, Colorado and Indiana, before moving to Canada in 2014.
My research interests in philosophy lie mainly in metaphysics, the philosophy of language and Ancient Greek philosophy, particularly Aristotle. In my first book, The Structure of Objects (Oxford University Press, 2008), I defend a neo-Aristotelian, structure-based theory of parts and wholes. In my second book, Form, Matter, Substance (Oxford University Press, 2018), I continue my defense of the Aristotelian doctrine of hylomorphism, according to which those entities that fall under it are compounds of matter (hulē) and form (morphē or eidos).
On occasion, I can also be spotted climbing or skiing in some of the world’s most amazing mountain ranges, such as the Cordillera Blanca, Alps, Pamirs, Himalayas, Tian Shan and, most recently, the Canadian Rockies.