Karen Margrethe Nielsen

Karen Margrethe Nielsen
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2013 - present Associate Professor, Faculty of Philosophy, and Tutorial Fellow, Somerville College, University of Oxford
2005 - 2012 Associate and Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Western University, Canada
2006 PhD, Sage School of Philosophy, Cornell University
1997 M.A., Department of Philosophy, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
1995 B.A. Philosophy, Greek, History of Ideas, Norwegian University of Science and Technology


Bridging the Gap Between Aristotle’s Science and Ethics, D. Henry and K. M. Nielsen (eds.) (Cambridge University Press, 2015)


Journal articles and articles in books (peer reviewed)

“The Definitions of Phronêsis and Euboulia in Nicomachean Ethics VI”, in Carlo Natali and Pierre-Marie Morel (eds.), ‘Definitions in Aristotle’s Practical Philosophy’, special issue of Revue de Philosophie Ancienne. Forthcoming 2020  

“The Tyrant’s Vice: Pleonexia and Lawlessness in Plato’s Republic”, Philosophical Perspectives 33, 2019, pp. 146-169 
“Why Self-Knowledge Matters for Virtue”, in Fiona Leigh (ed.), Self-Knowledge in Ancient Philosophy, volume based on 2009 Keeling Colloquium (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020), pp. 45-70

“Deliberation and Decision in the Magna Moralia and Eudemian Ethics”, in Brink, Sauvé-Meyer & Shields (eds.), Virtue, Happiness and Knowledge: Essays for Gail Fine and Terence Irwin (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), pp. 197-215  

“Spicy Food as Cause of Death: Coincidence and Necessity in Metaphysics E 2-3”, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy vol. 52 (2017), pp. 303-42
“Vice in the Nicomachean Ethics”, Phronesis vol. 62, 1 (2017), pp. 1-25

“The Constitution of the Soul – Aristotle on Lack of Deliberative Authority”, Classical Quarterly, 65.2 (2015), pp. 572-86 

“Aristotle on Principles in Ethics”, in D. Henry and K. M. Nielsen (eds.), Bridging the Gap Between Aristotle’s Science and Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp.  29-48
“Aristotle on Economy and Private Property”, in Marguerite Deslauriers and Pierre Destrée (eds.), A Companion to Aristotle’s Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 67-91

“The Will – Origin of the Notion in Aristotle’s Thought”, Antiquorum Philosophia 6 (2012), pp. 47-68 

“The Nicomachean Ethics in Hellenistic Philosophy”, in Jon Miller (ed.), The Reception of Aristotle’s Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 3-30 
“Deliberation as Inquiry: Aristotle’s Alternative to the Presumption of Open Alternatives”, The Philosophical Review, vol. 120, no 3 (2011), pp. 383-421 

“The Private Parts of Animals: Aristotle on the Teleology of Sexual Difference”, Phronesis no 4-5, 2008, pp. 373-405

“Dirtying Aristotle’s Hands? The Analysis of 'Mixed Acts' in Nicomachean Ethics, III, 1”, Phronesis no. 3, 2007, pp. 270-300 


Survey articles (peer reviewed)

“Aristotle”, in Timpe, Griffith and Levy (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Free Will (Routledge, 2016), pp. 227-235 

“Ancient Ethics”, in H. LaFollette, S. Stroud and J. Deigh (eds.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics (Wiley Blackwell, 2012)


Reviews and review essays

C. Olfert, Aristotle on Practical Truth (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), Philosophical Review (2019) 128 (2), pp. 219-224 

A. Kenny, The Aristotelian Ethics, revised ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), Classical Review 68.2 (2018)
D. Scott, Levels of Argument (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), review essay, Mind (2016), pp. 289-99


In preparation

Vice in Ancient Philosophy: Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics, short book commissioned for James Warren (ed.), Elements in Ancient Philosophy series (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). 

“Prohairesis in the Eudemian and Nicomachean Ethics”, in Giulio di Basilio (ed.), Essays on Aristotle’s Eudemian Ethics (Routledge). 
“Aristotle: Justice”, in K. Albrecht (gen. ed.), and J. Tasioulas (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (Springer Press). 
“Practice Makes Perfect: Habituation into Full Virtue in Aristotle’s Ethics”, in Komarine Romdenh-Romluc and Jeremy Dunham (eds.), Habit in the History of Philosophy (Routledge). 


I work on ancient philosophy, with special emphasis on Aristotle's ethics and moral psychology. I have published on Aristotle's metaphysics, and like to explore first-order philosophical questions in the course of analysing and assessing Greek texts. My papers cover topics ranging from deliberation and its rational preconditions, compulsion and voluntariness, coincidence and necessity, Aristotle's developmental biology, virtue and vice.

Recent graduate seminars

  • Vice in Ancient Philosophy, HT 2020
  • Aristotle on Intellect and Virtue, with Dhananjay Jagannathan (Columbia) and Terry Irwin, TT 2019
  • Aristotle’s Three Ethics, with Terry Irwin, HT 2014
  • Latin Philosophy, combined undergraduate and graduate seminar, TT 2014


  • Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (Greek and translation) 
  • Plato’s Republic (Greek and translation) 
  • Latin Philosophy: Cicero and Seneca (Latin)
  • Ethics 
  • Aristotle’s Physics (Greek) 
  • Aristotle on Nature, Life, and Mind (Greek and Translation)
  • Plato’s Theaetetus and Sophist (Greek and Translation)
  • Early Modern Philosophy 
  • Plato’s Meno & Euthyphro (Greek and translation) 
  • Early Greek Philosophy (Greek) 
  • Moral Philosophy 
  • General Philosophy 


  • Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Latin Philosophy

A note on my name: I sign with both my first names (“Karen Margrethe”), and prefer that all three names appear in writing. 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 “Karen”!