Lindsay Judson Professor of Ancient Philosophy

Professor Lindsay Judson is a Professor of Ancient Philosophy and the Official Student and Tutor in Philosophy at Christ Church. He is the General Editor of the Clarendon Aristotle Series and of Oxford Aristotle Studies. His Faculty website is at:

My research focuses principally on Aristotle’s natural philosophy and metaphysics, but I have broader interests in Aristotle, Plato, and Ancient Philosophy in general.  My published output has included work in a number of different areas, including ancient science and cosmology as well as philosophy more narrowly conceived. 

Recent publications include:

Aristotle, Metaphysics Book Λ: translated with an introduction and commentary (Clarendon Aristotle Series: Oxford University Press, 2019)

Despite its position towards the end of the Metaphysics, Book Λ (Book 12) is an outline or plan for a much more extended work in what Aristotle calls ‘first philosophy’.  Its scope is wide-ranging, and its compressed form makes it extremely challenging for the commentator.  Aristotle discusses the principles of natural substances and, in a way not paralleled anywhere else, of non-substantial items.  In the second half of the book he argues that there must be at least one immaterial substance (God), to act as the ‘prime unmoved mover’, the source of all change.  His exploration of the nature of God and its activity of thinking is the fullest exposition we have of Aristotle’s extraordinary and very difficult conception of his supreme god, its goodness, and its activity.  His discussion also provides us with almost the only contemporary evidence for the leading astronomical theories of his day as well as for his own highly impressive cosmology.  Book Λ is a key text not only for Aristotelian metaphysics and theology, but also for ancient science. 

‘Aristotle and Crossing the Boundaries between the Sciences’, Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 101 (2019), 177-204

One of the main themes in my work on Aristotle is the ways in which different disciplines and/or areas of philosophical interest interact – empirical regularity and modality, ethics and mathematics, astronomy and physics, physics and metaphysics.  This article examines a range of interactions of this type and argues that Aristotle’s practice right across his oeuvre is quite deliberately (and quite properly) flexible in employing material from a variety of distinct sciences.

‘The Meno’ in Gail Fine (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Plato, 2nd edition (Oxford University Press), 161-81

This offers a sustained critique of the dominant interpretation of Plato’s early-period epistemology.  It challenges the current orthodoxy that Plato should be understood in terms of the mainstream views in contemporary and late 20th century epistemology.  It argues that Plato’s epistemology is in fact both richer – deploying in its account of knowledge a highly distinctive concept of understanding – and more alien, in relying more crucially than is usually acknowledged on Plato’s dualism.

‘First Philosophy in Metaphysics Λ’, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 54 (2018), 227-77

This identifies for the first time, and solves, a key problem relating to the unity of the two halves of Metaphysics Book Λ, and offers a new account of Aristotle’s conception of metaphysics.

‘Aristotle’s Astrophysics’, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 49, 151-92

This article offers a detailed reconstruction and assessment of Aristotle’s integration of physics and astronomy, drawing on the Physics, De Caelo, Meteorologica, and Metaphysics, as well as comparative astrophysical material from later authors.  It aims to reverse the overwhelmingly negative picture which historians of science present of Aristotelian cosmology and of its reception down to and including the Renaissance; and it argues against a common methodological approach to the history of science, in which superseded theories are judged by the number of truths they contain rather than by their explanatory success relative to the data available.