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Erik Jensen

Profile picture for Erik  Jensen

Contact Information

400D Gregory Hall
810 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801

Office Hours

Spring 2024
F2F: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10:30 AM-12:00 PM in Gregory Hall 400D and by appointment.
Virtual meetings via Zoom link available by appointment only.
Graduate Teaching Assistant
PhD student

Research Interests

  • Ancient Greek Philosophy (esp. Aristotle)
  • Epistemology 
  • Early Modern metaphysics & Kantian ethics

I have a variety of interests within ancient philosophy. I focus on ancient epistemology and its relation to ancient ethics and political philosophy generally, and especially the extent to which Aristotle’s biological works inform the character of his inquiries into ethical obligation in Nicomachean Ethics and Politics. I am likewise interested in the epistemic dimensions of Aristotle's conceptions of phronēsis in Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, and the consequences of its limitations, whatever those ultimately may be, for the eudaimonia of the citizens of the ideal polis. In that context, I am especially interested in the scholarly reception of Aristotle's account of phronēsis in Nicomachean Ethics VI, and his discussion of factional conflict and competing civic interests in Politics III and VII, as well as the discussions in the literature dealing with the general relationship between justice and virtue in Nicomachean Ethics and Politics. Another area of central interest for me is Plato's treatment of the intersections and limits of belief (doxa), knowledge (epistēmē), persuasion (peithō), and teaching (didaskō), and their formulations, primarily in Meno, Theaetetus, Sophist, and Statesman. Within that context, I am interested in Plato’s suggested distinction between a form of persuasion that can bring about belief (pisteutikē peithō) and, perhaps more controversially, a form of persuasion that can teach (didaskalikē peithō), and the implications these relations among persuasion, teaching, and knowledge have for Platonic ethics.

Research Description

I am presently researching the types of teleology in the relations of parts to wholes operating in Aristotle's biology (especially De Partibus Animalium). I am also working on Kant's engagement with Stoic ethics, focusing on the extent to which the motivational role of the Stoic agent's respect for rational agency functions like the Kantian agent's respect for the moral law.   


M.A., Ancient Philosophy, The University of Western Ontario (2018)

M.A., Philosophy, Michigan State University (2016)

M.A.H, History of Ideas, The University of Texas at Dallas (2012)

B.A., Philosophy & Classics, Ohio Wesleyan University, summa cum laude with University Honors & Departmental Honors (2009) 

Awards and Honors

Western Graduate Research Scholarship, Western University (Canada), 2016

College of Arts & Letters Summer Fellowship, Michigan State University, 2015

Somers Award for Excellence in Teaching, Michigan State University, 2014

Phi Alpha Theta (history honor society), University of Texas at Dallas, 2012

Phi Kappa Phi (general academic honor society), University of Texas at Dallas, 2011


Courses Taught

Spring 2024        Philosophy 106: Ethics & Social Policy 

Fall 2023             Philosophy 101: Introduction to Philosophy

Spring 2015        Philosophy 101: Introduction to Philosophy (Michigan State University)

Summer 2013     American Language & Culture: John Dewey and American Pragmatism (Michigan State University)

Recent Presentations

“Sense Perception Veracity Claims in Aristotle” 

Presented at: The Society of Ancient Greek Philosophy Annual Meeting, Christopher Newport University (VA), October 2018

“Causal Synonymy and the Arguments of Metaphysics N

Presented at: University of Western Ontario Departmental Colloquium, March 2017

“Clarifying Aei Alēthēs Descriptions in De Anima

Presented at: University of Western Ontario Departmental Colloquium, November 2016


Highlighted Publications

Zachary Piso, Ezgi Sertler, Anna Malavisi, Ken Marable, Erik Jensen, Chad Gonnerman & Michael O’Rourke (2016). "The Production and Reinforcement of Ignorance in Collaborative Interdisciplinary Research", Social Epistemology, 30:5-6, 643-664, DOI: 10.1080/02691728.2016.1213328