Matthew D Walker

Humanities (Philosophy)

Associate Professor

Contact No.: +65 6601-3372

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Associate Professor Matthew D Walker received his BA in Philosophy from Amherst College and his PhD in Philosophy from Yale University. Prior to joining Yale-NUS, Assoc Prof Walker was an American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Fellow in Philosophy at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, a post-doctoral fellow in the Ethics of Virtue at the University of Miami, and a participant in ‘Traditions into Dialogue: Confucianism and Contemporary Virtue Ethics’, a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar. He was also a Visiting Fellow at the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford. Assoc Prof Walker currently serves on the American Philosophical Association Committee on International Cooperation, and is a member of the Mellon Philosophy as a Way of Life Network.

Assoc Prof Walker specialises in ancient Greek philosophy and ethical theory, especially Aristotle and comparative ethics. His book, Aristotle on the Uses of Contemplation (Cambridge University Press), examines Aristotle’s views on the happiness of contemplation against the background of Aristotle’s natural philosophy. He has also published papers concerning the nature and value of the philosophical life in Plato, the Stoics, and Hume; early (and neo-)Confucian accounts of human flourishing and virtuous agency; theories of punishment and political rule in Confucius and Aristotle; and ancient Greek conceptions of love and friendship.

Aristotle on the Uses of Contemplation (Cambridge University Press, May 2018 [hardcover]; January 2020 [paperback]).


“Aristotle’s Eudemus and the Propaedeutic Use of the Dialogue Form.” Journal of the History of Philosophy (forthcoming).

“Aristotle, Isocrates, and Philosophical Progress: Protrepticus 6, 40.15-20/B55.” History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis, issue on “Ancient Modes of Philosophical Inquiry,” ed. Jens Kristian Larsen and Philipp Steinkrüger (forthcoming).

“Socrates’ Lesson to Hippothales in Plato’s Lysis.” Classical Philology (forthcoming).

“The Appeal to Easiness in Aristotle’s Protrepticus.” Ancient Philosophy 39 (2019): 319-333.

“Punishment and Ethical Self-Cultivation in Confucius and Aristotle.” Law and Literature, for a special issue on “Law and Humanities in China,” ed. Marco Wan (2019): 259-275.

“Knowledge, Action, and Virtue in Zhu Xi.” Philosophy East and West: A Quarterly of Comparative Philosophy 69 (2019): 515-534.

“How Narrow is Aristotle’s Contemplative Ideal?” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2017): 558-583.

“Aristotle on the Utility and Choiceworthiness of Friends.” Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 96 (2014): 151-182.

“Reconciling the Stoic and Sceptic: Hume on Philosophy as a Way of Life and the Plurality of Happy Lives.” British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (2013): 879-901.

“Rehabilitating Theoretical Wisdom.” Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (2013): 763-787.

“Aristotle on Activity ‘According to the Best and Most Final’ Virtue.” Apeiron: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science 44 (2011): 91-110.

“Contemplation and Self-Awareness in the Nicomachean Ethics.” Rhizai: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science 7 (2010): 221-238.

“The Utility of Contemplation in Aristotle’s Protrepticus.” Ancient Philosophy 30 (2010): 135-153.

Book Chapters
“Aristotle on Wittiness,” in Laughter, Humor, and Comedy in Ancient Philosophy, ed. Pierre Destrée and Franco Trivigno (Oxford University Press, 2019), 103-121 (invited).

“Non-Impositional Rule in Confucius and Aristotle,” in The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Early Chinese Ethics and Political Philosophy, ed. Alexus McLeod (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019), 187-204 (invited).

“The Functions of Apollodorus,” in Plato in Symposium: Selected Papers from the Tenth Symposium Platonicum, ed. Mauro Tulli and Michael Erler (Academia Verlag, 2016), 110-116.< “Confucian Worries about the Aristotelian Sophos,” in Moral and Intellectual Virtues in Western and Chinese Philosophy: The Turn Toward Virtue, ed. Chienkuo Mi, Michael Slote, and Ernest Sosa (Routledge, 2016), 196-213 (invited). “Structured Inclusivism about Human Flourishing: A Mengzian Formulation,” in Virtue Ethics and Confucianism, ed. Stephen Angle and Michael Slote (Routledge, 2013), 94-102 (invited). Book Reviews
Review of Erick Raphael Jiménez, Aristotle’s Concept of Mind. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, January 10, 2018 ( (invited).

Review of Wm. Theodore de Bary, The Great Civilized Conversation: Education for a World Community. The Journal of Asian Studies 74 (2015): 455-456 (invited).

Review of Jon Miller (ed.), Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics: A Critical Guide. Polis: The Journal of Ancient Greek Political Thought 30 (2013): 176-180 (invited).

Review of Joel J. Kupperman, Theories of Human Nature. Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 11 (2012): 253-257 (invited).

Review of Paula Gottlieb, The Virtue of Aristotle’s Ethics. Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (2010): 399-400.

The Aesthetics of Fear: Horror and the Philosophy of Art
Ancient Greek Philosophy
Love and Friendship
Philosophy and Political Thought I and II (Common Curriculum)
Philosophy as a Way of Life
Philosophy of Law
Placemaking RC4 (Week 7 project, with Professor Jane M Jacobs)
Socrates on Trial (Historical Immersion)