Show The Graduate Center Menu

Catherine Wilson
Position: Visiting Presidential Professor (Fall Semesters)
Campus Affiliation: Graduate Center
Phone: 301 747 5975
Room Number: 7113.01
Degrees/Diplomas: Ph.D., Princeton, B.Phil., Oxford, B.A., Yale

Specialisation: My research is focused on the relationship between the natural and social sciences and classical philosophical problems in the following areas: the history of atomism and materialism; theories of life and sensory awareness; visuality and aesthetics, and morality and the emotions from an evolutionary perspective.  

Courses Recently Taught
  • Philosophy in the 18th Century:  Kant and his Predecessors
  • Evolution and Ethics (2018)
  • Matter, Mind and Experience in Early Modern Philosophy (2017)
  • Smith, Kant, Rousseau (2016)
  • Science and Metaphysics from Descartes to Kant (Fall 2014)

Representative Publications


  • Metaethics from a First-Person Standpoint (Open Book 2016)
  • A Very Short Introduction to Epicureanism (OUP 2015)
  • Epicureanism at the Origins of Modernity (OUP 2008)
  • Moral Animals: Ideals and Constraints in Moral Theory (OUP 2004)
  • The Invisible World (Princeton 1995; repr. 2009)
  • Leibniz’s Metaphysics: A Historical and Comparative Study (Princeton 1989; repr. 2015)
Recent Articles and Chapters
  • ‘Bee-Brained’ (with Lars Chittka) Aeon, November 2018.
  • 'Consciousness as a Biological Phenomenon,' Harvard Review of Philosophy 25 (2018), pp. 71-87.
  • ‘What (else) was behind the Newtonian Rejection of Hypotheses? in Experiment, Speculation, and Religion in Early Modern Philosophy, ed. Peter Anstey and Alberto Vanzo, Routledge,2019    
  • 'Metaethics from a First-Person Standpoint,' in Jussi Suikkanen and Anti Kauppinen, eds., Methodology and Moral Philosophy, Abingdon, Routledge, 2019 forthcoming.
  • 'Moral Authority and the Limits of Philosophy’ in: Ethics Beyond the Limits: New Essays Bernard Williams’s Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy, ed. Sophie-Grace Chappell and Marcel van Ackeren, Taylor and Francis, 2019 forthcoming.
  • ‘Evolution and Ethics: An Overview’ in Richard Joyce, ed. The Routledge Handbook of Evolution and Philosophy, Routledge, 2017, Ch. 21.  
  • 'The Scientific Perspective on Moral Objectivity,' Ethical Theory and Moral Practice (2017), pp. 1-14
    ‘Another Darwinian Aesthetics,’ Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 74:3 (2016) pp.237-252
  • ‘The Doors of Perception and the Artist Within,’ Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, 89 (2015) pp.1-19.