Profile for Mary Krizan

Mary Krizan profile photo

Specialty area(s)

Research: Ancient Greek philosophy, especially Aristotle

Teaching: Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy, Medieval Philosophy, Logic, Metaphysics (historical and contemporary), Philosophy of Language

Brief biography

I first became interested in philosophy while I was an undergraduate at Michigan State University studying political science in preparation for law school. I enjoyed learning about the history of political theory in my political science classes, and was especially drawn to Plato and Aristotle. I decided to take a few philosophy classes as program electives, and figured out what I really wanted to do with my life: become a scholar of ancient Greek philosophy!

After finishing my classes at Michigan State, I spent a summer in Texas learning classical Greek and then moved to Colorado for my MA and PhD. My first job was in sunny Southern California at Cal State Fullerton, my second job was at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, and I joined the faculty at UW-L in Fall 2013.

I'm always available during my office hours to talk about philosophy, as well as other topics including cats, giant puppies, bicycles, and Big 10 football (especially Michigan State, but Nebraska is OK too). If you have questions about the philosophy major or minor, stop by!

Current courses at UWL

Fall 2020: 

Philosophy 101, Introduction to Logic

Philosophy 205, History of Ancient Philosophy (Greek/Roman)

Freshman Seminar: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: Plato's Republic in the 21st Century


Ph.D., Philosophy, University of Colorado, Boulder (2010)
M.A., Philosophy, University of Colorado, Boulder (2006)

Intensive Classical Greek (non-degree), University of Texas, Austin (2003)

B.A., Political Science, Michigan State University (2003)
B.A., Philosophy, Michigan State University (2003)

Teaching history

At UW-L:
PHL 101: Introduction to Logic

PHL 205: Ancient Philosophy

PHL 206: Modern Philosophy

PHL 302: Symbolic Logic

PHL 310: Metaphysics

PHL 311: Philosophy of Language

PHL 313: Philosophy and Science Fiction

PHL 496: Integrative Seminar

Professional history

Assistant Professor, Philosophy, UW-L: 2013-Present
Assistant Professor, Philosophy, Spring Hill College (Mobile, AL): 2011-2013
Visiting Assistant Professor, Philosophy, California State University, Fullerton: 2010-2011
Graduate Part-Time Instructor, University of Colorado, Boulder: 2007-2010

Research and publishing

Current projects:

Monograph: Aristotle's Material Elements - synopsis below. 

More generally, I'm interested in Aristotle's theory of matter (including the matter of simple and composite objects), Aristotle's philosophy of mathematics, and, theories of matter in later Neoplatonism.

For more details (including links to recent publications), please visit my website:

Articles in print:

“Mixture and the Formation of Homoeomers in On Generation and Corruption II.7”, in V. Caston, ed. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 54, 2018: 187-226.

“Primary Qualities and Aristotle’s Elements” Ancient Philosophy 38(1), 2018: 91-112.

“Prime Matter Without Extension” Journal of the History of Philosophy 54(4), 2016: 523-546.

“Elemental structure and the transformation of the elements in On Generation and Corruption II.4” in B. Inwood, ed. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 45, 2013: 195-224.

“Substantial change and the limiting case of Aristotelian matter” History of Philosophy Quarterly 30(4), 2013: 293-310.

Conference Proceedings:

"Corpses, Seeds, and Statues: The Relation Between Potentiality and Possibility in Aristotle's Metaphysics and De Interpretatione" Newsletters for the Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy 7(1), 2006: 27-31.

Book Reviews:

Review of Thomas Kjeller Johansen, The Powers of Aristotle’s Soul  Journal of the History of Philosophy 52(1), 2014: 162-163.

Review of Luca Castignoli, Ancient Self-Refutation, Augustinian Studies 42(2), 2011: 316-319.

Aristotle's Material Elements: Synopsis

This book offers a study of Aristotle’s material elements as they appear within his natural philosophy, and particularly, in On Generation and Corruption 2.1-4, Physics 8.4, and De Caelo 4.  The book defends the view that Aristotle possesses an account of simple bodies that remains consistent across these texts; the apparent differences between his account of elemental motion and the elemental transformations are methodological, not doctrinal.  In defending this view, the book develops an account of the powers of bodies, and shows that inanimate bodies possess powers that explain their changes in the categories of quality, quantity, and place.  A consequence of the account is that Aristotle’s simple bodies are substances of a special kind: they are unable to change with respect to quality, quantity, or place without also undergoing substantial change.



Mary Krizan, CL-22, authored the article "Prime Matter Without Extension" in "Journal of the History of Philosophy" published on Oct. 15, 2016 by Johns Hopkins University Press.

Submitted on: Nov. 9, 2016


Mary Krizan, Philosophy, presented "Extended Matter in Philoponus, Contra Proclum XI.3" at the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies conference on June 18, 2016 in Seattle.

Submitted on: June 21, 2016


Eric Kraemer and Mary Krizan, both Philosophy, presented "The Telos of Water, the Telos of Man and Water Ethics" at the Wisconsin Philosophical Association's Annual Meeting on April 9, 2016 in Eau Claire, WI.

Submitted on: April 20, 2016


Presenters at Minnesota Philosophical Association Annual Meeting on Nov. 7, 2015 in Bloomington, MN were:
  • Mary Krizan, Philosophy — "Aristotle on Geometrical Objects"
  • Eric Kraemer, Philosophy — "What the Chinese Room Thought Experiment Really Demonstrates"

Submitted on: Nov. 12, 2015