Usha M. Nathan
I work in ancient philosophy, and the intersections between aesthetics and epistemology. In my dissertation, by reference to Aristotle’s Rhetoric, I explore the form and force of reasoning that involve evocative examples and that elicit emotions from the listener. What, I ask, is the role of imagination (phantasia) in these forms of reasoning? How might such exercises of imagination furnish grounds for the beliefs formed? What is distinctive about such reasoning?
More generally, I am interested in understanding why we should trust thought experiments, what art and aesthetic experience can teach us about non-deductive reasoning, and what we can learn from literature and the other arts.
I also have interests in 20th century philosophy, pragmatism, feminist epistemology, and the philosophy of perception.
Areas of Specialization: Ancient philosophy, Aesthetics, and 20th century European philosophy