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Vanessa de Harven

Assistant Professor

E309 South College

Vanessa de Harven received her BA in Philosophy from Pomona College (1991), and her PhD in Philosophy from UC Berkeley (2012).  She has been teaching graduate and undergraduate courses at UMass since 2012, and is an Undergraduate Advisor for the Philosophy Department. 

Professor de Harven specializes in Ancient Philosophy, with interests in contemporary metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and theory of meaning.  Professor de Harven’s central research focus is on Stoic metaphysics, in particular on Stoic corporealism, the nature of their incorporeals (including especially their novel semantic entities, the lekta, roughly, the meanings of our words), and the status of pure products of thought, like creatures of fiction and mathematical entities, which are neither corporeal nor incorporeal.  She is currently working on a book, titled Everything is Something:  The Unity of Stoic Metaphysics.  

In addition to work on the Stoics and the Hellenistic era, de Harven has active research interests in Plato’s metaphysics and epistemology, in Socratic intellectualism, and in Presocratic philosophy. 


  • “How Nothing Can Be Something:  The Stoic Theory of Void,” Ancient Philosophy 35 (2015) 405-29.
  •  “Necessity, Possibility and Determinism in Stoic Thought,” Chapter 4, Logical Modalities from Aristotle to Carnap: The Story of Necessity, eds. Max Cresswell, Edwin Mares, Adriane Rini, Cambridge University Press (2016), 70-90.
  •  “Rational Impressions and the Stoic Philosophy of Mind,” chapter 11, The History of Philosophy of Mind: Pre-Socratics to Augustine, ed. John Sisko, Vol. 1 of six-volume series The History of the Philosophy of Mind, eds. Rebecca Copenhaver and Christopher Shields, Routledge (forthcoming, Sept. 8, 2017).
  • “Pleasure, Pain, and Unity of Soul in Plato’s Protagoras,” in collaboration with Wolfgang Mann, Columbia University, Pain & Pleasure in Classical Antiquity (forthcoming, 2017).
  • Review of René Brouwer, The Stoic Sage: The Early Stoics on Wisdom, Sagehood and Socrates. Cambridge Classical Studies.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2014. Pp. x, 230. $90 (hb.).  ISBN: 978-1-107-02421-2.  Classical World 110.1 (2016): 148-50.
  • Review of J. Clerk Shaw Plato’s Anti-hedonism and the Protagoras (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), viii + 222 pp. $94.59. ISBN 9781107046658 (hbk). Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (2015.11.16):
  • Review of R. Kamtekar (ed.) Virtue and Happiness. Essays in Honour of Julia Annas. (Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy Supplementary Volume.) Pp. x+ 351. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. The Classical Review (New series) 64.01 (2014): 71-73.