Professor Christopher John Martin

MA (Sus), PhD (Princeton)

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Originally trained in mathematics and physics, I moved to philosophy and in particular to logic as a graduate student, first at the University of Sussex in the UK and then in the USA at Princeton. At Princeton I had the wonderful good fortune to be introduced to mediaeval philosophy and to discover that mediaeval philosophical logic is quite as interesting and sophisticated as contemporary work in the field but that it has been very little studied - my future research career was set. Before coming to Auckland I taught at the State University of New York at Stony Brook for six years.

Research | Current

  • Mediaeval and Greek philosophy
  • History and philosophy of logic

My long term research concerns the development of logic in the middle ages in a project which I call ‘Negation and its Consequences’. It has three distinct components many of the results of which have already been published in various articles:

1. A study of the fragments of  ancient logic transmitted to the middle ages by Boethius and others, in particular the theory of the conditional, and  the lack in Boethius’ work of the notion of propositionality necessary for a properly propositional logic.

2. An investigation of the development of new logics in the first half of the twelfth century and of the extraordinary role in it played by Peter Abaelard in constructing a unified account of inference. With Abaelard we have the invention something corresponding to the modern notion of a proposition and a propositional logic.

3. An exploration of the discover of the inconsistency of Abaelard’s logic by Alberic of Paris, the consequences of the failure of Abaelard’s enterprise and the the appearance of competing logics of the conditional in the Parisian schools of the middle of the twelfth century. In the work of the schools we have the first statement of the principle that anything follows from an impossibility and the first proof of it in what modern logicians call the Lewis Argument.

Other major research interests are ancient and mediaeval semantics and mediaeval attempts to reconcile divine foreknowledge with human freedom.

Associate Professor Chris Martin's Research

Teaching | Current

PHIL 105 Critical Thinking

PHIL 302 Medieval Philosophy

PHIL 752 Ancient / Medieval Philosophy 1

Postgraduate supervision

PhD Awarded:
2017 Chantelle Saville:The Philosopher, The Preacher, and The Poet: Sadness and Suffering in Late Medieval
         English Literature.

2010 Shahin Soltanian: Arguments for the Existence of God in Islamic Philosophy.

2007 Stuart Johns: Ancient and Mediaeval Theories of Universals.

2007 Branko Mitrovic: Mortality and Functioning of the Intellect in Iacopo Zabarella’s Psychology.

MLitt Awarded:
2018 Chantelle Saville: Robert Holcot, Quodlibeta 81 & 82.


October 15th - 29th 2018: Distinguished Visiting Professor in Residence, The History of Philosophy Research Cycle 2018-19, Philosophy Department, University of California Los Angeles.

Jan. 2015–March 2015: Visiting Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

April 2015: Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, University of California Los Angeles.

May 2015 – June 2015: Visiting Professor at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

Sept. 2013–Dec. 2013: Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies and Centre for Medieval Studies, The University of Toronto.

Sept. 2011–March 2012: Leverhulme Visiting Professor of Medieval Philosophy, Philosophy Department, Cambridge University.

May–June 2009: Visiting Professor, École Pratique Des Hautes Études, Paris.

Jan. 2008–July 2008: Visiting Fellow in Philosophy, All Souls College, Oxford.

July 2004–Feb. 2005: Visiting Fellow Commoner at Trinity College, Cambridge, and Visiting Scholar in the Classics Faculty, Cambridge University.

March 2014–March 2017: Royal Society of New Zealand, Marsden Fund, Standard Award, From Vocalism to Nominalism: The Twelfth Century Parisian Schools of Philosophy and their Logics.

2004 -: Collaborative Researcher, National Endowment for the Humanities (USA) Project NEH RQ50003: Editing the Works of Richard Rufus of Cornwall, Project leader Professor Rega Wood, Stanford University / Univerisity of Indiana, Bloomington.


Philosophy Undergraduate Advisor.

Philosophy Library Liaison Officer.

Areas of expertise

Mediaeval Philosophy, Ancient Philosophy, History of Logic, Philosophical Logic.

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Council Nominee on the University of Auckland Human Particpants Ethics Committee.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Ottman, J., Wood, R., Lewis, N., & Martin, C. J. (Eds.) (2018). Sententia cum quaestionibus in libros De anima Aristotelis. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pages: 747.
  • Martin, C. J. (2018). The Theory of Natural Consequence. VIVARIUM-AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR THE PHILOSOPHY AND INTELLECTUAL LIFE OF THE MIDDLE AGES AND RENAISSANCE, 56 (3-4), 340-366. 10.1163/15685349-12341357
  • Martin, C. J. (2016). Angels and needles. Notes and Queries, 63 (3), 374-375. 10.1093/notesj/gjw120
  • Martin, C. J. (2016). The invention of relations: Early twelfth-century discussions of Aristotle's account of relatives. British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 24 (3), 447-467. 10.1080/09608788.2015.1116431
  • Martin, C. J. (2016). Modality without the Prior Analytics: Early twelfth century accounts of modal propositions. In M. Cresswell, E. Mares, A. Rini (Eds.) Logical modalities from Aristotle to Carnap: The story of necessity (pp. 113-132). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781139939553.007
  • Martin, C. J. (2016). Abaelard on logical truth. In L. Cessalli, F. Goubier, A. De Libera (Eds.) Formal approaches and natural language in medieval logic, 59-76. Turnhout (Belgium): Brepols.
  • Martin, C. J. (2014). The development of logic in the twelfth century. The Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy (pp. 129-145). 10.1017/CHO9781107446953.014
  • Martin, C. J. (2013). Instantiae and the Parisian Schools. In J. L. Fink, H. Hansen, Mora-Márquez AM (Eds.) Logic and Language in the Middle Ages: A volume in honour of Sten Ebbesen (pp. 65-84). Leiden, UK: Brill.

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 4, Room 433
New Zealand