Institute of Philosophy

Staff A-Z

Dr. David Machek

Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Ambizione, SNSF)

SNF Project "Carving up moral motivation in ancient Chinese and Greco-Roman thought"

+41 31 684 35 69
S 201, Lerchenweg 36
Postal Address
University of Bern
Institute of Philosophy
Länggassstrasse 49a
3012 Bern

Academic Career

  • Since January 2019: Universität Bern, Institut für Philosophie. Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow (AMBIZIONE, Swiss National Science Foundation)
  • 2016-2018: Universität Bern, Institut für Philosophie. Post-Doc (Swiss National Science Foundation), supervised by Richard King
  • 2009-2015: University of Toronto, Ph.D. (East Asian Studies)
    Thesis: Virtuosos of the Ordinary: Comparative Interpretations of Stoic and Daoist Thought, supervised by Vincent Shen, Brad Inwood and Curie Virág
  • 2003-2008: Studium der Philosophie und Sinologie an der Karlsuniversität in Prag (Magister)

Publications (forthcoming and recent)

  • “Aristotle on Enkratic Ignorance.” Journal of the History of Philosophy (forthcoming).
  • “Did Seneca accede to μετριοπάθεια in his consolatory texts?” Ancient Philosophy 38.2, 383–408, 2018.
  • “Carving, taming, or gardening? Plutarch on emotions, reason and virtue.” British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26.2, 255–275, 2018.
  • “Stoics and Daoists on Freedom As Doing Necessary Things.” Philosophy East and West 68.1, 174–200, 2018.
  • “Using our selves: An interpretation of the Stoic four-personae theory in Cicero’s De Officiis I.” Apeiron: A Journal of Ancient Philosophy and Science 49.2, 2016.
  • “Beyond sincerity and pretense: role-playing and unstructured self in the Zhuangzi.” Asian Philosophy 26.1, 52–65, 2016.

Research Interests

I work in ancient philosophy, Græco-Roman and Chinese, from both comparative and non-comparative perspective. My research interests are mostly in ethics, and more specifically in moral psychology. So far, I have published mainly on Stoicism, Aristotle, Mengzi and Zhuangzi. I believe that doing history of philosophy across two wholly different philosophical traditions can be conducive to doing a better history of philosophy. My most current research project is a shorter book on early Chinese theories of ethical self-cultivation, provisionally entitled Nourishing the Heart. This book is envisaged as a part of a larger research project about moral motivation and motivational conflict in Græco-Roman and Chinese philosophical traditions.