Dr. Peter N. Singer

Research Interests:

History of philosophy; history of medicine, especially psychology, diagnostics and disease classification; Graeco-Roman notions of mind, soul, body, ethics and health; ancient pharmacology; ancient practices of performance, scholarship and book production.


P. N. Singer is a research fellow at Birkbeck, University of London, having previously taught at Kings College, London and held research positions at Newcastle University and at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (visiting). He began his research in ancient philosophy and science in Cambridge, where he completed his PhD ('Galen on the Soul: Philosophy and Medicine in the Second Century AD') under Prof. G. E. R. Lloyd. His research centres on ancient Graeco-Roman conceptions of, and practical approaches to, health, disease, diagnostics, clinical practice, the mind–body relationship and the emotions, in both medical and philosophical contexts, with further interests in ancient knowledge exchange and paedagogics. He has published a series of articles and book chapters on these themes; co-edited (with Chiara Thumiger) a major volume on mental illness in Greek medicine; and translated a number of works by Galen into English (including several never previously translated into a modern language), in volumes published by both Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press (the ongoing Cambridge Galen Translations series).

Project Abstract

Time Conceptualization and Measurement in Ancient Diagnostics: Galen and the Pulse

On the basis of the substantial technical writings on the pulse of the doctor-philosopher Galen (2nd-3rd century CE, Rome), the project aims (a) to achieve an understanding of the practical dimensions of time measurement in ancient clinical contexts and (b) to analyse the important and hitherto unexamined theoretical conception of time elaborated by Galen, which is closely related both to concepts in ancient music theory and to the philosophical analysis of time in relation to space and motion in Aristotle and others.

Curriculum vitae


PhD (1993), Classics/Ancient Philosophy, Cambridge University

Fellowships and Positions

2019–2020 | Research Fellow at EC-Chronoi, within the research group 'Kairos, Krisis, Rhythmos: Time and Time Awareness in Ancient Medicine'

2016­–2019 | Wellcome Research Fellow in Medical Humanities, Birkbeck, University of London

2014–2015 | Visiting Scholar at Institut für Klassische Philologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, on  project 'Medicine of the Mind, Philosophy of the Body'

2009–2014 | Research Associate, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Newcastle University, on Wellcome project 'Towards a Galen in English'

2002–2008 | Sessional Lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London; Kings College, London and Royal Holloway, University of London

Selected Publications

Galen: Works on Human Nature I: Mixtures (De temperamentis), translation with introduction and notes, with P. van der Eijk, CUP, 2018.

Mental Illness in Ancient Medicine: from Celsus to Paul of Aegina, co-edited with C. Thumiger, Brill, 2018.

Galen: Psychological Writings (ed.), CUP, 2013.

'The essence of rage: Galen on emotional disturbances and their physical correlates', in R. Seaford, J. Wilkins and M. Wright (eds.) Selfhood and the Soul: Essays on Ancient Thought and Literature in Honour of Christopher Gill, OUP, 2017, 161–196.

'Galen', in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, March 2016.