Alfred E. Miller

Visiting Researcher
STH 533
M.D., Harvard Medical School; Ph.D. (philosophy), University of Hamburg

Interests: Aristotle, Heidegger, philosophy of bio-psychology, cognitive neuroscience, socio-cultural psychology and implications for analytic and phenomenological philosophy of mind.

After an M.D. at Harvard Medical School and residency training, Dr. Miller served with the US Public Health Service in Alaska. Caring for Native American patients roused fundamental questions about intercultural understanding and the basic nature of human subjectivity. These interests led to multidisciplinary graduate studies that eventuated in a Ph.D. on Aristotle’s natural philosophy under C.F. von Weizsäcker (protege of Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg) at the University of Hamburg, Germany. Returning to the US he taught community medicine and sociology at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and CUNY. Later he served as a Congressional liaison for the US Surgeon General and taught at the Uniformed Services Medical School (attached to the National Institutes of Health). Throughout the years of practical involvement and teaching, Aristotle’s combined pragmatic and theoretical perspectives provided guidance for analyzing and resolving today’s problems. After leaving the USPHS Dr. Miller returned to philosophy full-time, first as a visiting researcher at Georgetown University and then as a faculty associate at the Catholic University of America, where he has taught part-time from 1995 until the present. For 2007-8 he was a Fellow of the Center for Philosophy & History of Science and Assistant Professor in philosophy at Boston University.

Dr. Miller was recipient of a Fulbright fellowship in bio-physics at the Utrecht University, the Netherlands prior to medical school, a USPHS scholarship for post-doctoral studies at Harvard, a Mellon post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh and a US Department of Health, Education and Welfare fellowship in health services research.

Dr. Miller’s long-term research interests focus on reinterpreting Aristotle’s fundamental bio-psychological paradigm and it’s relevance for today’s understanding of the conceptual and causal explanatory problems in biological and cognitive neurosciences as well as the phenomenological and socio-cultural approaches to the investigation of the relation between cognition and behavior. This long-term project builds on reinterpretation of the central books of the Metaphysics by re-examining the aporetic dialectic method used to arrive at scientific principles starting from the understanding and presuppositions inherent in everyday experience (endoxa).
He is currently reworking lectures and papers written in collaboration with Dr. Maria G. Miller (Ph.D in bio-psychology/neuroscience) on Aristotle’s Physics, Metaphysics, biology, psychology and Ethics from 1995 to the present in preparation for publication as a collection of essays: Reconstructing Aristotle for the 21st Century.


Kant’s Theory of Natural Science: Translation, Introduction and Commentary (160-pages) to P. Plaass’s Kants Theorie der Naturwissenschaft (with Maria G. Miller), Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science #159, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994.

This work examines how Kant’s basic ontology from the Kritik der Reinen Vernunft is applied to establish a philosophical grounding of the fundamental principles of classical physics.

Options for Health and Health Care: The Coming of Post-Clinical Medicine (with Maria G. Miller), New York: Wiley, 1981.

This 478-page work explores the historical development of medical understanding and technology, its impact on the pattern of disease in societies and the consequences for providing health care in today’s societies.

Physis and Physics; Aristotle’s Descriptive Phenomenology of Nature as the Metaphysical Foundation and Critique of Modern Science, Doctoral Dissertation (University of Hamburg), Augsburg: Werner Blasaditsch Verlag, 1969.


“Aristotle’s Dynamic Conception of the Psuchē as Being-Alive” (with Maria G. Miller), in Was ist ‘Leben’? Aristoteles’ Anschauungen zur Enstehung und Funktionsweise von Leben (Bamberg Conference on Aristotle’s Concept of Life, August, 2006), p. 55-88, ed.: Sabine Föllinger, Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart, 2010

“Aristotle’s Metaphysics as the Ontology of Being-Alive and its Relevance Today” (with Maria G. Miller) in Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy, 20: 1-107, 2005

“Social Ethics and Organizational Structures Influencing the Allocation of Health Care in Germany and the United States,” J. of Contemporary Health Law and Policy, 18: 649-61, 2002

“Aristotle’s Entelecheia as a Paradigm for Today’s Health Problems” (with Maria G. Miller) in Philosophy and Medicine, Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Greek Philosophy and Culture, Cos, Greece, pg. 122-144, Athens, 1998

“Technologie und die Inkongruenz im Strukturwandel von Krankheitsprevalenz und Pflegesystemen” in Medizin als Technologie, Proceedings of the Bad Honnef Conference, Vereinigung Deutscher Wissenschaftler, 1982.

“Philosophy and Economic Ideology in American Health Financing Politics.” in K.M. Meyer-Abich (ed.) Physik, Philosophie und Politik, Festschrift zum 70. Geburtstag f*̈r C.F. von Weizsäcker, 1982.

“The Changing Structure of the Medical Profession in Urban and Suburban Settings.” Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 11, 1977.

“The Expanding Definition of Health and Disease in Community Medicine.” Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 6, 1972.

“Das Sein der Bedeutung.” in H.G. Gadamer (ed.), Das Problem der Sprache, Proceedings of the Eighth German Congress of Philosophy, 1967.


“The Changing Paradigm of Today’s Biology and its Aristotlelian Foundation” (with Maria G. Miller), Boston Colloquium for Philosophy of Science, March 31, 2008

“The Aporetic Approach of Metaphysics Zeta; How Everyday Experience Reveals the Fundamental Problems that Systematic Knowledge must Resolve” (with Maria G. Miller), Boston University, Graduate Student Colloquium, Dec. 11, 2007

“An Aristotelian Analysis of Current Problems in the Foundations of Embryology” (with Maria G. Miller), Boston Colloquium for Philosophy of Science, Jan. 2007

“Aristotle’s Ontological Account of Human Existence and Understanding: Its Modern Relevance” (with Maria G. Miller), Three invited seminars, Boston University, Oct. 2006
Seminar I: The Dynamic Nature of Being-alive
Seminar II: Holistic Modes of Causation in Embryological Development
Seminar III: The Representational Conception of Understanding Supplanted

“Why is there rather Movedness [Bewegtheit] and not simply Substance? A Response to Walter A. Brogan’s, Heidegger and Aristotle: The Twofoldness of Being (with Maria G. Miller), Heidegger conference, Boston Univ., May 5, 2006

“Aristotle’s Dynamic Conception of Form: A New Philosophical Paradigm for Today” (with Maria G. Miller), CUA, May 14, 1998

“Aristotle on Dunamis, Temporality and Time” (with Maria G. Miller), Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy, Binghamton, Oct. 24, 1996

“Aristotle’s Ti Ên Einai as Functionality: the Unity of Universal and Individual” (with Maria G. Miller), American Philosophical Association, Seattle, April 4, 1996

“Orexis in Aristotle’s Theory of Perception” (with Maria G. Miller), Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy, Binghamton, Oct. 21, 1995