Research

PVP coverMy first book, Plato on the Value of Philosophy: The Art of Argument in the Gorgias and Phaedrus (Cambridge University Press, 2017), offers a comprehensive reading of the relationship between the Gorgias and the Phaedrus – the only two Platonic dialogues that focus systematically on the relation between philosophy and rhetoric. The book explores Plato’s views on the role of human motivation in argument and the role of argument generally in civic life. A short essay that I wrote for Aeon Magazine touching on themes in the book can be found here. I discuss further issues raised in the book in a blog interview with Andy Fitch for the Los Angeles Review of Books here. And I have two forthcoming articles that build on my work on the Gorgias:

“Socrates’s Great Speech: The Defense of Philosophy in Plato’s Gorgias,” forthcoming in the Journal of the History of Philosophy (penultimate draft)

“The Purpose of Rhetorical Form in Plato” forthcoming in Proceedings of the Twelfth Symposium Platonicum Pragense on Plato’s Gorgias, edited by Vladimir Mikes and David Machek (penultimate draft)

My other main area of interest in Plato concerns his views in metaphysics and epistemology, particularly in relation to his views on philosophical method. I’m currently working on a project that explores his treatment of this topic in the TheaetetusSophist, and Statesman. A central issue in all three of these dialogues, I argue, concerns Plato’s understanding of the metaphysics of change. I have a fairly long article on this question that is key to this project, “Perfect Change in Plato’s Sophist,” forthcoming in Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy. For a penultimate draft of the paper, please contact me.

PWOL coverI also have a longstanding interest in the idea of philosophy as a way of life, which has featured prominently in some of my teaching at Wesleyan. Together with Jim Ambury and Kathleen Wallace, I am the co-editor of a volume of essays that addresses the historical precedent for this idea and its contemporary applications, Philosophy as a Way of Life: Historical, Contemporary, and Pedagogical Perspectives (Wiley, 2020).