Charles and Emma Morrison Professor in the Humanities
His interests include contemporary moral and political philosophy, as well as the ethics and political thought of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. He is the author of The Quality of Life: Aristotle Revised (Oxford: 2018), Against Absolute Goodness (Oxford: 2011), and What is Good and Why: The Ethics of Well-Being (Harvard, 2007). His historical studies include Socrates and the State (Princeton: 1984), Aristotle on the Human Good (Princeton: 1989), Aristotle Politics Books VII and VIII , translation with commentary (Clarendon: 1997), Aristotle: Political Philosophy (Oxford: 2002), and How to Read Plato (Granta: 2008). He is the editor of the Cambridge Companion to Plato (1992), Plato's Republic: Critical Essays(Rowman & Littlefield, 1997), and the Blackwell Guide to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (2006). He served as President of the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association in 1993-4, and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Center for Hellenic Studies. He served from 2002 to 2004 as the Vice-Chair of the Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association. In 2006 he became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the Starr Fellowship from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, for 2008-09, and was a Visiting Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford University, in 2016-17.
Essays published in Italian (made available here in the original English):
- Socrates and the State (Princeton UP: 1984).
- Aristotle on the Human Good (Princeton UP: 1989).
- Aristotle Politics Books VII and VIII, translation with commentary (Clarendon: 1997).
- Aristotle: Political Philosophy (Oxford University Press: 2002)
- What is Good and Why: The Ethics of Well-Being (Harvard UP: 2007).
- How to Read Plato (Granta Books: 2008).
- Against Absolute Goodness (Oxford University Press: 2011).
- The Quality of Life: Aristotle Revised (Oxford University Press, 2018).
- The Cambridge Companion to Plato (Cambridge, 1992).
- Plato's Republic: Critical Essays (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997).
- Aristotle's Politics: Critical Essays (with Steven Skultety, Rowman & Littlefield, 2005)
- The Blackwell Guide to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (2006)
Selected articles and recent work
- "Two Conceptions of Happiness," The Philosophical Review 88 (1979), pp. 167-197. (Reprinted in Louis P. Pojman, ed., Ethical Theory: Classical and Contemporary Readings , Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1989; also in William H. Shaw, ed., Social and Personal Ethics, Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1993, and in T.I. Irwin, ed., Articles on Greek and Roman Philosophy, Garland Publishing Inc.
- "The Defense of Justice in Plato's Republic ," in R. Kraut (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Plato , Cambridge University Press, 1992, pp. 311-337.
- "Return to the Cave: Republic 519-521," In Oxford Readings in Philosophy: Plato: Ethics, Politics, Religion, and the Soul, ed. by Gail Fine, Oxford University Press, 1999
- "Doing Without Morality: Reflections on the Meaning of Dein in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics", Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, May 2006, pp. 169-200.
- "How to Justify Ethical Propositions", in Richard Kraut (ed.), The Blackwell Guide to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, (2006, pp. 76-95).
- "The Examined Life", Sara Ahbel-Rappe & Rachana Kamtekar (eds.), A Companion to Socrates. Blackwell (2006, pp. 228-42).
- “An Aesthetic Reading of Aristotle’s Ethics.” In Verity Harte and Melissa Lane (eds.), Politeia: Essays in Honour of Malcolm Schofield, Cambridge University Press, 2013.
- “Human Diversity and the Nature of Well-Being: Reflections on Sumner’s Methodology,” Res Philosophica, Vol. 90, No. 3, July 2013, pp. 307-322.
- “Précis of Against Absolute Goodness” and “Replies to Stroud, Thomson, and Crisp,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 87, no. 2, pp. 457-8 and pp. 483-501, September 2013.