•  258
    Wishing for Fortune, Choosing Activity: Aristotle on External Goods and Happiness
    Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium of Ancient Philosophy 22 (1): 221-256. 2006.
    Aristotle's account of external goods in Nicomachean Ethics I 8-12 is often thought to amend his narrow claim that happiness is virtuous activity. I argue, to the contrary, that on Aristotle's account, external goods are necessary for happiness only because they are necessary for virtuous activity. My case innovates in three main respects: I offer a new map of EN I 8-12; I identify two mechanisms to explain why virtuous activity requires external goods, including a psychological need for exter…Read more
  •  19
    Socrates suggests that no one can know the nature of soul without knowing the nature of the whole. The whole what? Gill proposes "the whole environment" in which the soul is active. I criticize this and argue for the old-fashioned reading of "the whole world."
  •  272
    Plato on the Unity of the Political Arts (Statesman 258d-259d)
    Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 58 1-18. 2020.
    Plato argues that four political arts—politics, kingship, slaveholding, and household-management—are the same. His argument, which prompted Aristotle’s reply in Politics I, has been universally panned. The problem is that the argument clearly identifies household-management with slaveholding, and household-management with politics, but does not fully identify kingship with any of the others. I consider and reject three ways of saving the argument, and argue for a fourth. On my view, Plato assume…Read more
  •  360
    This is a study of Plato's use of the character Socrates to model what philosophy is. The study focuses on the Apology, and finds that philosophy there is the love of wisdom, where wisdom is expertise about how to live, of the sort that only gods can fully have, and where Socrates loves wisdom in three ways, first by honoring wisdom as the gods' possession, testing human claims to it, second by pursuing wisdom, examining himself as he examines others, to achieve a more well justified set of beli…Read more
  •  153
    Cosmopolitanism
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2013.
    The word ‘cosmopolitan’, which derives from the Greek word kosmopolitês (‘citizen of the world’), has been used to describe a wide variety of important views in moral and socio political philosophy. The nebulous core shared by all cosmopolitan views is the idea that all human beings, regardless of their political affiliation, do (or at least can) belong to a single community, and that this community should be cultivated. Different versions of cosmopolitanism envision this community in different …Read more
  •  149
    Die Erfindung kosmopolitaner Politik durch die Stoiker
    In Matthias Lutz-Bachmann, Andreas Niederberger & Philipp Schink (eds.), Kosmopolitanismus: Zur Geschichte und Zukunft eines umstrittenen Ideals, Velbrück Wissenschaft. pp. 9-24. 2010.
    This lecture explores the political import of Chrysippus' account of why and how one should live as a citizen of the cosmos, and it makes a case for seeing this account as the invention of political cosmopolitanism. (The preprint uploaded here is the final English draft on which the German translation was based.)
  •  484
    The Unity of the Soul in Plato's Republic
    In Rachel Barney, Tad Brennan & Charles Brittain (eds.), Plato and the Divided Self, . pp. 53-73. 2012.
    This essay argues that Plato in the Republic needs an account of why and how the three distinct parts of the soul are parts of one soul, and it draws on the Phaedrus and Gorgias to develop an account of compositional unity that fits what is said in the Republic.
  •  2
    Hellenistic Cosmopolitanism
    In Mary Louise Gill & Pierre Pellegrin (eds.), A Companion to Ancient Philosophy. pp. 549-558. 2006.
    This chapter surveys the origins and development in Greek philosophy of the thought that living well requires living as a citizen of the world.
  •  1
    Epicurus on the Value of Friendship (Sententia Vaticana 23)
    Classical Philology 97 (1): 68-80. 2002.
    The orthodox reading of Sententia Vaticana (SV) 23 emends the sentence and attributes to Epicurus the view that every friendship is choiceworthy for its own sake. I argue that this reading should be rejected, because it singularly contradicts all our evidence about Epicurus' view, according to which only pleasure is choiceworthy for its own sake. I defend the manuscript reading, that every friendship is in itself a virtue, and I argue that anyone who rejects the manuscript reading should attribu…Read more
  •  248
    The dominant Greek and Roman ideology held that the best human life required engaging in politics, on the grounds that the human good is shared, not private, and that the activities central to this shared good are those of traditional politics. This chapter surveys three ways in which philosophers challenged this ideology, defended a withdrawal from or transformation of traditional politics, and thus rethought what politics could be. Plato and Aristotle accept the ideology's two central commitme…Read more
  •  152
    Socrates in the Stoa
    In Sara Ahbel-Rappe & Rachana Kamtekar (eds.), A Companion to Socrates. pp. 275-284. 2006.
    I show how the familiar Stoic paradoxes were developed by reflecting on Socrates.
  •  292
    Aristotle's treatment of the choice between the political and contemplative lives (in EN I 5 and X 7-8) can seem awkward. To offer one explanation of this, I argue that when he invokes self-sufficience (autarkeia) as a criterion for this choice, he appeals to two different and incompatible specifications of "lacking nothing." On one specification, suitable to a human being living as a political animal and thus seeking to realize his end as an engaged citizen of a polis, a person lacks nothing by…Read more
  •  151
    Cynics
    In James Warren & Frisbee Sheffield (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Ancient Philosophy, Routledge. pp. 399-408. 2013.
    This overview attempts to explain how we can come to an account of Cynicism and what that account should look like. My account suggests that Cynics are identified by living like Diogenes of Sinope, and that Diogenes' way of life is characterized by distinctive twists on three Socratic commitments. The three Socratic commitments are that success in life depends on excellence of the soul; that this excellence and success are a special achievement, requiring hard work; and that this work requires d…Read more
  •  160
    Plato's dialogues use several terms for the concept of well-being, which concept plays a central ethical role as the ultimate goal for action and a central political role as the proper aim for states. But the dialogues also reveal sharp debate about what human well-being is. I argue that they endorse a Socratic conception of well-being as virtuous activity, by considering and rejecting several alternatives, including an ordinary conception that lists a variety of goods, a Protagorean conception …Read more
  •  1
    Stoic Cosmopolitanism and the Political Life
    Dissertation, The University of Chicago. 1997.
    Resurgent nationalisms and disputes over educational curricula have brought to the fore an old debate between cosmopolitans and patriots. The cosmopolitans emphasize our moral obligations to all human beings, while the patriots argue that our greatest moral obligations lie closer to hand, within our political community. My dissertation concerns the roots of this debate by focusing on the first philosophers in the West to devise an ethical theory which is fully committed to the strictly cosmopoli…Read more
  •  97
    The emergence of natural law and the cosmopolis
    In Stephen G. Salkever (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Greek Political Thought, Cambridge University Press. pp. 331-363. 2009.
    Two prominent metaphors in Greek and Roman political philosophy are surveyed here, with a view to determining their possible meanings and the plausibility of the claims advanced by those possible meanings.
  • Book Reviews (review)
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 37 (4): 671. 1999.
  •  254
    Justice and Compulsion for Plato’s Philosopher–Rulers
    Ancient Philosophy 20 (1): 1-17. 2000.
    By considering carefully Socrates' invocations of 'compulsion' in Plato's Republic, I seek to explain how both justice and compulsion are crucial to the philosophers' decision to rule in Kallipolis, so that this decision does not contradict Socrates' central thesis that it is always in one's interests to act justly. On my account, the compulsion is provided by a law, made by the city's lawgivers, that requires people raised to be philosophers take turns ruling. Justice by itself does not require…Read more
  • Lawrence C. Becker, A New Stoicism (review)
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 37 (1): 162-163. 1999.
  •  98
    I defend the Stoicizing view that Socrates in the Euthydemus really means what he says when he says that wisdom is the only good for a human being. By taking the deniers' case seriously and extending my Stoicizing interpretation to the Euthydemus as a whole, I aim to show how the dialogue calls into question three prominent assumptions that the deniers make, assumptions that reach far beyond the Euthydemus and that are made by more than just the deniers. First, the deniers misread Socrates' argu…Read more
  •  62
    The Roman Stoics: Self, Responsibility, and Affection (review) (review)
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (3): 490-491. 2007.
    Review of Gretchen Reydams-Schils, The Roman Stoics: Self, Responsibility, and Affection. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005.
  •  46
    Plato on the Rule of Wisdom
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 43 (S1): 84-96. 2005.
    How does Plato account for political legitimacy in the Republic? In the first half of these brief comments, I consider Fred Miller's proposal that Plato endorses "the rule of reason." In the second, I offer an alternative, according to which it is wisdom that earns rulers legitimacy.
  •  15
    A New Stoicism (review) (review)
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 37 (1): 162-164. 1999.
    A review of Lawrence Becker, A New Stoicism
  •  17
    The Ethics of the Stoic Epictetus: An English Translation, and: Discourses Book 1 (review) (review)
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 37 (4): 671-673. 1999.
  •  104
    Minding the gap in Plato's republic
    Philosophical Studies 117 (1-2): 275-302. 2004.
    At least since Sachs' well-known essay, readers of Plato's Republic have worried that there is a gap between the challenge posed to Socrates--to show that it is always in one's interest to act justly--and his response--to show that it is always in one's interest to have a just soul. The most popular response has been that Socrates fills this gap in Books Five through Seven by supposing that knowledge of the Forms motivates those with just souls to act justly. I offer some complaints about this g…Read more
  •  93
    An attempt to answer four unsettled questions about the Stoic definition of passions. (I am no longer working on this paper, but have incorporated some of its thoughts into subsequent work.)
  •  7
    Plutarch charges that Stoic theory is inconsistent with Stoic political engagement no matter what they decide to do, because the Stoics' endorsement of the political life is inconsistent with their cosmopolitan rejection of ordinary politics (Stoic.rep., ab init.). Drawing on evidence from Chrysippus and Seneca, I develop an argument that answers this charge, and I draw out two interesting implications of the argument. The first implication is for scholars of ancient Stoicism who like to say tha…Read more
  •  78
    Women in Plato’s Political Theory (review)
    Ancient Philosophy 22 (1): 189-193. 2002.
    Review of Morag Buchan, Women in Plato's Political Theory
  •  1
    Politics and society
    In James Warren (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Epicureanism, Cambridge University Press. 2009.
    An overview of Epicurus' thoughts about politics and society, including his attitude toward political engagement, his account of friendship, and his account of justice.