•  4130
    On 'Logos' in Heraclitus
    Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 47 1-29. 2014.
    In this paper, I offer a new solution to the old problem of how best to understand the meaning of the word ‘logos’ in the extant writings of Heraclitus, especially in fragments DK B1, B2 and B50. On the view I defend, Heraclitus was neither using the word in a perfectly ordinary way in these fragments, as some have maintained, nor denoting by it some kind of general principle or law governing change in the cosmos, as many have claimed. Rather, I argue, Heraclitus deliberately traded on the ordin…Read more
  •  1385
    Aristotle on Sounds
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (5): 631-48. 2013.
    In this paper I consider two related issues raised by Aristotle 's treatment of hearing and sounds. The first concerns the kinds of changes Aristotle takes to occur, in both perceptual medium and sense organs, when a perceiver hears a sounding object. The second issue concerns Aristotle 's views on the nature and location of the proper objects of auditory perception. I argue that Aristotle 's views on these topics are not what they have sometimes been taken to be, and that when rightly understoo…Read more
  •  795
    In books 8 and 9 of Plato’s Republic, Socrates provides a detailed account of the nature and origins of four main kinds of vice found in political constitutions and in the kinds of people that correspond to them. The third of the four corrupt kinds of person he describes is the ‘democratic man’. In this paper, I ask what ‘rules’ in the democratic man’s soul. It is commonly thought that his soul is ruled in some way by its appetitive part, or by a particular class of appetitive desires. I reject …Read more
  •  685
    Aristotle on Odour and Smell
    Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 43 143-83. 2012.
    The sense of smell occupies a peculiar intermediate position within Aristotle's theory of sense perception: odours, like colours and sounds, are perceived at a distance through an external medium of air or water; yet in their nature they are intimately related to flavours, the proper objects of taste, which for Aristotle is a form of touch. In this paper, I examine Aristotle's claims about odour and smell, especially in De Anima II.9 and De Sensu 5, to see what light they shed on his theory of s…Read more
  •  638
    Changing Rulers in the Soul: Psychological Transitions in Republic 8-9
    Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 41 139-67. 2011.
    In this paper, I consider how each of the four main kinds of corrupt person described in Plato's Republic, Books 8-9, first comes to be. Certain passages in these books can give the impression that each person is able to determine, by a kind of rational choice, the overall government of his/her soul. However, I argue, this impression is mistaken. Upon careful examination, the text of books 8 and 9 overwhelmingly supports an alternative interpretation. According to this view, the eventual governm…Read more
  •  535
    Aristotle and Alexander on Perceptual Error
    Phronesis 60 (3): 310-338. 2015.
    Aristotle sometimes claims that the perception of special perceptibles by their proper sense is unerring. This claim is striking, since it might seem that we quite often misperceive things like colours, sounds and smells. Aristotle also claims that the perception of common perceptibles is more prone to error than the perception of special perceptibles. This is puzzling in its own right, and also places constraints on the interpretation of. I argue that reading Alexander of Aphrodisias on percept…Read more
  •  406
    Tyrannized Souls: Plato's Depiction of the ‘Tyrannical Man’
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (3): 423-437. 2015.
    In book 9 of Plato's Republic, Socrates describes the nature and origins of the ‘tyrannical man’, whose soul is said to be ‘like’ a tyrannical city. In this paper, I examine the nature of the ‘government’ that exists within the tyrannical man's soul. I begin by demonstrating the inadequacy of three potentially attractive views sometimes found in the literature on Plato: the view that the tyrannical man's soul is ruled by his ‘lawless’ unnecessary appetites, the view that it is ruled by sexual de…Read more
  •  38
    Aristotle on Perceiving Objects, by Anna Marmodoro (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 201501. 2015.
  •  38
    The Powers of Aristotle’s Soul, by Thomas Kjeller Johansen (review)
    Mind 124 (496): 1303-1305. 2015.
    A review of Thomas Johansen's book: The Powers of Aristotle's Soul.
  •  19
    Plato on the Enslavement of Reason
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (3): 382-394. 2020.
    In Republic 8–9, Socrates describes four main kinds of vicious people, all of whose souls are “ruled” by an element other than reason, and in some of whom reason is said to be “enslaved.” What role does reason play in such souls? In this paper, I argue, based on Republic 8–9 and related passages, and in contrast to some common alternative views, that for Plato the “enslavement” of reason consists in this: instead of determining for itself what is good, reason is forced to desire and pursue as go…Read more
  •  15
    Comments on K. Sayre, “Dialectic in Plato’s late dialogues” (review)
    Plato: The Internet Journal of the International Plato Society 16 91-94. 2016.
    A brief overview of Kenneth Sayre’s paper, “Dialectic in Plato’s Late Dialogues,” followed by critical discussion.
  •  13
    A Wolf in the City: Tyranny and the Tyrant in Plato's Republic by Cinzia Arruzza (review)
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 57 (4): 750-751. 2019.
    A review of Cinzia Arruzza's book A Wolf in the City: Tyranny and the Tyrant in Plato's Republic.
  •  4
    Aristotle on the Unity of Touch
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 59 (1): 23-43. 2021.
    Aristotle is history’s most famous and influential proponent of the view that there are exactly five senses. But was he entitled to hold this view, given his other commitments? In particular, was he entitled to treat touch as a single sense, given the diversity of its correlated objects? In this paper I argue that Aristotle wished to individuate touch on the basis of its correlated objects, just as he had the other four senses. I also argue, contrary to what is often supposed, that he was well-p…Read more
  • A brief overview of Kenneth Sayre’s paper, “Dialectic in Plato’s Late Dialogues,” followed by critical discussion. I invite Sayre to clarify his views on the nature of the method of hypothesis in Plato, and on its relationships to Socratic dialectic and to the method of collection and division. I then ask whether we should think of Plato as aware, at the time of writing his dialogues, of weaknesses in the various methods of conducting philosophical inquiry he has his characters employ. Finally, …Read more
  • On the Ethical Dimension of Heraclitus' Thought
    In David Wolfsdorf (ed.), Early Greek Ethics, Oxford University Press. pp. 37-53. 2020.
    This paper argues that Heraclitus was deeply and centrally interested in ethical questions, understood broadly as questions about how human beings should live. In particular, I argue, Heraclitus held that wisdom is essential for living well, and that most people lack the kind of fundamental insight into the nature of reality in which wisdom consists. Topics covered include Heraclitus’ views on: the good and bad condition of the soul, the nature and sources of wisdom, the reasons why most people …Read more