Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy, University of Sheffield

Most of my work is in ancient Greek philosophy and in ethics (both ancient and modern), and I have broad interests across both fields. Topics that I particularly focus on are: the ethics of flourishing and virtue ethics; courage, heroism and fame; concepts of 'manliness'; war and peace; love and desire; mental health and illness; relations between philosophy and literature; relations between ethics and aesthetics. In Plato and the Hero I concentrate on Plato's critique of the notions and embodiments of 'manliness' and courage prevalent in his culture (particularly those in Homer), and his attempt to redefine them in accordance with his own ethical, psychological and metaphysical principles. The question of why courage is necessary in the flourishing life in its turn leads to Plato's bid to unify the noble and the beneficial, and the tensions this unification creates between human and divine ideals.

I am currently working on a new translation of and commentary on Plato's Symposium (for Oxford University Press) and a book on heroism, courage and fame.

Experience

  • –present
    Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy, University of Sheffield