Julia Annas – Lecture
Boston, MA 02215
Julia Annas is one of most important and influential scholars of ancient philosophy. Many of her books (at least 14 to date) and articles (more than 100) have been translated into multiple languages and are very widely cited. She was the founding editor of the important journal, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy. After graduating from Oxford, she did her PhD with G.E.L. Owen at Harvard. Her dissertation, a close study of Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Books M and N, became her first book. Much of her subsequent work has centered on ethics, particularly on Plato’s ethics. She argues that, like Aristotle, Plato advances a character ethics. That means that ethics is dependent not on rules and maxims, but on cultivating the moral skills that allow one to act well. She has made Plato’s ethics not just relevant to contemporary moral philosophy, but a significant alternative to other contemporary accounts of morality. Despite its intellectual power, her work is usually very accessible to a wide audience.