a simple headshot-style picture of Donald Morrison, smiling
Professor

My main research interests include Socrates; Xenophon; classical Greek moral and political philosophy; and conceptions of method in later Greek philosophy. Major research projects include:

  1. “Self and Others” in Classical Greek Philosophy”. For more than a century, a commonplace of scholarship has been that ancient Greek ethics was egoistic. That is, all or almost all ancient Greek moral philosophers held that the actions of any agent (or: any fully rational agent) have as their ultimate aim that agent’s own welfare or eudaimonia. I am working on a comprehensive study of this issue in Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. My thesis is that this commonplace is false: despite the appearances given by certain texts, the moral psychology of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle is not egoistic.

  2. "Conceptions of Analytic Method in Late Greek Philosophy". A study of conceptions of "analysis" as a philosophical method or methods, roughly from Alexander of Aphrodesias through Philoponus. Certain related methods of arriving at first principles are included in the study, esp. a method called "tekmeriodic proof".The project is aimed at historians of science, as well as at philosophers and historians of philosophy. One way of describing the topic is as "the ancient antecedents of Zabarella's and Galileo's resolutive-compositive method.

  3. Co-editing, with Gabriel Danzig and David Johnson, Plato and Xenophon: Comparative Studies, Brill.