Research

My research focuses on the development of early Greek philosophy out of the pre-philosophic worldview, as depicted by the poets Homer and Hesiod. My basic contention in this work is that the pre-philosophic concern with the will of the gods, and with divine providence in particular, provided the early Greek philosophers with the essential distinction between divine and human wisdom, a distinction the principle Greek thinkers – like Heraclitus, Parmenides, and Plato’s Socrates – did not seek to bridge so much as to understand. The basic theme of these thinkers is thus the concern with understanding the ambiguities that pervade human life, and thus the essentially aporetic quality of human understanding. In this way, I hope to demonstrate the extraordinary continuity of subject matter and intention that constitutes the flourishing of Greek thinking.

Becoming Socrates: Political Philosophy in Plato’s Parmenides (forthcoming)

This work is the first book-length treatment of Plato’s Parmenides as an account of the young Socrates’ education. Despite being the sole dialogue Plato devoted entirely to the young Socrates, the Parmenides is usually read as concerned exclusively with the questions of being and knowledge, i.e., as work of epistemology and ontology. According to such readings, the Parmenides is first of all concerned with presenting a critique of Socrates’ own ontology, followed with a mysteriously abstract training program that purports to free Socrates from this critique. Such a reading, however, is incomplete and thus untenable in light of Parmenides’ emphasis on the political and theological context in which the questions of being and knowledge are necessarily asked. He makes this point in a very much under-appreciated passage, where he details the “greatest impasse” Socrates’ dogmatic ontology faces. Reading this passage as the hinge between the dialogue’s two main parts, the author shows how the ontological dogmatism of the Pre-Socratic schools of philosophy is latently political and theological in character, and thus necessitates a turn to political philosophy, a turn effected by the Platonic Socrates in his encounter with Parmenides.

Essays and Articles

The following is a list of completed essays on the above theme. For published articles, I have included a link to a pdf whenever possible. If you are interested in reading and giving me feedback on any of them, please email me at alexpriou@gmail.com.

10. “Plato at a Glance.” (On Plato’s Cleitophon.)

9. “Conventionalism and Revelation.” (On Plato’s Minos.)

8. “The Philosopher in Plato’s Sophist.”

7. “Grave to Cradle—Sophocles’ ‘Antigone’.”

6. “The Problem of Providence in Homer’s Iliad.”

5. “Parmenides on Reason and Revelation,” Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy (2017) (forthcoming).

4. “On Two Socratic Questions,” The St. John’s Review 58.2 (2017), 77-91. (On Plato’s Euthyphro.)

3. “‘…Going Further On Down the Road…’: The Origin and Foundations of Milesian Thought,” The Review of Metaphysics 70 (2016), 3-31.

2. “Irony and Opinion: Plato’s Theaetetus and the Absent Philosopher,” The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 10 (2016), 151-167.

1. “Hesiod: Man, Law and Cosmos,” POLIS: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought 31.2 (2014): 233-260.