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Christopher Moore

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Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore

Professor of Philosophy and Classics
Director of Undergraduate Studies for Philosophy
Director of the Hellenic Studies Group
240E Sparks Building, University Park PA, 16802
(814) 863-5514


A.B., Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH), 2002
Ph.D., University of Minnesota (Minneapolis), 2008

Professional Bio

I am at work on my fourth monograph, The Thinkery: Ideas and Intellectuals in the Age of Socrates (Harvard UP), a major new account of cultural developments in the fifth century bce. It focuses on the advent of putative “thinkers” – sophistai, philosophoi, phrontistai, among others – and what they think about, namely “ideas.” It explains the rise of what we might call “public philosophy” and identifies the celebrities of that burgeoning public intellectual sphere. It tells the story of lesser-known figures – professional musicians, founders of colonies, and poets of the afterlife – and gives new contours to the lives of the famous, including Anaxagoras, Socrates, and Euripides.

While writing this book I am editing a wide variety of editions of figures and translations of texts from the fifth and fourth centuries, among them especially those of the sophists, the Socratics, and Plato. The Cambridge Companion to the Sophistsserves as a guide to these figures and texts. A leading ambition of mine is to create and foster academic networks for students and scholars on these topics.

My most recent monograph is The Virtue of Agency: Sôphrosunê and Self-Constitution in Classical Greece (Oxford UP). I argue that as the Greeks debated the value and scope of the canonical virtue sôphrosunê, best translated “discipline,” they came to articulate a plausible conception of agency and selfhood. What has often seemed the virtue concerned with moderate drinking turns out to be the virtue of rational personhood.

In 2019 I published Calling Philosophers Names: On the Origin of a Discipline (Princeton UP), a study of the coinage and early use of the term philosophos, especially the role it played in the constitution of the discipline we now call philosophy. The term has long erroneously been thought to have meant, at its start, “lover of wisdom”; I argue that it started instead as a pejorative name-calling name for those seeking the elite social status of sophoi, “sages,” those personages deemed authoritative advice-givers in politics and life. While it eventually got glossed, retrospectively and redemptively, as “lover of wisdom,” it probably began as “sage wannabe.” This book, now quite broadly reviewed, includes discussion of all early uses of the term, from Heraclitus to Aristotle, and advances an institutional-conversational theory of what philosophy is.

Much of my earlier writing – notably Socrates and Self-Knowledge (Cambridge UP), several edited collections, and a sequence of articles – concerned Socrates and his context, influence, and reception.

Areas of Specialization

  • Classical Greek philosophy and intellectual history, esp. ethics, moral psychology, ‘public philosophy,’ methodology, and Socrates
  • Self-knowledge, agency, practical rationality

Recent Courses

  • Early Greek ethics (graduate seminar)
  • Plato’s Republic and its context (undergraduate seminar)
  • Ancient philosophy (undergraduate survey)
  • How to Live (“philosophy as a way of life” undergraduate practical experience)
  • Greek language and literature

Recent Publications


  • 2023. The Virtue of Agency: Sôphrosunê and Self-Constitution in Classical Greece (Oxford), pp. xiv + 394. [link]
  • 2023. Cambridge Companion to the Sophists, with J. Billings, edd. (Cambridge), pp. x + 520. [link]
  • 2023. Sears Jayne, Plato in Medieval England, ed. (Brepols), pp. xii + 320. [link]
  • 2020. Calling Philosophers Names: On the Origin of a Discipline (Princeton), pp. xxi + 411 [link]
  • 2019. Brill's Companion to the Reception of Socrates, ed. (Brill), pp. xvii + 1009. [link]
  • 2019. Plato: Charmides. Translation, Notes, Introduction, and Analysis, with C.C. Raymond (Hackett), pp. xlii + 124 [link]
  • 2018. Socrates and the Socratic Dialogue, with A. Stavru, edd. (Brill), pp. ix + 931 [link]
  • 2015. Socrates and Self-Knowledge (Cambridge), pp. xvii + 275 [link]

Books in progress

  • Stobaeus’ Anthology of Wisdom, a collaborative translation (the first in English) (Oxford)
  • Critias of Athens: Texts, Translations, Commentary, Essays, with C.C. Raymond (Oxford)
  • Public Philosophy of Classical Greece, 470–370: A Sourcebook, with Mirjam Kotwick (Cambridge)
  • Plato on the Virtues: introduction and new translations of Charmides, Laches, Protagoras, and Republic I, with C.C. Raymond (Hackett)
  • The Socratics: Texts, Translations, and Notes on the First Generation, with Alex Lee and Alessandro Stavru
  • Hippias of Elis: Texts, Translations, Commentaries, Essays, with several collaborators 

Forthcoming articles

  • "Sôphrosunê and self-knowledge in Xenophon and the fourth century," in Xenophon's Virtues, Gabriel Danzig, ed.
  • “Socrates between city and self: the Apologies of Xenophon and Plato,” in Oxford Handbook on Ancient Greek Political Thought, Carol Atack, ed. (Oxford)
  • “Socrates,” in Encyclopedia of Skepticism and Jewish Tradition, Giuseppe Veltri, ed. (Brill)
  • “Plato’s philosophical inquiry into rhetoric,” in The Cambridge History of Rhetoric, vol. 1, Henriette van der Blom and Harvey Yunis, edd. (Cambridge)

Articles in print

  • 2023. “The fourth-century creative reception of the Sophists,” in The Cambridge Companion to the Sophists, Joshua Billings and Christopher Moore, edd. (Cambridge), 337–69
  • 2023. “Self-Knowledge,” in Bloomsbury Handbook of Plato, 2nd ed., Mateo Duque and Gerald Press, edd. (Bloomsbury), 342–44
  • 2023. “Philosophia in the Gorgias,” in Politeia: Studies in Ancient Philosophy in Honor of Professor Anthony Preus, David Spitzer, ed. (Routledge), 96–109
  • 2023. Xenophon and the Spartan education in sôphrosunê (Lac. Pol. 3),” in Xenophon, the Philosopher: Argumentation and Ethics, Claudia Mársico and Daniel Rossi Nunes Lopes, edd. (Peter Lang), 129–48
  • 2021. "Promêtheia as rational agency in Plato," Apeiron 54, 89–107
  • 2020. “Critias in Plato's Protagoras: an opponent of agôn?," in Athletics, Gymnastics, and Agôn in Plato (Parnassos), 67–80
  • 2020. “Questioning Aristotle's radical analysis of sôphrosunê," in Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium of Ancient Philosophy 35, 73–97.
  • 2020. “Ancient Greek philosophia in India as a way of life,” Metaphilosophy 51, 169–86
  • 2020. "Aristotle's philosophêmata," in Revisiting Aristotle's Fragments (De Gruyter), 49–65.
  • 2019. "Socrates in Aristotle's history of philosophy," in Brill's Companion to the Reception of Socrates (Brill), 173–210
  • 2019. "Aristotle and philosophia," Metaphilosophy 50, 339–60
  • 2019. "Critias of Athens," Oxford Bibliographies, with C.C. Raymond
  • 2018. "Heraclitus and 'knowing yourself,'" Ancient Philosophy 38, 1–21
  • 2018. "Xenophon’s Socratic education in Memorabilia 4” in Socrates and the Socratic Dialogue (Brill), 500–520
  • 2018. "Xenophon, 'philosophy,' and Socrates" in Xenophon and Plato: Comparative Studies (Brill), 128–164
  • 2017. "Heracles the philosopher (Herodorus fr. 14)," Classical Quarterly 67, 27–48
  • 2017. "Narrative constitution of friendship," with S. Frederick, Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review 56, 111–130
  • 2017. "Plato and images of oneself," in Plato and the Power of Images (Brill), 88–106
  • 2016. "Anaxagoras, Socrates, and the History of 'Philosophia,'" CHS Research Bulletin [link]
  • 2016. "'Philosophy' in Plato’s Phaedrus," Plato Journal 15 [link]
  • 2016. “Spartan philosophy and Sage wisdom in Plato’s Protagoras," Epoché 23
  • 2015. “Promêtheia ('forethought') until Plato,” American Journal of Philology 136
  • 2015. "Socrates and self-knowledge in Aristophanes' Clouds," Classical Quarterly 65
  • 2015. "Socratic self-knowledge in Xenophon Memorabilia 4.2," Classical Journal 110
  • 2014. "How to 'Know Thyself' in Plato's Phaedrus," Apeiron 47
  • 2014. "Arguing about the immortality of the soul in the palinode of Plato’s Phaedrus," Philosophy & Rhetoric 47
  • 2014. "Pindar’s charioteer in Plato’s Phaedrus," Classical Quarterly 62
  • 2013. "Socrates Psychagogos (Birds 1555, Phaedrus 261a7)," in Socratica III
  • 2013. "Chaerephon the Socratic," Phoenix 67
  • 2013. "Deception and knowledge in the Phaedrus," Ancient Philosophy 33
  • 2012. "Socrates and Clitophon in the Platonic Clitophon," Ancient Philosophy 32
  • 2012. "Chaerephon, Telephus, and cure in Plato’s Gorgias," Arethusa 45
  • 2012. "The myth of Theuth in the Phaedrus," in Plato and Myth
  • 2012. "Appearance and reality," in Continuum Companion to Plato
  • 2011. "Socratic persuasion in the Crito," British Journal of the History of Philosophy 19
  • 2007. “Between persuasion and coercion in Plato's Republic," Newsletter of the Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy [link]


  • Socratic Persuasion (2008)
Christopher Moore
Christopher Moore