‘The Flourishing of Ancient Philosophy in America: Some Causes and Concerns’

In Greek Philosophy in the New Millennium. Berlin: Akademia Verlag. pp. 89-98 (2004)
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The second half of the 20th century may fairly be considered a golden age for the study of ancient philosophy. This period witnessed the creation of four English-language journals for specialists and two professional societies. Throughout this period there were numerous regional and national conferences, reading groups, NEH-sponsored summer seminars and institutes on various aspects of ancient thought, successful graduate programs in ancient philosophy at a sizable number of American universities, and a steady supply of jobs for specialists in the field. Seminal studies by Gregory Vlastos and G.E.L. Owen stimulated broad interest in ancient Greek philosophy by showing how the methods and issues explored by ancient thinkers were relevant to contemporary philosophical debates. On a less happy note, in recent years some influential analytic philosophers have discounted the value of work in the history of philosophy, and public funding for philosophy, along with other humanities fields, has declined sharply.

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