Gregory Vlastos

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Gregory Vlastos
BornJuly 27, 1907
Constantinople, Ottoman Empire (present-day Istanbul, Turkey)
DiedOctober 12, 1991
Alma materRobert College
Harvard University
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolAnalytic philosophy
Doctoral advisorAlfred North Whitehead
Doctoral studentsTerence Irwin, Richard Kraut, Paul Woodruff, Alexander Nehamas
Main interests
Philosophy of religion
Notable ideas
Socratic philosophy as distinct from what is commonly known as Platonism

Gregory Vlastos (/ˈvlæsts/; Greek: Γρηγόριος Βλαστός; July 27, 1907 – October 12, 1991) was a scholar of ancient philosophy, and author of several works on Plato and Socrates. A Christian, Vlastos also wrote about Christian faith. He is considered to be "a preeminent scholar on Socrates who transformed the analysis of classical philosophy."[1]

Life and works[edit]

Vlastos was born in Istanbul, to a Scottish mother and a Greek father, where he received a Bachelor of Arts from Robert College before moving to Harvard University where he received a PhD in 1931. After teaching for several years at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, he moved to Cornell University in 1948. He was Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University between 1955 and 1976, and then Mills Professor of Philosophy at University of California, Berkeley until 1987. He received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1990. He was twice awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a corresponding fellow of the British Academy, and a member of the American Philosophical Society.[2] Vlastos died in 1991, before finishing a new compilation of essays on Socratic philosophy.

He is credited with bringing about a renaissance of interest in Plato among philosophers throughout the world.[2] Many of Vlastos' students have become important scholars of ancient philosophy, including Terence Irwin, Richard Kraut, Paul Woodruff, and Alexander Nehamas.

Theory of Socratic philosophy[edit]

In his work The Philosophy of Socrates: a Collection of Critical Essays (UNDP 1971), Vlastos advanced the idea "that one can identify in certain Platonic dialogues a philosophical method and a collection of philosophical theses which may properly be attributed to Socrates."[3] He maintained that this can be described as "Socratic philosophy, as distinct from what is commonly known as Platonism".[3] The idea remains controversial[3] and those who agree with his position are referred to as Vlastosians.


  • Christian Faith and Democracy, Association Press, 1939
  • Platonic Studies, Princeton University Press, 1973, ISBN 978-0-691-07162-6 ISBN 0691071624
  • Socrates, Ironist and Moral Philosopher, Cornell University Press, 1991, ISBN 978-0-8014-9787-2 ISBN 0801497876
  • Socratic Studies, Cambridge University Press, 1994, ISBN 978-0-521-44735-5 ISBN 0521447356
  • Studies in Greek Philosophy Volume I: the Presocratics, Princeton University Press, 1995, ISBN 978-0-691-03310-5 ISBN 0691033102
  • Studies in Greek Philosophy; Volume II: Socrates, Plato, and Their Tradition, Princeton University Press, 1995, ISBN 978-0-691-03311-2 ISBN 0691033110
  • Plato's Universe, Parmenides Publishing, 2005, ISBN 978-1-930972-13-1 ISBN 193097213X


  • Towards the Christian Revolution - with R.B.Y. Scott, Willett, Clark & Company, 1936.
  • Plato, a Collection of Critical Essays: I, Metaphysics and Epistemology; II, Ethics, Politics, and Philosophy of Art and Religion Anchor Books / Doubleday and Company, 1971
  • Philosophy of Socrates: a Collection of Critical Essays (Modern Studies in Philosophy), University of Notre Dame Press, 1980, ISBN 978-0-268-01537-4 ISBN 0268015376

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b An In memoriam essay Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b c Robert B. Talisse (2002). "Misunderstanding Socrates". Arion (9.3 ed.): 111–121.

External links[edit]