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Here are some of my projects

For further information or up to date drafts just drop me a line: sparling(dot)rupert(at)gmail(dot)com

Ongoing Research Projects

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Plato's Two-Worlds Theory

Plato thinks Philosophical rule is justified by knowledge. In a 'Two Worlds' interpretation of Plato's work, we can only have knowledge of Forms. These are abstract, transcendental and atemporal entities responsible for things being the way they are.  But how does knowing such things help one be a good ruler? This, in a snapshot, is the so-called ‘two-worlds problem’  in Plato's Epistemology.

The function argument of Republic II has suffered from undeserved neglect.  It offers arresting programmatic statements about functions, and their relationship to virtues, as well as serving to illustrate some interesting points about Socratic induction. I argue that it gives an entirely different conception of function than the Aristotelian tradition, and represents a significant path not taken in ethical naturalism. 

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The Function Argument of Republic II

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Intrinsic Value in Ancient Thought

Can we legitimately speak of intrinsic value in Ancient ethical theory, or do we risk anachronism whenever we do so? Typically, intrinsic value has been thought to be special in some way and perhaps even equivalent to moral value. Whether Plato, Aristotle, and the Ancients really have this sort of value,or some merely proximate notion, is a major question in Ancient Philosophy.

Philosophers are not immune to the ambiguities of imagery and trope. Part of my research traces the reception of the Isles of the Blest in ancient philosophical thought. We find these Isles in Hesiod, Pindar, Plato, the Protrepticus and in Antiochus of Ascalon (via Cicero's De Finibus). Antiochus and the Protrepticus use the trope to very different ends and to support very different conclusions.  

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The Isles of the Blest in Greek Ethical Thought 


The Philosophy of the Oligarch

The Ancient Greek Oligarch distributed power, authority and honour according to one's wealth. They approved of small sets of individuals ruling cities rather than whole assemblies like the democracy of Athens. I try to unpick whether there is some underlying ethical view the Oligarchs were committed to and which motivated their opposition to Democracy.  

What are Ancient Philosophers doing when they engage in ethics and disagree with one another about ethics? How many varieties of normativity are there in Plato? Is Plato a paradigmatic realist about ethics, or is the picture more complicated than this? These are a small subset of the questions which can be asked when we put some meta-ethical questions to Ancient Greek Philosophy.


Ancient Greek Metaethics

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