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Professor Vasilis Politis

Professor in (Philosophy)


MY INTELLECTUAL FORMATION. Childhood. Born in Athens, Greece, in 1963, I was brought to Denmark by my father, the architect Yannos Politis, in 1970, where I went to school till 1981, before moving to Oxford in 1982. This meant growing up trilingual, in Greek, Danish and English. Languages (in addition to Ancient Greek). I have, since my schooldays, acquired a reasonable proficiency in the French language, and, since my days as graduate student in Oxford, a high proficiency in Italian, the intensive study of which I resumed some years ago. I am fluent in German. University education in Oxford. From 1982 till 1992 I was in Oxford (St. John's College and St. Anne's College), studying first for a BA (1986. First Class, following a Scholarship at the Preliminary Examinations); then for a BPhil (1989; Masters in Philosophy); finally for a DPhil (1994; PhD). MY CAREER AT TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN. In 1992 I came to TCD, where I have been since: first (1992-1997) in a fixed-term position; and since 1997 in a permanent position. Undergraduate teaching. TCD has afforded me the privilege of having been able largely to teach in the areas in which I am genuinely interested and seeking to publish. I have benefitted from the quality of the undergraduate students. I have taught undergraduate students Ancient Philosophy at every level of the four-year programme. I have also taught other subjects, such as, some time ago, Kierkegaard and, for the past years, Nietzsche. Graduate teaching. I have built up a very considerable track record in supervising PhD students: I have supervised to completion twelve (12) PhD students, a number of whom are now in academic positions. Initiative in PhD student recruitment. I have taken very seriously, and have acted upon very successfully, the College's exhortation and request that we, the staff at TCD, go out in the world and recruit excellent PhD students. In the summer and autumn of 2016, I was invited to Wuhan University as Guest Professor. In the winter of 2016, I was invited to Renmin University (Beijing) as Guest Professor. In the winter of 2016, I was invited to present seminars at Zhejiang University. All of these visits have resulted in students from these universities coming to TCD to undertake PhD studies with me. The Trinity Plato Centre, directed jointly by Prof. John Dillon and myself. I want to offer a brief account of what, undoubtedly, has made a very major difference to my academic formation, profile, and track-record. This is The Trinity Plato Centre, initially set up in the late 1990s by Dillon and operating initially from his small office in the Arts Building. Since 2004, and thanks to the generosity of the then Provost, John Hegarty, The Centre has been operating, under the joint direction of John Dillon and myself, from its premises in the basement of the 1937 Building. These include: a 3500 strong open-shelf library in Ancient Philosophy; eight desk-spaces for PhD students; two offices, one occupied by myself and the librarian. The Trinity Plato Centre has since 2004 provided the physical, intellectual and social environment that has supported my incentives and activities as individual researcher and working together with a wide variety of other people very closely and on a near daily basis. This has included: PhD students; Postdoctoral Fellows; staff at every stage of their career, from TCD, Dublin, and Ireland; international academic visitors visiting for one or more months; a regular weekly seminar during term, in which we alternate between reading Plato and another ancient philosopher, typically Plotinus or Aristotle; a regular weekly seminar, in which PhD students and Postdocs especially, and staff too, present their latest work in progress; regular visiting speakers; an annual or bi-annual workshop; a number of major conferences; and an annual lecture for the wider public, The Stephen MacKenna Lecture.
  Ancient Philosophy, esp. Plato and Aristotle.   Ancient Scepticism.   Essence, explanation, and universals.
 POWER--REASON--LOVE: Crossroads in Plato's Ethics and Politics
 Plato's Essentialism
 Aporia in Ancient Philosophy

Details Date
Head of Department, Philosophy.
Fellow of Trinity College Dublin.
Secretary to the Fellows.
Member of the Fellows Standing Committee.
Chair of the Committee for Philosophy, Royal Irish Academy.
Director of the Dublin Centre for the Study of the Platonic Tradition
Details Date From Date To
Member of the International Plato Society.
Member of the European Society for Ancient Philosophy.
Member of the Irish Philosophical Club.
Member of the International Berkeley Society
Vasilis Politis, Plato's Essentialism. Reinterpreting the Theory of Forms, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2021, 1 - 251pp, Book, IN_PRESS
Vasilis Politis, Aristotle and the Metaphysics, London, Routledge, 2004, Book, PUBLISHED
Explanation and Essence in Plato's Phaedo in, editor(s)D. Charles , Definition in Greek Philosophy, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2010, pp62 - 114, [Vasilis Politis], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
George Karamanolis and Vasilis Politis, The Aporetic Tradition in Ancient Philosophy, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2018, Book, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Vasilis Politis, What do the Arguments in the Protagoras Amount to?, Phronesis, 57, (3), 2012, p209 - 239, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Vasilis Politis, Note on Plato's Statesman 275d8-e1, Classical Quarterly, 2021, Journal Article, ACCEPTED
What is behind the ti esti question? in, editor(s)J. L. Fink , The Development of Dialectic from Plato to Aristotle, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012, pp232 - 260, [Vasilis Politis], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
The concept of ousia in Metaphysics Alpha, Beta and Gamma in, editor(s)R. Polansky and W. Wians , Reading Aristotle. Argument and Exposition, Leiden, Brill, 2017, pp256 - 275, [Vasilis Politis and Jun Su], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Vasilis POLITIS, 'Plato's Ontology', China Scholarship (中国学术), 38, 2016, p000 - 000, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Vasilis Politis, The Primacy of Self-Love in the Nicomachean Ethics, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, 11, 1993, p153 - 174, Journal Article, PUBLISHED

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Award Date
Award from the College Arts and Social Sciences Benefactions Fund. 2006
Election to Fellow of Trinity College Dublin. 2005
Award from the College Arts and Social Sciences Benefactions Fund. 2004
Award from the College Arts and Social Sciences Benefactions Fund. 2003
Government of Ireland Fellowship 2007-08
Award from the College Association and Trust. 2003
Grant from the College Programme for Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies. 2002
Award from the College Arts and Social Sciences Benefactions Fund. 2007
Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin 2009-10
Award from the College Arts and Social Sciences Benefactions Fund. 2014
Ancient Philosophy, especially Plato and Aristotle (all areas, esp. metaphysics, epistemology and ethics). Ancient Scepticism. Aporia and its place in inquiry, in Plato, Aristotle and ancient scepticism. Contemporary modern metaphysics: essence.