Gabriel Richardson Lear

Gabriel Richardson Lear
Professor
Foster 306 and Stuart 214
Office Hours: Autumn Quarter: Thursdays, 1:30-3:20 (in Foster 306)
773.702.5078
Princeton University PhD (2001) and AB Summa Cum Laude (1993)
Teaching at UChicago since 2003
Research Interests: Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy

Gabriel Richardson Lear (Professor of Philosophy) works on ancient Greek and Roman philosophy. Her book, Happy Lives and the Highest Good: An Essay on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (Princeton, 2004), is about the relationship between morally virtuous action and theoretical contemplation in the happiest life. She is currently writing about Plato's aesthetics and about the status of beauty as an ethical concept in the work of several philosophers. She received her PhD in Philosophy from Princeton University (2001).

Selected Publications

2004: Happy Lives and the Highest Good: An Essay on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Princeton University Press. (Paperback 2005).

2019: Plato's Philebus: A Philosophical DiscussionOxford University Press.

2015: “Aristotle on Happiness and Long Life,” Happiness in Antiquity, edd. Emilsson, Fossheim, Rabbas, and Tuominen, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2014: “Approximation and Acting For an Ultimate End,” Theoria: Studies on the Status and Meaning of Contemplation in Aristotle’s Ethics, ed. Pierre Destrée and Marco Zingano, Peeters Publishers.

2013: “Plato’s Poetics,” Routledge Companion to Ancient Philosophy, eds. F. Sheffield and J. Warren, Routledge Publishing.

2013: “Aristotle,” International Encyclopedia of Ethics, ed. Hugh LaFollette, Wiley Blackwell Publishing.

2011: “Mimesis and Psychological Change in Republic III,” Plato and the Poets, Mnemosyne supp. vol. 328, ed. Pierre Destrée and Fits-Gregor Herrmann, 195-216.

2009: “Happiness, the Good, and the Structure of Ends,” Blackwell’s Companion to Aristotle, ed. G. Anagnostopoulos, Blackwell Publishing.

2006: “Permanent Beauty and Becoming Happy in Plato’s Symposium,” Plato’s Symposium: Issues in Interpretation and Reception, ed. Jim Lesher, Debra Nails, and Frisbee Sheffield, Harvard University Center for Hellenic Studies Press.

2006: “Aristotle on Moral Virtue and the Fine,” Blackwell’s Companion to Aristotle’s Ethics, ed. R. Kraut.

2006: “Plato on Learning to Love Beauty,” Blackwell’s Companion to Plato’s Republic, ed. G. Santas.

Media

Gabriel Richardson Lear on Elucidations (Dept of Philosophy podcast)

Recent Courses

PHIL 25819 Stoic and Epicurean Ethics

In this course we will devote roughly equal time to these profoundly influential, appealing, and often dueling, philosophical schools.  Our focus will be on their theories of nature, and especially of human nature; their views of pleasure, fear, and their role in human life; their accounts of virtue and of friendship; and, above all, their arguments for their differing conceptions of the human good: pleasure (according to the Epicureans) or “living in agreement with nature” (according to the Stoics).  Readings will include selections from Epicurus, Lucretius, Cicero, and Epictetus. (A)

Humanities Core.

2021-2022 Spring

PHIL 55701 The Ethics and Poetics of Mimesis

(SCTH 55701)

In this seminar we will examine the concept of mimesis as a way of thinking about poetry and the arts and also as a way of thinking about human life more generally.  Our focus will be Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Poetics, though we will consider relevant passages from other dialogues and treatises.  What should we make of the fact that Socrates figures both the unjust person and the philosopher-ruler as a mimetic artist? In what way is his critique of mimesis ontological, psychological, and political?  Are there differing explanations of the influence of mimetic speech, sound, and sights? Why do Plato and Aristotle believe that poetic mimesis is a necessary element of moral education?  How does Aristotle’s different, more dynamic account of poetic mimesis reflect a different understanding of the nature poetry and its place in human life?  If time permits, we will briefly consider Epictetus’s idea that we should think of ourselves as actors playing a role in the cosmic drama. (IV)

 

Preference will be given to PhD students.  MA students require permission of the instructor.

 

2021-2022 Autumn
Category
Ancient Philosophy
Medieval Philosophy

PHIL 25000 History of Philosophy I: Ancient Philosophy

(CLCV 22700)

An examination of ancient Greek philosophical texts that are foundational for Western philosophy, especially the work of Plato and Aristotle. Topics will include: the nature and possibility of knowledge and its role in human life; the nature of the soul; virtue; happiness and the human good.

Completion of the general education requirement in humanities.

2020-2021 Spring
Category
Ancient Philosophy

PHIL 25000 History of Philosophy I: Ancient Philosophy

(CLCV 22700)

An examination of ancient Greek philosophical texts that are foundational for Western philosophy, especially the work of Plato and Aristotle. Topics will include: the nature and possibility of knowledge and its role in human life; the nature of the soul; virtue; happiness and the human good.

Completion of the general education requirement in humanities.

2020-2021 Autumn
Category
Ancient Philosophy

PHIL 51721 Topics in Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics

(SCTH 51721)

A close reading of the Nicomachean Ethics, with particular emphasis on his theory of moral virtue, moral education. (I) (IV)

2020-2021 Autumn
Category
Ethics

PHIL 21720 Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

(FNDL 21908)

This course will offer a close reading of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, one of the great works of ethics. Among the topics to be considered are: What is a good life? What is ethics? What is the relation between ethics and having a good life? What is it for reason to be practical? What is human excellence? What is the non-rational part of the human psyche like? How does it ever come to listen to reason? What is human happiness? What is the place of thought and of action in the happy life? (A)

This course is intended for Philosophy majors and for Fundamentals majors. Otherwise please seek permission to enroll.

2018-2019 Autumn
Category
Ancient Philosophy

PHIL 25000 History of Philosophy I: Ancient Philosophy

(CLCV 22700)

An examination of ancient Greek philosophical texts that are foundational for Western philosophy, especially the work of Plato and Aristotle. Topics will include: the nature and possibility of knowledge and its role in human life; the nature of the soul; virtue; happiness and the human good.

Completion of the general education requirement in humanities.

2018-2019 Autumn
Category
Ancient Philosophy

PHIL 29911/39911 Ancient Greek Aesthetics

(CLCV 26517, CLAS 36517, SCTH 39911)

The ancient Greek philosophical tradition contains an enormously rich and influential body of reflection on the practice of poetry. We will focus our attention on Plato and Aristotle, but will also spend some time with Longinus and Plotinus. Topics will include: the analysis of poetry in terms of mimesis and image; poetry-making as an exercise of craft, divine inspiration, or some other sort of knowledge; the emotional effect on the audience; the role of poetry in forming moral character and, more broadly, its place in society; the relation between poetry, rhetoric, and philosophy; aesthetic values of beauty, wonder, truth, and grace. (A) (IV)

Meets with Jr/Sr section. Open only to intensive-track majors. No more than two tutorials may be used to meet program requirements.

2017-2018 Winter
Category
Ancient Philosophy

PHIL 51715 Plato and Aristotle on Craft and Wisdom

(SCTH 51715)

Plato and Aristotle both made extensive appeal to craft knowledge as a model for theorizing practical and political wisdom. In this seminar we will examine their conceptions of craft and its relation to wisdom. Readings will likely come from Plato's Ion, Gorgias, Republic, and Statesman and Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and Metaphysics. (IV)

2017-2018 Autumn
Category
Ancient Philosophy

PHIL 55503 Plato's Statesman

In this dialogue, Plato depicts an attempt to describe the nature of expert political knowledge and to distinguish it from demagoguery and charlatanism. Most of the dialogue proceeds by the method of dialectic and so, in addition to fascinating discussions of the role of law, forms of government, and the relation of political ideals to the imperfection of human life, this dialogue is also an important source for understanding Plato's epistemology and conception of the philosophical life. We will work our way through the text week by week. (IV)

2016-2017 Winter
Category
Ancient Philosophy

PHIL 25000 History of Philosophy I: Ancient Philosophy

(CLCV 22700)

An examination of ancient Greek philosophical texts that are foundational for Western philosophy, especially the work of Plato and Aristotle. Topics will include: the nature and possibility of knowledge and its role in human life; the nature of the soul; virtue; happiness and the human good.

Completion of the general education requirement in humanities.

2016-2017 Autumn
Category
Ancient Philosophy

For full list of Gabriel Lear's courses back to the 2012-13 academic year, see our searchable course database.