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J. Clerk ShawJ. Clerk Shaw

Associate Professor
806 McClung Tower
Knoxville, TN 37996-0480

Phone: 865-974-3255
Fax: 865-974-3509

I graduated with a Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis and joined the department in August 2007.

My research focuses on pleasure, pain, and the emotions in ancient Greek and Roman psychology and ethics, and particularly on ancient hedonism and anti-hedonism.  I have written especially on Plato's anti-hedonism and on Plato's positive ethical and political views in the Gorgias.  I am currently working on my second book, The Structure of Epicurean Ethics.  In the more distant future, I plan to argue for the view that most fundamentally, we come to know what is good and how to act through pleasures, pains, and emotions, but that neither moral beliefs nor moral properties are constituted by pleasures, pains, and emotions.

Recent, representative publications

  • "Poetry and Hedonic Error in Plato's Republic".  Phronesis 61 (2016), 373-396.
  • Plato's Anti-Hedonism and the Protagoras.  Cambridge University Press, 2015.
  • "Punishment and Psychology in Plato's Gorgias", Polis 31 (2015), 75-95.
  • "Ancient Ethics", Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2015). 
  • "Socrates and the True Political Craft", Classical Philology 106 (2011), 187-207.

Recent, representative presentations

"Sophistry and Reputation for Wisdom in Plato's Euthydemus"

  • Workshop on the Charmides and Euthydemus, Wake Forest U, November 2017

"Epicurean Philosophy and Its Parts"

  • Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy, October 2017
  • Pacific APA, group meeting of the Hellenistic Philosophy Society, April 2017

"In (Partial) Defense of Epicurus on Pleasure"

  • History of Philosophy Society annual meeting, May 2017
  • Spring Symposium at UTK, March 2015
  • Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy, October 2014.

"Plato, Sentimentalism, and Empirical Psychology"

  • Symposium on Plato's anti-hedonism at Eastern APA, January 2017

"Ethics and Physics in Lucretius"

  • Fourth Annual Penn Ancient Philosophy Workshop (on Lucretius), April 2016

Author Meets Critics session on Plato's Anti-Hedonism and the Protagoras

  • Pacific APA, April 2016 (critics: Vanessa deHarven and Josh Wilburn)

"Vulnerability and Virtue", public discussion with Marina McCoy (Boston College)

  • Organized by the Veritas Forum at UT, November 2015

"Two Forms of Deliberation in Epicureanism"

  • Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy, October 2015

"Poetry and Hedonic Error in Plato's Republic"

  • Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress, August 2015
  • European Philosophical Society for the Study of Emotions, July 2015
  • Symposium at Central APA, March 2014

"Aristotle on the Emotions: Praise and Blame"

  • Institute for the History of Philosophy Workshop on Aristotle and the Emotions, June 2015

Ancient philosophy; history of philosophy generally; practical philosophy (including topics in ethics, metaethics, and action theory).

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