Approaches to Social Justice in Greek and Roman Philosophy

May 10-11, 2019
Wesleyan University
Allbritton 311


Contemporary debates about social justice issues generally reflect modern assumptions about human nature and subjectivity, our status as rational agents, and our obligations to others. This conference explores alternative perspectives on questions of social justice by considering insights from earlier in the history of philosophy in Greek and Roman ethics and political thought. Topics will include the nature of civic friendship, the role and place of anger in effecting social change, the pursuit of justice in unsafe political conditions, ancient arguments for egalitarianism, and what we owe to those in need. The aim of this event is to offer a wider academic community the opportunity to appreciate the richness of the ancient philosophical tradition in tackling social justice issues.
All talks will be delivered by experts in their fields and addressed to a general audience. 


May 10, 1:00pm-5:30pm: Plato and Aristotle

1:00-1:10pm: Uli Plass and Tushar Irani (Wesleyan University)
Introductory Remarks

1:10-2:10pm: Rachel Singpurwalla (University of Maryland)
“Plato on Civic Friendship”

2:10-3:10pm: Jonny Thakkar (Swarthmore College)
“Plato as Critical Theorist”

3:10-3:30pm: Coffee Break

3:30-4:30pm: Mitzi Lee (University of Colorado, Boulder)
“Did Aristotle have the Notion of Social Justice?”

4:30-5:30pm: Marta Jimenez (Emory University)
“Aristotle on Anger and the Motives of Revolution”

May 11, 10:00am-3:00pm: Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy

10:00-11:00am: Eric Brown (Washington University in St. Louis)
“Stoic Anti-Slavery”

11:00-12:00pm: Jacob Klein (Colgate University)
“Stoic Universalism and Impartiality”

12:00-1:00pm: Lunch Break

1:00-2:00pm: Emily Austin (Wake Forest University)
“Epicureanism and the Unnoticed Fight for Justice”

2:00-3:00pm: Thornton Lockwood (Quinnipiac University)
“What Do We Owe to Those In Need? Cicero and Nussbaum on Duties of Justice”

For directions to the Allbritton Center at Wesleyan University, see here. Please address any other queries to Tushar Irani (