Eric Sanday

ecsand2's picture
  • Associate Professor
  • Philosophy
  • Modern & Classical Languages Literatures & Cultures
1423 Patterson Office Tower
Other Affiliations:
  • Lewis Honors College
Research Interests:

Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University, 2003 (Philosophy)
M.A. Fordham University, 1996 (Philosophy)
B.A. University of Pennsylvania, 1991 (Physics)


Eric Sanday specializes in Ancient Greek Philosophy with a special focus on the relationship between ethics and ontology. His book, A Study of Dialectic in Plato's Parmenides, is available from Northwestern University Press (2015). His recent and forthcoming articles focus on the nature of pleasure in Plato's Philebus, paradigm in Plato’s Statesman, and the existential weight of the philosophical path in Plato's Symposium. He is the co-editor with Greg Recco of a volume on Plato's Laws (Indiana University Press) and with Sean Kirkland of a collection of essays on ancient philosophy (Northwestern). His next book project will focus on the account of truth and life in Plato's Timaeus.

Note to potential graduate students:  

"I am currently conducting ongoing correspondences and conversations with others about Plato's account perception and the common sensibles (ta koina) in the Theaetetus, the account of virtue in the Republic, the methodology behind the hypotheses in the Parmenides, the nature of bifurcatory and non-bifurcatory division in the Sophist and Statesman, and other related fascinating topics that others have been sufficiently patient and wonder-bound to discuss with me. I hope to give students an opportunity to strengthen their skills of reading and writing philosophically (i.e. with honesty, creativity, and precision) through careful analysis of some of the most difficult texts in Plato, and I hope to provide a basis for understanding the history of philosophy for oneself.  I am particularly interested in working out in detail the Platonic conception of dialectic and the transformative process by which, in Plato's view, the philosopher develops into maturity."

Myth and Metaphysics: Cosmology in Plato’s Timaeus
R 4:00-6:30, Spring 2019
The Timaeus is a wonderfully rich and complex tapestry of core philosophical ideas. It is placed close the end of Plato’s program of philosophical education, coming after serious study of dialectic. Two important aspects of the dialogue stand out as puzzling. First, there is an extended reference to a strangely selective version of the Republic, which invites us to interpret the Timaeus through a political lens, yet the dialogue consists in large part of cosmology. It is up to the reader to work out for herself the relationship between cosmology and politics. Second, Timaeus adopts an overly simplistic model of participation, one seen in the Republic but discarded in the Parmenides and absent from all the dialogues substantively addressing dialectic. Why should Timaeus, who is presumably a philosopher educated in dialectic, revert back to a simplified model of participation? In this seminar, we will attempt to answer these puzzles of the Timaeus by adopting a “flashback” method:  we will pause when we hit specific topics that presuppose or conflict with prior philosophical education to read selections from Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days, Heraclitus’s fragments, Parmenides’ poem, Anaximander, Anaxagoras, and various Platonic dialogues, including the Symposium, Republic, Statesman, Parmenides, Sophist, and Philebus. Of general topical interest will be Plato’s accounts of the political, justice, and human nature, as well as his account of form, materiality, and participation. Our special focus will be gender and myth in Hesiod, Symposium, and Timaeus.



Selected Publications: 


In Print and Forthcoming:


  • Companion to Ancient Greek Philosophy, ed. Sean Kirkland and Eric Sanday, Northwestern University Press (2018).
  • “Being in Late Plato,” in Companion to Ancient Greek Philosophy, ed. Kirkland and Sanday, Northwestern University Press (2018).
  • "Self-Knowledge in Plato’s Symposium,” in Knowledge and Ignorance of Self in Platonic Philosophy, ed. Andy German and James M. Ambury.German, Cambridge University Press (2018).
  • “Philosophical Method in Plato’s Statesman,” in Plato’s Statesman: Dialectic, Myth, and Politics, ed. Sallis, SUNY Press (2017).
  • “Truth and Pleasure in the Philebus,” Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal, 36.2 (2015).
  • A Study of Dialectic In Plato’s Parmenides, Northwestern University Press (2015).
  • Phantasia in De Anima,Continuum Companion to Aristotle, Claudia Baracchi ed. (2013).
  • Plato’s Laws: Force and Truth In Politics, Indiana University Press, Gregory Recco and Eric Sanday  eds. (2013).
  • “Property, Impiety, and the Problem of Ending: Plato’s Laws Books XI & XII,” in Plato’s Laws: Force and Truth In Politics, Recco & Sanday eds. (2013).
  • “Challenging the Established Order: Socrates’ perversion of Callicles’ position in Plato’s Gorgias,” Epoché, vol. 14.2, 2012: 197-216.
  • “Eleatic Metaphysics in Plato’s Parmenides: Zeno’s Puzzle of Plurality,” Journal of Speculative Philosophy, vol. 23.3, 2009:  208-226.
  • “Philosophy as the Practice of Musical Inheritance:  Republic Book II,” Epoché, vol. 11.2, 2007:  305-317.


Articles and Volumes in Process:

  • "Dionysus and Diotima" (working title of an essay on the relationship between the household, reversal, and justice in Eurpides and Plato),
  • Essays on Heraclitus (edited volume in process).
  • “Reading Philosophy:  Heraclitus Fragment B1,” in Essays on Heraclitus.


Review Articles and Book Reviews:

  • Review of Fine (G.) The Possibility of Inquiry. Meno’s Paradox from Socrates to Sextus. Pp. xiv + 399. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014, for Classical Review (in process).
  • Review of Gordon, Plato’s Erotic World, Polis, Vol. 30, no. 2, 2013.
  • “Reply to Haydn Ausland,” in Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy 2011-12, 2013.
  • Book Review: Rhapsody of Philosophy by Max Statkiewicz (Penn State University Press), Review of Metaphysics, vol. 64.1, 2010.
  • Review Article, Aristotle’s Ethics as First Philosophy by Claudia Baracchi, Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal, vol. 29.2, 2008:  185-195.
  • Book Review, Aristotle’s Ethics as First Philosophy by Claudia Baracchi, Ancient Philosophy vol. 29.2, 2009:  447-450.




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