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Jan Szaif  PhD, M.A. (Free University of Berlin), Professor of Philosophy

University of California-Davis
Dept. of Philosophy
1 Shields Ave.
Davis, CA 95616-8673, U.S.A.


Research Interests and Teaching

My main area of historical specialization is ancient Greek philosophy. The initial focus of my research was the development of Plato's conception of truth. This research project spread out into various related topics in Plato's metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. The main outcome of this project was a book on Plato's concept of truth which also addresses many questions in these related areas (1996/98). I continue to work on Plato's metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of language, and on the Socratic and Platonic approach in ethics.

After completing my book project on Plato, I turned to an investigation of the Aristotelian approach in ethics. So far, the outcome of this work has been a book on the Aristotelian and Peripatetic theories of human goods, human well-being, and its natural foundations (published in 2012), in addition to a number of articles that I published on various topics in Aristotelian ethics. In between, I also published monographs and articles on the role of the concept of friendship in ethics and on the function and meaning of the concept of being as a focal term in metaphysics. I am also interested in the history of the reception of Aristotelian ethics and metaphysics.

My long-term research interests relate to the history of the philosophical concepts of truth and being, the history of virtue ethics and its underlying conception of rationality, and the place of friendship in ethical theory.

My teaching experience covers ancient philosophy, medieval philosophy, and topics in analytical philosophy and ethics.

From 2001 till 2007, I served as treasurer for the German 'Association for Ancient Philosophy' (GANPH e.V.), which I also helped to found. I have been active as a peer reviewer for scientific journals, for the DFG and other international grant-giving institutions, and as a member of advisory committees and program committees for some academic societies and journals.  



University of Bonn (Germany), Department of Philosophy

1993-2004: Consecutive full-time positions as
      Research Fellow & Lecturer (BAT II-a, BAT I-b), 
      C 1-Assistant Professor,
      Replacement Professor (2004).

2001-2006: Privatdozent of Philosophy ('habilitation': June 2001).

University of California-Davis, Dept. of Philosophy

Jan. 2005 till Mar. 2006: Visiting Assistant Professor.

2006-2009: Associate Professor of Philosophy.

Since 2009: Professor of Philosophy.

Visiting professorships and fellowships

Oct. 1997 till Apr. 1998: Visiting Scholar and Europaeum Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.
Jan. till June 2002: Junior Research Fellow at the Harvard-University's Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington DC. 
Spring 2003: Visiting Professor, University of Łódź (Poland). 
Winter 2003/04: Visiting Professor, University of Hamburg (Germany).
Spring 2014: Visiting Professor, University of Tartu (Estonia) 


University Education

1988: M.A. in Philosophy and Ancient Greek (Free University of Berlin)
M.A.-thesis: "Aristotle's Theory of Universals," thesis adviser: Prof. Ernst Tugendhat.

Oct. 1989 till Jan. 1993: Graduate studies in Philosophy at the Free University of Berlin.

Apr. 1990 till Mar. 1991: Visiting PhD student, University of Cambridge, Faculty of Classics & Darwin College
(adviser: Prof. Myles Burnyeat).

October 1993: PhD in Philosophy (Free University of Berlin)
Dissertation: "Plato's Concept of Truth"; dissertation director: Prof. Ernst Tugendhat.


Languages: German, English, Ancient Greek, Latin, French; basic knowledge of Italian and Biblical Hebrew.

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1240 Social Science and Humanities
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
Phone: (530) 752-0703
Fax: (530) 752-8964


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