Charles Brittain

Susan Linn Sage Professor of Philosophy and Humane Letters


Charles Brittain is a Professor of Classics and of Philosophy, specializing in ancient philosophy.

His research is primarily concerned with Hellenistic philosophy (especially epistemology and ethics), Cicero, Augustine, and the Platonic tradition from Plato to Simplicius.

Research Focus

  • Ancient Philosophy
  • Late Antiquity


  • Books
    • Philo of Larissa. The last of the Academic sceptics. Oxford, 2001
    • Cicero: On Academic Scepticism. Hackett. 2006
  • Edited Books

    • Simplicius On Epictetus Handbook 1-26. London & Ithaca, 2002 &
    • Simplicius On Epictetus Handbook 27-53. London & Ithaca, 2002, trans. with Tad Brennan, for the series The Greek commentators on Aristotle.
    • Plato: The Divided Self, edited with T. Brennan & R. Barney, Cambridge, 2012
  • Chapters
    • 'No place for a Platonist soul in 5th Century Gaul? The case of Mamertus Claudianus', R. Mathisen & D. Shanzer (ed.s), Society and Culture in Late Antique Gaul. Revisiting the Sources, Aldershot, 2001, 239-62.
    • 'Arcesilaus', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (on line), sub-ed. J. Cooper. 2004;
    • ‘Common Sense. Concepts, definition and meaning in and out of the Stoa.’ Language and Learning. Proceedings of the Symposium Hellenisticum 2001 (ed. D. Frede & B. Inwood); 2005, 165-209.
    • 'Philo of Larissa', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (on line), sub-ed. J. Cooper; 2006.
    • 'Middle Platonists on Academic scepticism', in R. Sharples & R. Sorabji (ed.) Greek & Roman Philosophy 100 BC – 200 AD, London, 2007, vol. II. 297-315.
    • 'Plato and Platonism', in G. Fine (ed.), Oxford Handbook on Plato, Oxford, 2008, 931-69.
    • 'Posidonius on divinatory dreams', in J. Allen, E. Emilsson, W. Mann & B. Morison, (ed.) OSAP XL (2011), Essays in Memory of Michael Frede, 213-36.
    • 'Augustine as a reader of Cicero', in R. Taylor et al. (ed.), Tolle Lege. Essays on Augustine and on Medieval Philosophy in Honor of Roland J. Teske SJ, (Marquette, 2012) 81-112.
    • 'Antiochus’ epistemology', in D. Sedley (ed.), The Philosophy of Antiochus (Cambridge, 2012), 104-30.
    • 'Intellectual self-knowledge in Augustine', in E. Bermon & G. O’Daly (ed.), Le De Trinitate de saint Augustin : exégèse, logique et noétique. Actes du colloque international de Bordeaux, 16-19 juin 2010. (Bordeaux, 2012.3), 321-39.
    • 'The compulsions of Stoic assent', in M. Lee & M. Schiefsky (ed.), From Refutation to Assent: Strategies of Argument in Greek Philosophy (Oxford, 2014). 332-355.
    • ‘Cicero’s Sceptical Method: the example of the De finibus’, in G. Betegh & J. Annas (edd.), Cicero’s De Finibus: Philosophical Approaches (Cambridge, 2016) 12-39.

    • ‘Alexander on the first oikeion’, in T. Engberg-Pedersen (ed.), From Stoicism to Platonism (Cambridge, 2017) 322-47.

    • ‘Deinos (wicked good) at interpretation (Protagoras 334-48)’, in V. Harte  and R. Woolf (eds), Rereading Ancient Philosophy: Old Chestnuts and Sacred Cows (Cambridge, 2018) 32-59.

    • ‘Ciceronian dialogue’, with Peter Osorio, for J. Atkins & T. Benatouil (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Cicero’s Philosophy (2021) 25-42.

  • Academic articles
    • 'The New Academy’s Appeals to the Presocratics', with John Palmer, Phronesis XLVI.1 2001, 38-72.
    • 'Non-rational perception in the Stoics and Augustine.' Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy XXII, Summer 2002, 253-308
    • 'Attention Deficit in Plotinus and Augustine:  Psychological Problems in Christian and Platonist Theories of the Grades of Virtue.' Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy, XVIII (2003) 223-63.
    • 'Self-knowledge in Cicero and Augustine' (De Trinitate X, 5, 7 – 10, 16), in G. Catapano & B. Cillerai (ed.), Augustine of Hippo’s De Trinitate and its Fortune in Medieval Philosophy, Medioevo XXXVII (2012) 107-36
    • 'A Stoic ethics for attention (Seneca, Letter 56)’, Rhizomata 9.2 (2021) 224-46.
  • Reviews
    • The Sceptics, by R. Hankinson, Philosophical Review 106 1997 635-83
    • Sextus Empiricus: Against the Ethicists, by R. Bett, Ancient Philosophy 19 1999 178-83.
    • Paradosis and Survival, by D. Clay, Phoenix LIII.3-4 1999 379-81.
    • Stoic Studies, by A. Long, & Essays in Hellenistic Epistemology and Ethics, by G. Striker, Philosophical Review 109 2000 434-8.
    • Lucrèce & les sciences de la vie, by P. Schrijvers, Classical Review, 51.2 2001 247-9.
    • Rationality, Rules and Rights, a discussion article on Topics in Stoic Philosophy, edited by K. Ierodiakonou, Apeiron 34.3 2001 247-67.
    • Sextus Empiricus and Pyrrhonean Scepticism, by Alan Bailey, Classical Review 53 2003 326-8.
    • The Roman Stoics, by G. Reydams-Schils, Notre Dame Philosophical Books 2006; online journal.
    • The Irrational Augustine, by C. Conybeare, Rhizai IV.1 (2007) 19-46.

RELST Courses - Spring 2024