Jackman Professor in the Humanities (Ancient Philosophy)
D Phil (Balliol College, Oxford University)
Phone: (416) 978-3178
Room: LI 210
Bio, Research, and Publications
Brittain earned a D.Phil. at Balliol College, Oxford in 1996. Before coming to Toronto, he taught as Professor of Classics and of Philosophy at Cornell University from 1996-2017, where he was awarded the Susan Linn Sage Chair in Philosophy and Humane Letters in 2013.
His publications include two books on Academic scepticism (Philo of Larissa, 2001, and Cicero: On Academic Scepticism, 2006) and two co-authored books on the Platonist tradition (Simplicius On Epictetus’ Handbook, 2002, with Tad Brennan, and Plato: The Divided Self, 2012, with Tad Brennan and Rachel Barney), along with many articles on the wider fields of Hellenistic philosophy, Platonism, and Augustine.
He is currently working on longstanding projects on Plato and Augustine (though this summer he is taking a short detour to write a paper on Seneca’s Letter 21). His work on Plato is geared towards a new literary and philosophical reading of the Protagoras, focused at present on the treatment of literary criticism in the dialogue – its most recent result is a paper on the original form and function of Protagoras’ critical theory. His multiyear project on Augustine investigates the explorations of forms of human self-knowledge in the De trinitate; he is currently working on what should be its final result, a translation and philosophical commentary on book ten.
Specialization: Ancient Philosophy