More about Ashok

late summer 2022

Research

I'm interested in how the themes of political philosophy work. I learn a lot from my colleagues' debates, say, about the best regime or the precise beginning of modern thought. They thoroughly explore difficult books in order to bring new insight to authorial intent or reveal unseen questions. I follow their lead, but I focus on how established themes are used. For my dissertation, I examined how Xenophon and his Socrates used civic notions of nobility to point to a philosopher's singular virtue. When I wrote about Trump's character in the light of ancient thought, I noted that ancient authors tended to presuppose the existence of shame in deep ways. A completely shameless person might merit a brief mention, but extended comment would be difficult.

I am currently writing about how Plato uses the concept of greed in the Hipparchus and thinking through what Nietzsche means by freedom early in the Second Essay of the Genealogy of Morals.

Teaching

I do have some fairly specific views about how a collegiate environment works. See this post: How College Works

I like class to be centered around discussion. I like it when students make the central points, not me. It is much more memorable and powerful when one is learning from one's peers.

A few texts that I've found helpful for small reading groups follow. When I first started with these, I made the mistake of trying to teach them a bit too strictly. While many have a specific place in history which needs to be acknowledged, their real charm lies in how varied and rich a given discussion of them can be: