Rachel Barney

LI 131 (Classics) | JHB 426 (Philosophy)

Fields of Study


Rachel Barney is Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier-1) in Classical Philosophy, affiliated with both the Classics Department and the Philosophy Department. She was an undergraduate at University of Toronto, and returned in 2003 after earning a PhD at Princeton and teaching at the University of Ottawa and the University of Chicago. Her research has ranged from the early sophists to the late Neoplatonic commentator Simplicius, but focusses on Plato. Her particular interest is in areas where questions of ethics, psychology, epistemology, and philosophical method meet, as in Plato’s theory of the good.

Her recent publications include:

  • “Notes on the Kalon and the Good in Plato,” forthcoming in Classical Philology (Special Issue: Beauty, Harmony and the Good, October 2010);
  • “Ring-Composition in Plato: the Case of Republic X,” forthcoming in M. McPherran (ed.), Oxford Critical Guide to Plato’s Republic. Oxford: Oxford University Press;
  • “Gorgias’ Defence: Plato and his Opponents on Rhetoric and the Good,” Southern Journal of Philosophy 48.1 (2010): 95-121;
  • “Simplicius: Commentary, Harmony, and Authority,” Antiquorum Philosophia 3 (2009): 101-20;
  • “Aristotle’s Argument for a Human Function,” Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 34 (2008): 293-322; and
  • “The Carpenter and the Good,” in D. Cairns, F. G. Herrmann, and T. Penner (eds.), Pursuing the Good: Ethics and Metaphysics in Plato’s Republic, 293-319. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 2008.
  • Earlier work includes a book on Plato’s theory of language, Names and Nature in Plato’s Cratylus (New York: Routledge, 2001). 


PhD, Princeton University