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Lorraine Pangle

ProfessorPh.D., University of Chicago

Professor and Co-Director, Thomas Jefferson Center
Lorraine Pangle



Lorraine Pangle studies and teaches ancient, early modern, and American political philosophy, with special interests in ethics, the philosophy of education, and problems of justice and moral responsibility. She has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Earhart Foundation.

Her publications include Virtue is Knowledge: The Moral Foundations of Socratic Political Philosophy (University of Chicago Press, 2014), The Political Philosophy of Benjamin Franklin (Johns Hopkins, 2007), Aristotle and the Philosophy of Friendship (Cambridge, 2003), The Learning of Liberty: The Educational Ideas of the American Founders (co-authored with Thomas L. Pangle, Kansas, 1993), and articles on Plato, Aristotle, the American founders, and the philosophy of education.


T C 302 • Intro To Greek Polit Thought

42350 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CAL 200


This course will study works of ancient Greek poetry, philosophy, and history that explore fundamental themes of political philosophy as they first emerged in the brilliant, tumultuous world of ancient republicanism. We will focus especially on the challenge that philosophy posed to piety and traditional notions of justice and the ways in which philosophic thinkers defended their claim to provide the best guidance for political life. Is unaided human reason adequate for grasping the proper ends and limits of political action? What new understandings of justice and moral responsibility did political philosophy offer? What can it teach us about how to arbitrate between the claims of justice and the demands of necessity or national security? Is a truly enlightened society possible? Is it desirable? 


Plutarch, Greek Lives

Sophocles, Antigone

Aristophanes, The Clouds

Plato, Apology of Socrates and Gorgias

Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War 


3 short papers 50%

Attendance, class participation, and short presentations 20%

Final exam 30% 

About the Professor:

Lorraine Pangle is Professor of Government and Co-director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for Core Texts and Ideas at UT. She studies and teaches political philosophy with a special focus on ethics and problems of justice and moral responsibility. She has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Earhart Foundation. Her publications include Virtue is Knowledge: The Moral Foundations of Socratic Political Philosophy (Chicago, 2014), The Political Philosophy of Benjamin Franklin (Johns Hopkins, 2007), Aristotle and the Philosophy of Friendship (Cambridge, 2003), The Learning of Liberty: The Educational Ideas of the American Founders, co-authored with Thomas L. Pangle (Kansas, 1993), and articles on Plato, Aristotle, the American founders, and the philosophy of education.


Virtue is Knowlege: The Moral Foundations of Socratic Political Philosophy (University of Chicago Press, 2014)

Virtue is Knowledge"Virtue Is Knowledge is an extraordinary accomplishment: suffused with insight, gracefully written, and powerfully argued. It will challenge much of the received wisdom about the meaning of the Socratic ‘paradox’ and set down important signposts for students of Socrates who wish to understand the full dimensions of his defense of philosophy and its significance for moral and political life. The book will easily take its place as one of the gems among the books devoted to the Platonic dialogues.”

(Susan D. Collins, University of Notre Dame)

“Lorraine Smith Pangle has written an ambitious and important book, one that richly rewards the effort it requires of readers. In it, she advances our understanding of Plato and unravels with remarkable clarity and comprehensiveness an important and enigmatic Socratic teaching. The power of her argument and the fruitfulness of her approach will make her book one with which every serious scholar will have to reckon.”

(Aristide Tessitore, Furman University)

“Pangle leads the reader on a thrilling intellectual journey, through Plato’s five most important dialogues on virtue, in search of a clear understanding of the moral character of Socratic philosophy. By demonstrating that Plato combines philosophic intransigence with a consummate moral and political realism, Pangle provides a vital correction to the traditional stereotype of Plato as a hopelessly naïve idealist. Through a remarkable combination of rigorous textual analysis, deft psychological insight, and bold philosophic reflection, Virtue Is Knowledge offers both a singularly illuminating account of the central moral teaching of Socratic philosophy and also a wonderfully vivid account of the life and soul of the philosopher.”

(Peter J. Ahrensdorf, Davidson College)


The Political Philosophy of Benjamin Franklin (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007)

Political Philosophy of Ben FranklinThis insightful and elegantly written book is a joy to read and highly recommended.


A learned, wise, and well-written account... for giving readers one of the very finest introductions to this remarkable American's thought, we must thank Lorraine Pangle.

(Ralph Ketcham Claremont Review of Books)

An excellent piece of work, gracefully written, as befits a work on the printer and master-writer himself. Its insight into Benjamin Franklin's thought is fresh and penetrating. Among the distinctive features of this work is its running comparison of Franklin with Socrates and with the high tradition of political philosophy. Pangle digs unusually deeply into Franklin's writings and the history of his doings.

(Steven Forde, University of North Texas)

Smith Pangle... Brings an impressive knowledge of philosophy and Western intellectual traditions.

(Carla Mulford Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography)


Aristotle and the Philosophy of Friendship (Cambridge University Press, 2002)

Aristotle Philosophy of Friendship"[Pangle's] focus on friendship enables the reader to appreciate more deeply the tensions of political life, virtue, and ultimately the life of philosophy...Aristotle's insights come alive in these pages. She also provides convincing proof that the relationship between teacher and student is the paradigmatic friendship, and we are in debt for her benefaction."

(Review of Politics)

"[G]ood discussions of textual problems..... Recommended."


"A valuable contribution to our undertanding of an important topic, not least because it is willing to take risks by including a wide range of philosophical opinions, and by presenting the author's own views alongside those of Plato, Aristotle, Montaigne and Cicero. It repays careful reading by Classicists, historians of philosophy, and all others interested in learning more about friendship."

(Classical Bulletin)

"Pangle has given us a deeply humane account of Aristotelian ideas...At the same time, Pangle's acute critical intelligence enables her to enrich our understanding of Aristotle's doctrines and to bring to light his argumentative and rhetorical strategies."

(Ancient Philosophy, Dirk t. D. Held, Connecticut College)


The Learning of Liberty: The Educational Ideas of the American Founders (co-author, with Thomas Pangle, The University Press of Kansas, 1993)

Learning of Liberty"Essential reading for every student and scholar of American education. I found myself wondering why no one had written this book before."

(Diane Ravitch, author of The Schools We Deserve: Reflections on the Educational Crisis of Our Time and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education)

"This thoughtful and thought-provoking book demonstrates that the contradictions that informed the educational theories of even the noblest and most generous Founders continue to haunt American education today, notably the challenge of reconciling the claims of a secular democracy with the claims of excellence, honor, and reverence that are necessary to individuals and to the quality of our political life."-

(Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, author of Feminism without Illusions: A Critique of Individualism)

"The authors make a powerful case that in a democratic republic, education must focus on civic and moral questions. Their sympathetic and critical account of the ideas and lives of such men as Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin is fascinating in itself and a superb way to illuminate the issues. No one seriously interested in the character of education in America should miss this book."

(Donald Kagan, author of The Fall of the Athenian Empire and co-author of The Western Heritage)

"This wonderful book reminds us of the importance that the Founders placed on education. Their ideas are full of sustenance and provocation for anyone interested in improving our schools."

(Lynne V. Cheney, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities)

"The Pangles direct our attention to what is best in America, the thought of our Founders, and make it available to the debate on education today. This is a work of careful scholarship and political philosophy in high style."

(Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr., author of America's Constitutional Soul)

"A truly admirable work written with genuine grace. To my knowledge, this is the fullest, richest study of the subject."

(Lance Banning, author of The Jeffersonian Persuasion: Evolution of a Party Ideology)



Educational Resources

Reclaiming the Core: Liberal Education in the Twenty-first Century

reflections on teaching and learning for current and future professors, especially in political science

Advice on Essay Writing

advice for undergraduate and graduate students

Essay Evaluation Rubric

criteria I use in grading essays that make a good checklist for reviewing one's work

Habits of Highly Successful Students

especially for undergraduates

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