Giovanni R. F. Ferrari

Giovanni R. F. Ferrari

Fellow: Awarded 2008
Field of Study: Literary Criticism

Competition: US & Canada

University of California, Berkeley

G. R. F. ("John") Ferrari is Professor of Classics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1988.  A specialist in ancient philosophy, he is the author of the books Listening to the Cicadas:  A Study of Plato’s Phaedrus, and City and Soul in Plato’s Republic.  He has also edited a translation of Plato’s Republic in the series Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought, and is the editor of  The Cambridge Companion to Plato’s Republic.  He has published articles on Plato and Aristotle, as well as on rhetoric and aesthetics in archaic and classical Greece.  It is from this work in the areas of rhetoric and aesthetics, ultimately, that his Guggenheim Fellowship research project derives, focussing as it does on types of human interaction which might seem to amount to communication, but do not quite do so.  The project has also been nourished by work at Berkeley in a discussion group on Grice and on the “relevance theory” of Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson.  The ancient and the modern are combined in his most recent article, “Socratic irony as pretence.”

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