Alexander Nehamas has chaired the Humanities Council, directed the Program in Hellenic Studies, and served as the Founding Director of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts. Influenced by the place of philosophy in the life of Ancient Greece and Rome as well as by Nietzsche, he questions the transformation of philosophy from a way of living into a purely academic discipline. Similarly, he holds the view that the arts constitute an indispensable part of human life and not a separate domain, of interest only to a few.
He was born in Athens, graduated from Athens College, and attended Swarthmore College and Princeton University. Before coming to Princeton, he taught at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pennsylvania. His books include Nietzsche: Life as Literature, The Art of Living: Socratic Reflections from Plato to Foucault, Virtues of Authenticity: Essays on Plato and Socrates, and Only a Promise of Happiness: The Place of Beauty in a World of Art. He has translated, with Paul Woodruff, Plato’s Symposium and Phaedrus into English. In 1993, he was the Sather Lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley. He has received a Mellon Foundation Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities, and he was recently named a Brigadier of the Order of the Phoenix by the Greek Government. He has taught on Plato, Nietzsche, the philosophy of art, and intention and action.