Skip directly to main navigation | secondary navigation | main content

Department of Classics

Cornell University Cornell University Cornell Univeristy Department of Classics

People Detail


Portrait on a Roman funerary stele

Vessel Lid

Lid of an Etruscan cinerary urn

Red-Figure Bell Krater

Red-Figure Bell Krater

Green Glass Bottle

Roman Glass Bottle


Jupiter and eagle

Previous ImageNext Image

Brittain, Charles

Susan Linn Sage Professor of Philosophy and Humane Letters

phone: 607/255-8330
room: Goldwin Smith Hall


Department Appointments

  • Brittain, Charles Francis
  • Brittain, Charles
  • Classics (CLASS)
  • College of Arts and Sciences

Graduate Fields

  • Classics
  • Medieval Studies
  • Philosophy


Ancient Philosophy


Charles Brittain is a Professor of Classics and Philosophy, specializing in ancient philosophy.

His research is primarily concerned with Hellenistic philosophy (especially epistemology and ethics), Cicero, Augustine, and the Platonic tradition from Plato to Simplicius.


  • Ancient Philosophy
  • Late Antiquity


Fall 2016 Office Hours:
M 1:45-2:45, or by appointment

Fall 2016
Topics in Ancient Philosophy (CLASS 4662/7173, PHIL 4200/6200)
Greek Philosophy & Rhetoric (GREEK 3103)
Latin Philosophical Texts (LATIN 7262/PHIL 6020/RELST 6020/MEDVL 6020)

Spring 2016
On leave

Fall 2015
On leave

Spring 2015
FWS: Augustine's Confessions (CLASS 1562)
Greek Philosophical Texts (GREEK 7161/PHIL 6010)
Medieval Studies Latin Reading Group

Fall 2014
Augustine (CLASS 4665/PHIL 4210/RELST 4665)
Greek Philosophical Texts (GREEK 7161/PHIL 6010)
Latin Prose (LATIN 2201)
Latin Philosophical Texts (LATIN 7262/PHIL 6020/RELST 6020/MEDVL 6020)

Spring 2014
Epistolography (GREEK 4130/7130, LATIN 4230/7230)
Latin Philosophical Texts (LATIN 7262/PHIL 6020)

Fall 2013
Greek Philosophical Texts (GREEK 7161/PHIL 6010)
Latin Prose (LATIN 2201)

Spring 2013
Advanced Readings in Greek (GREEK 4102)
Greek Philosophical Texts (GREEK 7161/PHIL 6010)

Fall 2012
Greek Philosophical Texts (GREEK 7161/PHIL 6010)
Latin Prose (LATIN 2201)

Spring 2012
Roman Prose (LATIN 3204)
Greek Philosophical Texts (GREEK 7161/PHIL 6010)

Fall 2011
Greek Philosophical Texts (GREEK 7161/PHIL 6010)
Augustine's Confessions (LATIN 4265)
Graduate Seminar in Latin: Augustine (LATIN 7271/PHIL 6201)

Spring 2010
Advanced Readings in Latin Literature (LATIN 4202)
Latin Philosophical Texts (LATIN 7262/PHIL 6020/RELST 6020)

Fall 2009
Graduate Seminar in Latin (LATIN 7271)
Latin Philosophical Texts (LATIN 7262/PHIL 6020, RELST 6020)

Spring 2009
Advanced Readings in Greek Literature: Plato (GREEK 4102)

Fall 2008
Latin Prose (LATIN 2201)
Latin Philosophical Text (LATIN 7262/PHIL 6020/RELST 6020)

Selected Publications

  • Academic article
    • 'The New Academy’s Appeals to the Presocratics', with John Palmer, Phronesis XLVI.1 2001, 38-72.
    • 'Non-rational perception in the Stoics and Augustine.' Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy XXII, Summer 2002, 253-308
    • 'Attention Deficit in Plotinus and Augustine:  Psychological Problems in Christian and Platonist Theories of the Grades of Virtue.' Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy, XVIII (2003) 223-63.
    • 'Self-knowledge in Cicero and Augustine' (De Trinitate X, 5, 7 – 10, 16), in G. Catapano & B. Cillerai (ed.), Augustine of Hippo’s De Trinitate and its Fortune in Medieval Philosophy, Medioevo XXXVII (2012) 107-36
  • Book
    • Philo of Larissa. The last of the Academic sceptics. Oxford, 2001
    • Cicero: On Academic Scepticism. Hackett. 2006
  • Edited Books

    • Simplicius On Epictetus Handbook 1-26. London & Ithaca, 2002 &
    • Simplicius On Epictetus Handbook 27-53. London & Ithaca, 2002, trans. with Tad Brennan, for the series The Greek commentators on Aristotle.
    • Plato: The Divided Self, edited with T. Brennan & R. Barney, Cambridge, 2012
  • Chapter
    • 'No place for a Platonist soul in 5th Century Gaul? The case of Mamertus Claudianus', R. Mathisen & D. Shanzer (ed.s), Society and Culture in Late Antique Gaul. Revisiting the Sources, Aldershot, 2001, 239-62.
    • 'Arcesilaus', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (on line), sub-ed. J. Cooper. 2004;
    • ‘Common Sense. Concepts, definition and meaning in and out of the Stoa.’ Language and Learning. Proceedings of the Symposium Hellenisticum 2001 (ed. D. Frede & B. Inwood); 2005, 165-209.
    • 'Philo of Larissa', The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (on line), sub-ed. J. Cooper; 2006.
    • 'Middle Platonists on Academic scepticism', in R. Sharples & R. Sorabji (ed.) Greek & Roman Philosophy 100 BC – 200 AD, London, 2007, vol. II. 297-315.
    • 'Plato and Platonism', in G. Fine (ed.), Oxford Handbook on Plato, Oxford, 2008, 931-69.
    • 'Posidonius on divinatory dreams', in J. Allen, E. Emilsson, W. Mann & B. Morison, (ed.) OSAP XL (2011), Essays in Memory of Michael Frede, 213-36.
    • 'Augustine as a reader of Cicero', in R. Taylor et al. (ed.), Tolle Lege. Essays on Augustine and on Medieval Philosophy in Honor of Roland J. Teske SJ, (Marquette, 2012) 81-112.
    • 'Antiochus’ epistemology', in D. Sedley (ed.), The Philosophy of Antiochus (Cambridge, 2012), 104-30.
    • 'Intellectual self-knowledge in Augustine', in E. Bermon & G. O’Daly (ed.), Le De Trinitate de saint Augustin : exégèse, logique et noétique. Actes du colloque international de Bordeaux, 16-19 juin 2010. (Bordeaux, 2012.3), 321-39.
    • 'The compulsions of Stoic assent', in M. Lee & M. Schiefsky (ed.), From Refutation to Assent: Strategies of Argument in Greek Philosophy (Oxford, 2014). 332-355.
  • Review
    • The Sceptics, by R. Hankinson, Philosophical Review 106 1997 635-83
    • Sextus Empiricus: Against the Ethicists, by R. Bett, Ancient Philosophy 19 1999 178-83.
    • Paradosis and Survival, by D. Clay, Phoenix LIII.3-4 1999 379-81.
    • Stoic Studies, by A. Long, & Essays in Hellenistic Epistemology and Ethics, by G. Striker, Philosophical Review 109 2000 434-8.
    • Lucrèce & les sciences de la vie, by P. Schrijvers, Classical Review, 51.2 2001 247-9.
    • Rationality, Rules and Rights, a discussion article on Topics in Stoic Philosophy, edited by K. Ierodiakonou, Apeiron 34.3 2001 247-67.
    • Sextus Empiricus and Pyrrhonean Scepticism, by Alan Bailey, Classical Review 53 2003 326-8.
    • The Roman Stoics, by G. Reydams-Schils, Notre Dame Philosophical Books 2006; online journal.
    • The Irrational Augustine, by C. Conybeare, Rhizai IV.1 (2007) 19-46.