G.R.F. (John) Ferrari

Melpomene Distinguished Professor of Classical Languages and Literature; Professor of Classics
B.A. 1977 Cambridge University
Ph.D. 1983 Cambridge University
Research Interests: 
Ancient Philosophy, Aesthetics, Greek Culture, Ancient Poetics and Rhetoric, Philosophical Aesthetics
(510) 642-3164
gferrari [at] berkeley.edu
Office / Location: 
7217 Dwinelle Hall
Office Hours: 
Fall 2018: F 10:05-11:35A & by appointment

In my Guggenheim fellowship year (2008-9) I took a break from my habitual study of ancient philosophy in order to begin writing a book of contemporary philosophy entitled The Messages We Send: Social Signals and Storytelling. The project stems from a long-standing interest of mine in a kind of social message-sending that falls short of full-blown communication. A connected project has appeared as an article, "The Meaninglessness of Gardens," in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. The book was published by Oxford University Press in 2017.  Alongside this project, I have continued to pursue research into ancient philosophy (esp. Plato) and ancient aesthetics: a substantial article on catharsis in Aristotle appeared in Phronesis in 2019, and a recent paper, "Plato the Writer," attempts to sum up the approach to reading Plato that I have developed over the years.  My current project is to write a book on the themes that crystallized in "Plato the Writer."

Select Publications: 

Listening to the Cicadas: A Study of Plato's Phaedrus. Cambridge Classical Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1987.

City and Soul in Plato's Republic. Lecturae Platonis. Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag. 2003. 123 pp. (Hardback.)  Chicago:  University of Chicago Press.  2005.  (Paperback.)

The Cambridge Companion to Plato’s Republic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2007. (Editor and contributor.)

Full CV: