|Born||22 March 1946
|Era||21st century philosophy|
|Ancient Greek philosophy, comparative literature, aesthetics|
Alexander Nehamas (Greek: Αλέξανδρος Νεχαμάς; born 22 March 1946) is Professor of Philosophy and Edmund N. Carpenter, II Class of 1943 Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He works on Greek philosophy, aesthetics, Friedrich Nietzsche, Michel Foucault, and literary theory.
He was born in Athens, Greece in 1946. In 1964, he enrolled to Swarthmore College. He graduated in 1967 and completed his doctorate on Predication in Plato's Phaedo under the direction of Gregory Vlastos at Princeton in 1971. He taught at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pennsylvania before joining the Princeton faculty in 1990.
His early work was on Platonic metaphysics and aesthetics as well as the philosophy of Socrates, but he gained a wider audience with his 1985 book Nietzsche: Life as Literature, in which he argued that Nietzsche thought of life and the world on the model of a literary text. Nehamas has said, "The virtues of life are comparable to the virtues of good writing—style, connectedness, grace, elegance—and also, we must not forget, sometimes getting it right." More recently, he has become well known for his view that philosophy should provide a form of life, as well as for his endorsement of the artistic value of television. This view also becomes evident in his book Only a Promise of Happiness. The title itself is later in this work used as one definition of beauty with reference to Stendhal. In that sense, beauty can be found in all media; as Nehamas claims in the same work: ″Aesthetic features are everywhere, but that has nothing to do with where the arts can be found. Works of art can be beautiful because everything can be beautiful, but that doesn't mean that anything can be a work of art.″ (p. 95). In 2008, he delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh.
- Nietzsche: Life as Literature, Cambridge: Harvard University Press (1985)
- Symposium (translation, with Paul Woodruff) (1989)
- The Art of Living: Socratic Reflections from Plato to Foucault (1998)
- Virtues of Authenticity: Essays on Plato and Socrates (1999)
- The Art of Living: Socratic Reflections from Plato to Foucault: University of California Press (2000)
- Only a Promise of Happiness: The Place of Beauty in a World of Art (2008)
- Quotations related to Alexander Nehamas at Wikiquote
- Nehamas' page at the Princeton department of philosophy
- List of articles (in Greek)
- "An Essay on Beauty and Judgment"
- Nehamas interviewed on Friendship for Philosophy Bites podcast
- Audio of Alexander Nehamas's lecture "Only in the Contemplation of Beauty Is Human Life Worth Living" at the Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities on Nov 17, 2005.
- Review of Nehamas' book Only A Promise of Happiness in the New York Sun
- Art, Interpretation And The Rest Of Life
- The Gifford Lectures 2008
- Interview in Greek daily Kathimerini (February 13, 2011) on the occasion of Nehamas' award of an honorary doctoral degree at the School of Fine Arts of Athens University (in Greek)
- Audio of An interview with Alexander Nehamas on Beauty with Joshua Landy on February 15, 2011.