Thomas W. Moody

Curriculum vitae


My main research interest is the figure of Socrates, especially as constructed in the dialogues of Plato. I am particularly curious about how Socratic literature integrates and reconfigures "non-philosophic" elements of the Greek literary tradition and engages with the social-historical world of classical Greece.

My dissertation contributes to an understanding of the dialogues surrounding Socrates’ trial and execution through an examination of Socrates’ emotional state and the emotions that he arouses in his interlocutors and future readers. 

My current projects explore emotions, dreams, and religious experiences as key elements of Socratic thought and ethics.


1. "The emotionally complex Socrates in Plato's Phaedo." Under review for collected volume of papers from Socratica V, the triennial meeting of the International Society for Socratic Studies. A draft for oral presentation is available on my Academia page.

2. "Soothing Socrates: The Laws a Charm in Plato's Crito." In this paper, I argue that, in Plato's Crito, Socrates is genuinely in doubt whether he should attempt to escape from prison before his execution is carried out. Contrary to his own assertion that reason alone guides his deliberation, Socrates takes on the persona of the Laws of Athens to soothe his doubts and edify his confidence. Although the Laws make reasonable arguments, the effect is emotional rather than rational: by the end of the dialogue, Socrates becomes deaf to further arguments, so persuaded is he by the authoritative voice of the Laws.

3. "Socrates' Dreams and Epistemic Insecurity in Plato." In this paper, I discuss four dreams experienced by Socrates in Plato's dialogues. I argue that, though the dreams occur in different ways and contexts, Socrates' dreams point to epistemic insecurity that cannot be resolved through philosophic discourse alone. Dreams therefore indicate the emotional aspects of knowledge and reveal the need for persuasive modes of discourse that build confidence in beliefs.

Recent and upcoming presentations

1. "Socrates, Hestia, and the Heart(h) of the City." Latin-American meeting of the International Society for Socratic Studies on Women in the Socratic Tradition. Rio de Janeiro, October 26-27, 2023.

2. "Socratic Emotions and the Platonic Soul." University of Kansas, Classics Department Honors and Awards Ceremony,  April 22, 2024.

3. "Socrates on the Fear of Death and Overcoming It." Conference on Anxiety and Fear in the Ancient World, hosted at Schloss Rauischholzhausen by the University of Gießen (, June 3-6, 2024.

4. (Abstract under review). International Society for Socratic Studies, North American Regional Meeting on "Gods, piety, and impiety in Socratic philosophers". University of Illinois, October 25-26, 2024.

5. (Abstract under review). International Xenophon Society. Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 7-9, 2024.

6. (Title TBA). By invitation, a conference on the Trial of Socrates, organized by Nicholas D. Smith and Rusty Jones. Lesbos, Greece, June 2025.

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