David Leibowitz joined the Kenyon faculty as the Bradley Postdoctoral Fellow in 2003. He currently teaches “The Quest for Justice” and courses in the history of ancient and modern political philosophy. Before coming to Kenyon, he taught political philosophy at Michigan State University, the University of Toronto and Harvard University.

Leibowitz's book on the Apology of Socrates won the 2010 Delba Winthrop Award for Excellence in Political Science, an award given annually for the best first book in political science. He is currently working on a larger study of Plato's "Phaedo," "Parmenides," "Symposium" and "Apology," dialogues tracing Socrates's development from youthful natural scientist to mature political philosopher.

Princeton Review named him as one of America's best college professors.

Areas of Expertise

Ancient political philosophy, modern political philosophy, the Socratic origin of political philosophy

Education

1997 — Doctor of Philosophy from Harvard University

1976 — Bachelor of Science from Yale University

Courses Recently Taught

This course explores the relationship between the individual and society as exemplified in the writings of political philosophers, statesmen, novelists and contemporary political writers. Questions about law, political obligation, freedom, equality and justice and human nature are examined and illustrated. The course looks at different kinds of societies such as the ancient city, modern democracy and totalitarianism, and confronts contemporary issues such as race, culture and gender. The readings present diverse viewpoints and the sessions are conducted by discussion. The course is designed primarily for first-year students. Students enrolled in this course will be automatically added to PSCI 102Y for the spring semester. Offered every fall.

This course explores the relationship between the individual and society as exemplified in the writings of political philosophers, statesmen, novelists and contemporary political writers. Questions about law, political obligation, freedom, equality and justice and human nature are examined and illustrated. The course looks at different kinds of societies such as the ancient city, modern democracy and totalitarianism, and confronts contemporary issues such as race, culture and gender. The readings present diverse viewpoints and the sessions are conducted by discussion. The course is designed primarily for first-year students. Offered every spring.

This course introduces students to classical political philosophy through an analysis of Plato's "Apology" and "Republic" and Aristotle's "Ethics" and "Politics." The course addresses enduring questions about the community, the individual, happiness and justice. Other themes to be discussed include the ideal political order, the character of virtue or human excellence, the relationship between politics and other aspects of human life (such as economics, the family and friendship), the political responsibility for education and philosophy as a way of life. This course is required for the major. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or first-year students enrolled in PSCI 102Y. Offered every fall.

This course is devoted to a close reading of Plato's Symposium, his dialogue on Eros, which corrects or supplements the anti-erotic teaching of the Republic. Almost everyone sometimes wonders about the bewitching power of love, and for nearly 2500 years, readers have found that Plato had anticipated their questions and had thought about them profoundly. Topics we will discuss are love and death, love and justice, love and god, love and happiness, and love and philosophy. Although politics is rarely in the foreground of the dialogue, it is ever present in the background and finally bursts onto the scene in the person of Alcibiades — a man whose Eros leads him toward a political life that verges on tyranny. This counts toward the seminar requirement for the major. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Offered every other year.

This course is devoted to a close reading of Plato's "Gorgias," the sister dialogue of the "Republic." Today, students often wonder: Why bother with Plato and his Socrates? Isn't their thought clearly outmoded? In studying the "Gorgias" — Plato's most sustained reflection on the human concern for justice — we will give him a chance to reply and make the case for the undiminished importance of his thought for politics and the good life. The guiding questions of the seminar will be: What is justice? Why do we care about it? And how is it related to politics and philosophy? This counts toward the seminar requirement for the major. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Offered every other year.