Hugh Benson


(405) 325-6324
Office hours can be found here.


Ph.D., Michigan

Research areas: Ancient Philosophy, Epistemology

George Lynn Cross Research Professor 

Samuel Roberts Noble Presidential Professor

My teaching and research focus on Ancient Greek Philosophy, primarily the epistemological, metaphysical, and methodological views of Plato and Aristotle. I am still working on a book length project, tentatively entitled: Clitophon’s Challenge:  Dialectic in Plato’s Meno, Phaedo, and Republic.  I maintain that the method for acquiring robust ethical knowledge that Plato endorses in the Meno, Phaedo, and Republic is importantly different than the method endorsed in Plato’s so-called elenctic dialogues. The method is in fact the method of hypothesis introduced in the Meno and Phaedo and developed in the Republic.

My work on Aristotle has focused most recently his method of philosophical inquiry.  Indeed, I have dreams of a similar book length project devoted to Aristotle, should I ever complete my Plato project.


Philosophy 1013 Introduction to Philosophy
Philosophy 3313 Ancient Greek Philosophy
Philosophy 4893 Capstone
Philosophy 5313 Plato
Philosophy 5313 Aristotle
Philosophy 6313 Republic V-VII
Philosophy 6313 Aristotle's 'Organon'
Philosophy 6313 Platonic Dialectic
Philosophy 6313 Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics


American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, 1991-1992 (American Council of Learned Societies)

College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Advising Award, 1991 (University of Oklahoma)

Howard Foundation Fellowship, 1994-1995

Samuel Roberts Noble Presidential Professor, 2000- (University of Oklahoma)

President's Distinguished Faculty Mentoring Program: Outstanding Faculty Mentor 2003 (University of Oklahoma)

Leverhulme Visiting Research Professor, January–July 2011 (Leverhulme Trust)


“Socratic Epistemology:  The Priority of Definition” to appear in Continuum Companion to Socrates, edd. N. Smith and J. Bussanich. (.pdf)

“The Problem is not Mathematics, but Mathematicians:  Plato and the Mathematicians Again” on-line Philosophia Mathematica (2011); doi: 10.1093/philmat/nkq029.  Print version to appear later. (.pdf)

“Socratic Method” in Cambridge Companion to Socrates, ed. D. Morrison (2011). (.pdf)

“Dialectic in the Republic: The Divided Line 510b-511d” in Cambridge Critical Guide to the Republic, ed. M. McPherran (2010). (.pdf)

“Collection and Division in the Philebus” in Proceedings of the VIII Symposium of the International Plato Society on the Philebus, ed. John Dillon & Luc Brisson (2009). (.pdf)

“Knowledge, Virtue, and Method in Republic 471c-502c” in Philosophical Inquiry (Festschrift for Santas) (2008), pp.1-28. (.pdf)

Blackwell Companion to Plato. Blackwell Publishing, 2006.

“Plato’s Method of Dialectic” in Blackwell Companion to Plato, ed. Hugh Benson (2006), pp. 85-100. (.pdf)

“Plato’s Rationalistic Method” in Blackwell Companion to Rationalism, ed. Alan Nelson (2005), pp. 85-99. (.pdf)

“The Method of Hypothesis in the Meno” Proceedings of BACAP 18, 2003, pp. 95-126. (.pdf)

Socratic Wisdom: The Model of Knowledge in Plato's Early Dialogues. Oxford University Press, 2000.

"The Dissolution of the Problem of the ElenchosOxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 13, 1995, pp. 45-112.

Essays on the Philosophy of Socrates. Oxford University Press, 1992.

"The Priority of Definition and the Socratic Elenchos." Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 8, 1990, pp. 19-65. Reprinted in Socrates and his Contemporaries, ed. T. H. Irwin (Garland Publishing). Also reprinted in Socrates, ed. W. Prior (Routledge, 1996).


Clitophon’s Challenge:  Dialectic in Plato’s Meno, Phaedo, and Republic  (draft pdf)

“The Unhypothetical First Principle in Plato and Aristotle” (draft pdf)

“What Should Euthyphro Do?” (draft pdf)

“Plato’s Megiston Mathêma as Aristotle’s First Philosophy” (draft pdf)

“Plato’s Socrates in the Theaetetus” (draft pdf)