Dr. Albert Joosse

Research Interests:

Ancient Philosophy

Photo: Sylvia Germes


Albert Joosse is currently a lecturer in ancient philosophy at the University of Groningen. He is a specialist in Plato and late-ancient Neoplatonism. His research focuses in particular on the literary dimension of ancient philosophical texts, on ancient concepts of self-knowledge, and on the reception history of the Platonic First Alcibiades.

Albert earned a PhD in Philosophy from Utrecht University with a dissertation on Platonic and Stoic Models of Friendship and Self-Understanding (2011). He was a postdoctoral researcher at Freiburg University and a fellow of the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Study and a visiting fellow at UPenn. His NWO-VENI project at Utrecht University explored the role of the Alcibiades I in ancient educational thinking. In another project he introduced the conceptual framework of ‘Anchoring Innovation’ to ancient philosophical scholarship. He has edited Olympiodorus of Alexandria (Brill 2021) and Dealing with Disagreement: the Construction of Traditions in Later Ancient Philosophy (with Angela Ulacco, forthcoming with Brepols).

Project Abstract

When ancient philosophers discuss first principles and posterior phenomena, in what temporal order do they do so? Do their texts start with principles and discuss consequences later, or do they travel back in time, beginning with what is later in the order of being and returning, in the end, to their primary causes? Or is there no linearity but rather a back and forth? This project will investigate how philosophical authors create synchronicity and asynchronicity between their temporal exposition and the quasi-temporal order of their subject matter.

In literary studies, narratology has advanced our understanding of texts by studying how the temporality of the act of telling relates to the temporality of the history being told. It helps us understand literature if we can describe its use of flashback (analepsis), flash-forward (prolepsis), rhythm and synchronicity. 

This research project adapts these narratological concepts to make them applicable to philosophical discourse. For despite first appearances, the subject matter of philosophy also has a quasi-temporal dimension. It is common for ancient philosophers to talk about principles and their consequences in terms of earlier and later. In most cases this ‘earlier’ is not a priority in time but an ontological or argumentative priority. But the metaphor of time is nevertheless part and parcel of such discourse. This project investigates how and why it matters.

Curriculum vitae

Since 2016

Lecturer, Department of Greek and Latin Language and Culture, University of Groningen


Postdoctoral Researcher (‘Anchoring Innovation’), Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Utrecht University


Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, University of Groningen


NWO-VENI Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Utrecht University


Visiting Scholar, Department of Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania


Junior Fellow, Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

2011–2013 Postdoctoral Researcher, DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1288 ‘Freunde, Gönner, Getreue’, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany


PhD, Department of Philosophy, Utrecht University 

Selected Publications

2022. "Anchoring Innovation in the Platonic Axiochus." Ancient Philosophy 42 (1): 147–169.

2021. Ed. Olympiodorus of Alexandria: Exegete, Teacher, Platonic Philosopher. Leiden: Brill.

2018. "Σωφροσύνη and the poets: rival interpretations in Plato’s Charmides." Mnemosyne 71: 574–592.

2016. "Aristotle on Proper Principles: the Division of Science and oikeiotês terminology." In Angewandte Epistemologie in antiker Philosophie und Wissenschaft. AKAN — Antike Naturwissenschaften und ihre Rezeption, edited by Benedikt Strobel and Georg Wöhrle, 9–38. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier.

2015. "Foucault’s Subject and Plato’s Mind: A Dialectical Model of Self-Constitution in the Alcibiades." Philosophy & Social Criticism 41 (2): 159–177.