Susan B. Levin

Roe/Straut Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy

Susan Levin

Contact & Office Hours

Fall 2019
Monday, 4:15-5:15 p.m.
Thursday, 3-4 p.m.
Or by appointment

Dewey Hall 203



Ph.D., Stanford University

B.A., Pomona College


The areas of Susan B. Levin’s research are bioethics and ancient Greek philosophy. She is currently writing a book in which she challenges advocacy of radical enhancement (aka transhumanism) as such. She discusses her work in a recent interview for the blog of the American Philosophical Association. She is the current chair of the Department of Africana Studies at Smith College.

Selected Publications


Plato's Rivalry with Medicine: A Struggle and Its Dissolution (Oxford University Press, 2014).

The Ancient Quarrel between Philosophy and Poetry Revisited: Plato and the Greek Literary Tradition (Oxford University Press, 2001).

Articles and Essays

“Creating a Higher Breed: Transhumanism and the Prophecy of Anglo-American Eugenics.” In Reproductive Ethics II: New Ideas and Innovations, edited by Lisa Campo-Engelstein and Paul Burcher, 37-58. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2018.

“Enhancing Future Children: How It Might Happen, Whether It Should.” In Reproductive Ethics: New Challenges and Conversations, edited by Lisa Campo-Engelstein and Paul Burcher, 27-44. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2017.

“Antiquity’s Missive to Transhumanism.” Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 42/3 (2017): 278-303.

“The Future of Knowing and Values: Information Technologies and Plato’s Critique of Rhetoric.” Philosophy and Rhetoric 50/2 (2017): 153-77.

“Why Organ Conscription Should Be off the Table: Extrapolation from Heidegger’s Being and Time.”Sophia: International Journal of Philosophy and Traditions. Published online June 1, 2017, pp. 1-22. DOI: 10.1007/s11841-017-0589-6. Print publication to follow.

Jotterand, Fabrice, and Susan B. Levin. “Moral Deficits, Moral Motivation and the Feasibility of Moral Bioenhancement.” Topoi: An International Review of Philosophy. Published online April 8, 2017, pp. 1-9. DOI: 10.1007/s11245-017-9472-x. Print publication in a special issue on moral enhancement, coedited by Andrea Lavazza and Massimo Reichlin, to follow.

"Upgrading Discussions of Cognitive Enhancement." Neuroethics 9/1 (2016): 53-67.

"Transhumanism and Enhancement." Pp. 1-12 in eLS (previously called the Encyclopedia of Life Sciences), Chichester, UK: John Wiley and Sons. DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0024136. Published October 15, 2014.

"Plato and Contemporary Bioethics?" Post for OUPblog. Published October 12, 2014.

"The Doctor-Patient Tie in Plato’s Laws: A Backdrop for Reflection." Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 37/4 (2012): 351-72.

"States of Distinction: New Essays on Plato’s Laws." Review Article on Plato’s "Laws": A Critical Guide, edited by Christopher Bobonich (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010). Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought 29/1 (2012): 165-80.

"Language." Pp. 188-91 in The Continuum Companion to Plato, edited by Gerald A. Press. London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2012.

"A Rivalry Dissolved: The Restoration of Medicine’s Technê Status in the Laws." Part II of "Politics and Medicine: Plato’s Final Word." Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought 27/2 (2010): 193-221.

"Philosopher-Rulers and the Laws: Thing of the Past or (Un)Expected Return?" Part I of "Politics and Medicine: Plato’s Final Word." Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought 27/1 (2010): 1-24.

"Eryximachus’ Tale: The Symposium’s Role in Plato’s Critique of Medicine." Apeiron: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science 42/4 (2009): 275-308.

"Platonic Metaphysics and Semantics: The Cratylus’ Ties to the Sophist and Politicus." In Logos and Language: Essays in Honour of Julius Moravcsik, edited by Dagfinn Føllesdal and John Woods, 73-98. London: College Publications, 2008.

"Is Medicine a Technê? Health and End-of-Life Care in Plato’s Republic." In Reflections on Bioethics and Ancient Philosophy, edited by Antonio Chu and Ronald Polansky, 125-53 (Philosophical Inquiry suppl.; Athens, 2007).