Paul Woodruff

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Paul Woodruff (born 1943) is a classicist, professor of philosophy, and dean at The University of Texas at Austin, where he once chaired the department of philosophy and has more recently held the Hayden Head Regents Chair as director of Plan II Honors program, which he resigned in 2006 after 15 years of service. On September 21, 2006, University President William C. Powers, Jr. named Dr. Woodruff the inaugural dean of undergraduate studies. He is best known for his work on Socrates, Plato, and philosophy of theater. A beloved professor, he often teaches courses outside his Ancient Greek Philosophy specialty, including literature courses and specialty seminars, often for the Plan II program.


Born in New Jersey (though raised in western Pennsylvania), Woodruff attended Princeton University, where he completed a major in Classics in 1965. His studies then took him to Merton College of Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar, where he completed a Bachelor's Degree in Literae Humaniores in 1968. Inspired by the Socratic beliefs on rule of law, he served in the United States Army in the Vietnam War from 1969 to 1971, during which time he attained the rank of Captain. Returning to the United States, he again attended Princeton University, where he completed his doctorate in Philosophy, studying under Gregory Vlastos.

In the same year, he joined the Department of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, where he has remained to this day.



  • Plato (1982). Hippias major. Translated, with commentary and essay, by Paul Woodruff. Indianapolis: Hackett.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Reverence; Renewing a Forgotten Virtue Oxford University Press (2001)
  • First Democracy; The Challenge of an Ancient Idea Oxford University Press (2005)
  • The Necessity of Theater; The Art of Watching and Being Watched Oxford University Press (2008)
  • The Ajax Dilemma: Justice, Fairness, and Rewards Oxford University Press (2011)


  • Plato: Two Comic Dialogues (Ion and Hippias Major) Hackett (1983)
  • Plato: Symposium (with Alexander Nehamas) Hackett (1989)
  • Thucydides on Justice, Power, and Human Nature Hackett (1993)
  • Plato: Phaedrus (with Alexander Nehamas) Hackett (1995)
  • Euripides Bacchae Hackett (1998)
  • Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus (with Peter Meineck) Hackett (2000)
  • Sophocles: Antigone Hackett (2001)
  • Sophocles: Theban Plays, with Introductions by Paul Woodruff (with Peter Meineck) Hackett (2003)


  • Facing Evil; Light at the Core of Darkness. (with Harry A. Wilmer) Open Court Press (1988)
  • Early Greek Political Thought from Homer to the Sophists (with Michael Gagarin) Cambridge University Press (1995)
  • Reason and Religion in Socratic Philosophy (edited, with Nicholas D. Smith) Oxford University Press (2000)

Critical studies and reviews

  • Pigliucci, Massimo (Mar–Apr 2013). "[Untitled review of The Ajax dilemma]". Books. Philosophy Now. 95: 44.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Awards and recognition


  • Harry Ransom Teaching Award
  • Academy of Distinguished Teachers
  • Austin Book Award
  • B. Iden Payne Award for best new play (1983)
  • Pro Bene Meritis (2002)
  • Civitatis (2007)

Academic positions

  • Dean of Undergraduate Studies
  • Chair, Department of Philosophy
  • Hayden Head Chair as Director of the Plan II Honors Program
  • Mary Helen Thompson Centennial Professor in the Humanities

See also

External links