Katja Maria Vogt

Professor of Philosophy

Chair, classical studies Graduate Program

(212) 854-3539
712A Philosophy


Research Interests

  • Ancient Philosophy
  • Ethics

A specialist in ancient philosophy and ethics, Professor Vogt joined the Columbia Philosophy Department in 2002. Her books include Skepsis und Lebenspraxis (1998) on ancient skepticism, and Law, Reason, and the Cosmic City (2008) on Stoic ethics and political philosophy; she just concluded the book manuscript Belief and Truth: A Skeptic Reading of Plato. The question that interests Vogt both in ancient philosophy and ethics is to what extent knowledge and self-knowledge are integral to a good life. What kind of values are knowledge and truth? What makes mere belief inferior? What is the nature of ignorance? Vogt’s next book project, Desiring the Good, aims to bring ancient theories of motivation into conversation with contemporary discussions. In recent papers on the Symposium, Plato’s views on madness, and on Book I of the Nicomachean Ethics, Vogt argues that the standard Guise of the Good account of motivation—that, in being motivated, the agent judges something to be good—holds primarily for motivation that relates to what we want for our lives as a whole. She aims to develop a theory of motivation that integrates the analysis of large-scale motivation to have one’s life go well—in her terminology, Background Motivation—with the analysis of mid-scale motivations for pursuits as well as small-scale motivations for particular actions. Vogt has published numerous papers on ancient skepticism, Plato, Stoic philosophy, Kantian ethics, and on a cherished side-interest of hers: the role of friendship and enmity in our ethical lives. Vogt is the author of the SEP articles on Ancient Skepticism and on Seneca.

Selected Publications

Skepsis und Lebenspraxis: Das pyrrhonische Leben ohne Meinungen. Alber Verlag, 1998.

Law, Reason, and the Cosmic City: Political Philosophy in the Early Stoa. Oxford UP, 2008.