AHI Senior Fellow Mary Nichols chairs the department of political science at Baylor University. She has recently published with Cambridge University Press Socrates on Friendship and Community: Reflections on Plato’s Symposium, Phaedras, and Lysis.

The book addresses Kierkegaard’s and Nietzsche’s criticism of Socrates and recovers the place friendship and community in Socratic philosophizing. Professor Nichol’s approach stands in contrast to the modern philosophical tradition, in which Plato’s Socrates has been viewed as an alienating influence on Western thought and life. Nichols’ rich analysis of both dramatic details and philosophic themes in Plato’s Symposium, Phaedrus, and Lysis shows how love finds its fulfillment in the reciprocal relation of friends. Nichols also shows how friends experience another as their own, and themselves as belonging to another. Their experience, she argues, both sheds light on the nature of philosophy and serves as a standard for a political life that does justice to human freedom and community.

Professor Nichols is the author of numerous books and articles on the history of political thought and in politics, literature, and film. Her main areas of research are classical political theory (see, for example, Citizens and Statesmen: A Commentary on Aristotle’s “Politics”), Shakespeare, and film directors such as Woody Allen, John Ford, and Alfred Hitchcock.

The AHI congratulates Professor Nichols on her significant contribution to Western political thought.