Gareth B. Matthews


368 Bartlett Hall
Web Site
Web Site: Philosophy for Kids

Ph.D., Harvard University, 1961
Appointed at UMass: 1969

Prior Appointments:

University of Virginia (1960-61);
University of Minnesota (1961-69)

Areas of Interest:

Ancient Philosophy, Medieval Philosophy, Early Modern Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Childhood

Current Research:

(1) Archelogos Project, with S. Marc Cohen, on Book Kappa
of Aristotle's Metaphysics;
(2) A commissioned book on Augustine for Blackwell's "Great Minds" series.
(3) "Socratic Ignorance," first as a commissioned article for a Companion to Plato, and later, as a book on the subject.
(4) A commissioned article on Plato's Charmides.
(5) Plato for Kids (MS)

Selected Publications:

Augustine: On the Trinity - Books 8-15, ed. (Cambridge, 2002)
Socratic Perplexity and the Nature of Philosophy (Oxford, 1999)
The Augustinian Tradition, ed. (California, 1999)
The Philosophy of Childhood (Harvard, 1994)
Thoughts's Ego in Augustine and Descartes (Cornell, 1992).


Gareth B. Matthews was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 8, 1929. He grew up in Illinois and Tennessee, and in Indiana, where he earned his B.A. at Franklin College. He began his graduate work at Harvard University, where he earned an M.A. in 1952. After a year as a Rotary Fellow at the Free University of Berlin, and a three-and-a-half year stint in the U.S. Navy, he returned to Harvard, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1961. His teaching appointments have been at the University of Virginia (1960-61), the University of Minnesota (1961-69), and the University of Massachusetts (1969-2005), where he is now professor emeritus. He has been a visiting professor at Amherst College, Brown University, Mt. Holyoke College, Smith College, and the Harvard Summer School. He has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and has directed four summer seminars sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. He was twice awarded an NEH Fellowship. He continues to teach, most recently at UMass, Brown University, and Mt. Holyoke College; in the fall of 2006 he will be teaching at Amherst College.

Professor Matthews has taught and published widely in the areas of ancient and medieval philosophy and the philosophy of religion. His latest two books are Socratic Perplexity and the Nature of Philosophy ( Oxford, 1999) and Augustine (Blackwell, 2005). He has also been in pioneer in thinking, writing, and teaching about philosophy and children. His three books in this area, all published by Harvard University Press – Philosophy and the Young Child (1980), Dialogues with Children (1984), and The Philosophy of Childhood (1994) – have been translated into a dozen languages, including Chinese, Japanese, and Indonesian, as well as various European languages. He lectures regularly in this country and abroad and has conducted philosophy discussions with elementary-school children in Austria, Australia, China, Israel, Germany, Japan, Norway, and Scotland, as well as in various schools in the U.S. He lives with his wife, Mary, in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he gets to enjoy visits from his three children, their spouses, and his six grandchildren.