Gregory Vlastos was born on 27 July 1907 in Istanbul. He studied philosophy at Robert College in Istanbul before earning his PhD from Harvard in 1931. He taught for a number of years at Queen’s University in Ontario before moving to a post at Cornell University in 1948. He spent some time around 1938 as a visiting scholar at Cambridge, where he met Professor Cornford, which his introduction to Socrates: Ironist and Moral Philosopher mentions as a pivotal moment in the development of his thought and career.
In 1955, he was appointed Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Princeton, where he remained until his retirement in 1976. According to his own account, retirement began one of the most fruitful periods of Vlastos’s scholarly activity. He held the post of Mills Professor of Philosophy at the University of Berkeley from 1976 to 1987, as well as being a Distinguished Professorial Fellow at Christ’s College, Cambridge, from 1983 to 1984. He gave a lecture series at the University of Toronto in 1978, the Townsend lectures at Cornell University in 1986, and the Gifford Lectures at the University of St Andrews in 1981.
The last years of his life were spent revising large volumes of material for publication, including his Gifford Lectures. Sadly, he died before this work could be completed, on 12 October 1991. He held a MacArthur Fellowship at the time of his death.
His publications include The Philosophy of Socrates (1970), Platonic Studies (1973), Plato's Universe (1975).