G. E. L. Owen

  (Redirected from Gwilym Ellis Lane Owen)

Gwilym Ellis Lane Owen, FBA (18 May 1922 – 10 July 1982), who published as G. E. L. Owen, was a British philosopher, concerned with the history of Ancient Greek Philosophy. He was educated at Portsmouth Grammar School and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. where his undergraduate career was interrupted by five years of military service. He became the foremost authority on Aristotle in his generation, at least in the English-speaking world.


From 1973 until his death Owen was the fourth Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. An undergraduate at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where after research at University of Durham he taught, he proceeded in 1966 to Harvard University, where his many distinguished students included Julia Annas, Gail Fine, Wilbur Knorr, Martha Nussbaum, and Nicholas P. White. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1969.[1]

He is known particularly for his ideas on the development of Aristotle.[2] He has been classed with J. L. Ackrill and Gregory Vlastos as influential in creating interest in the field, in the Anglo-American context.[3] His collected papers were published posthumously under the title Logic, Science and Dialectic: collected papers in Greek philosophy (1986). The best account of his work is by Ackrill in Proceedings of the British Academy 70 (1984), pp. 481-499.

Allegations of sexual harassmentEdit

In an article published in 2004, philosopher Martha C. Nussbaum describes Owen as a serial sexual harasser and an alcoholic, who harassed many women and that his pattern was the same with all.[4] In 2016, an article states that after Nussbaum entered the graduate program in classics at Harvard in 1969, "When her thesis adviser, G. E. L. Owen, invited her to his office, served sherry, spoke about life's sadness, recited Auden, and reached over to touch her breasts, [Nussbaum] says, she gently pushed him away, careful not to embarrass him.... 'I managed to keep my control with Owen, and I never said a hostile word.' She didn’t experience the imbalance of power that makes sexual harassment so destructive, she said, because she felt 'much healthier and more powerful than he was'."[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ http://www.degruyter.com/dg/viewarticle/j$002fagph.1983.65.issue-2$002fagph.1983.65.2.113$002fagph.1983.65.2.113.xml
  2. ^ Charlotte Witt, The Evolution of Developmental Interpretations, p. 74, in William Robert Wians (editor), Aristotle's Philosophical Development: Problems and Prospects (1996).
  3. ^ Bryn Mawr Classical Review 98.4.01
  4. ^ "Don't Smile Too Much: Philosophy and Women in the '70's", published in Linda Martin Alcoff, ed., Singing In The Fire: Stories Of Women In Philosophy, Routledge.
  5. ^ "The Philosopher of Feelings". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2016-07-24.


  • Malcolm Schofield, Martha Craven Nussbaum (editors) (1982), Language and Logos: Studies in Ancient Greek Philosophy Presented to G. E. L. Owen

External linksEdit

Academic offices
Preceded by
William Keith Chambers Guthrie
Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy Cambridge University
1973 - 1982
Succeeded by
Myles Burnyeat
Preceded by
President of the Aristotelian Society
1978 - 1979
Succeeded by