Photograph of Vanya Visnjic

Jack (Vanya) Visnjic

Graduate Student, Classics

Ph.D., Classics, *18
The Invention of Duty: Stoicism as Deontology
Stanley J. Seeger Graduate Fellowship

My main interests are ancient philosophy, digital humanities, and classics outreach. My dissertation, The Invention of Duty: Stoicism as Deontology, challenges the common view among philosophers today that the concept of moral duty did not exist in the ancient Greco-Roman world, and that duty-based ethics is a Kantian innovation. While at Princeton, I also worked on stylometry as a method for dating and authenticating some of the letters ascribed to Plato. My work has been supported by a Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies fellowship 

I received my B.A. from Columbia University with a major in classics and a minor in mathematics. My senior thesis, supervised by Katja Vogt, examined the role of Homeric quotations in Plato's Republic. While at Columbia, I took part in the university's archaeological excavations in the Dakhleh Oasis of Egypt, headed by Roger Bagnall. I also participated in the Barnard/Columbia theatrical production of Sophocles' Antigone in ancient Greek, playing the part of Creon and also writing the music for the play's choral odes. 

At Princeton I taught intermediate Latin, ancient Greek history, and an innovative course called “From Pandora to Psychopathy: Conceptions of Evil from Antiquity to the Present” (the latter two as a TA). Before coming to Princeton I taught Latin at a middle school for gifted, underprivileged kids in New York City. I currently host a podcast about ancient Greece, which aims to generate interest in and attract new students to the classics.