This article is published as part of collection on the future of research assessment.
Plato and Aristotle are plumbed for insights concerning the underlying assumptions of the impact agenda, and more generally for how philosophy can offer greater assistance on policy questions. Aristotle reveals the limitations of ‘impact’ as a way of framing discussions about the relevance of academic knowledge. Plato offers more general counsel on the challenges facing philosophers who seek to be relevant to the concerns of policymakers. Together, their work suggests that policy-sensitive philosophers can help decision makers be more self-conscious about the assumptions underlying their work.