November 22, 2023

Lane, Morison to Discuss “Plato’s Ideas of the Political”

Plato famously defends the rule of knowledge, but what is the rule? In her new book, scholar Melissa Lane shows Plato to have been deeply concerned with the roles and relationships between rulers and ruled.

The Princeton professor will present and discuss these theories with her colleague in the University Classics department, Benjamin Morison, on Wednesday, November 29 at 6 p.m. at Labyrinth Books, 122 Nassau Street.

In Of Rule and Office: Plato’s Ideas of the Political (Princeton University Press, $49.95), Lane shows how political office and rule were woven together in Greek vocabulary. Adopting a longstanding Greek expectation that a ruler should serve the good of the ruled, Plato’s major political dialogues — the Republic, the Statesman, and Laws — explore how different kinds of rule might best serve that good.

Reading Plato both in the Greek context and in dialogue with contemporary thinkers, Lane argues that rule and office belong at the center of Platonic, Greek, and contemporary political thought.

Lane is professor of politics and a faculty member of the Program in Classical Philosophy at Princeton University. Her books include Eco-Republic: What the Ancients Can Teach Us about Ethics, Virtue, and Sustainable Living; The Birth of Politics: Eight Greek and Roman Political Ideas and Why They Matter; and Method and Politics in Plato’s “Statesman.

Morison is professor of philosophy at Princeton and the author of On Location: Aristotle’s Concept of Place.