Ancient lessons for modern dilemmas

21 July 2015
Professor Melissa Lane
Professor Melissa Lane

Climate change and sustainability are modern dilemmas but two University of Auckland lectures will show how insights from the Ancient Greeks can help make sense of these topics.

Professor Melissa Lane of Princeton University will deliver the 2015 Hood Lecture, The Ethics of Communicating Climate Change: Insights from Aristotle. Professor Lane will discuss insights from Aristotle’s Rhetoric that can help climate scientists to communicate both ethically and effectively, and illuminate the relationship between expertise and democracy.

She is also presenting the 2015 Chapman Lecture in Politics, The Politics of Unsustainability: Plato on the Logic of Constitutional Change. The lecture will discuss how Plato shows us how our commitments to ideals underlie both the ways in which we understand political change, and the politics of sustainability.

Professor Lane is the Class of 1943 Professor of Politics at Princeton University. She is also an associated faculty member in the Department of Classics and the Department of Philosophy.

Her work is in political theory, with her principal expertise being ancient Greek political thought and its modern reception.

In her book, The Birth of Politics: Eight Greek and Roman Political Ideas and Why They Matter, Professor Lane introduces the reader to the foundations of Western political thought, from the Greeks, who invented democracy, to the Romans, who created a republic and then transformed it into an empire.

Her other books include Eco-Republic: What the Ancients Can Teach Us about Ethics, Virtue, and Sustainable Living and Plato’s Progeny: How Plato and Socrates Still Captivate the Modern Mind.

Before coming to Princeton, Professor Lane taught political thought in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge, where she was a Fellow of King's College.

The Hood Lecture is on Thursday 30 July, 5.30pm in lecture theatre OGGB4, Owen G Glenn Building.

The 2015 Chapman Lecture is on Wednesday 5 August, 5.30pm at the Maidment Theatre.


Anna Kellett, Media Relations Adviser