School of History, Classics & Archaeology

A.G. Leventis Inaugural lecture - Professor Mary Margaret McCabe

HCA Professor Mary McCabe

Does truth come in bite-sized chunks? If truth is chunky, the sophists in Plato’s Euthydemus ask, can the person who says it persist through time? And if truth is chunky, can anyone else disagree?  In the Platonic dialogues the narrative frames – often dismissed as mere settings for the arguments – provide a counter to such extreme accounts – of truth, of conversation, even of knowledge or virtue.  The Euthydemus tells a tale about persistence, about the aspiration to truth and about attentiveness to others which is demanding and complex, but  which responds to the dangers of chunky truths.  Thus the frame narrative of the Euthydemus tells us something about how metaphysical commitment and ethical content make a difference to how we talk. What it tells us matters still.

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception, to which everyone is welcome.

Professor McCabe's biography

HCA Leventis Logo

Mary Margaret McCabe (‘MM’) works on ancient philosophy, on ethics and on the philosophy of medicine; she has published mostly on Plato, but also on the Presocratics, on Aristotle and on the Stoics, as well as on topics in contemporary ethics and medicine.  She was Fellow of Classics at New Hall Cambridge (1981-90) then moved to the Department of Philosophy at King’s College London in 1990, where she was Professor of Ancient Philosophy from 1998 to her retirement in 2014, and thereafter Professor of Philosophy Emerita; she was Keeling Scholar in Residence and Honorary Professor of Philosophy at University College, London (2014-17) and Bye-Fellow of Newnham College Cambridge (2014-17). In 2017 MM was the Sather Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, delivering the Sather Lectures on ‘Seeing and Saying: Plato on Virtue and Knowledge’.  She is a Fellow of the British Academy and was President of the British Philosophical Association (2008-12) and President of the Mind Association (2016-17). MM is the author of Plato on Punishment (1981), Plato’s Individuals (1994), Plato and his Predecessors: The Dramatisation of Reason [from the Stanford Lectures, Trinity College Dublin] (2000) and Platonic Conversations (2015). She is the editor of the Cambridge University Press series, Cambridge Studies in the Dialogues of Plato, for which her Plato’s Euthydemus is in the late stages of preparation. MM is the Chair of Trustees of the charity Philosophy in Prison, which provides and supports philosophical discussion for prisoners in the UK.

Oct 03 2019 -

A.G. Leventis Inaugural lecture - Professor Mary Margaret McCabe

Professor Mary Margaret McCabe's inaugural lecture is entitled, 'Taking time to talk: Plato's Euthydemus on the metaphysics of conversation'.

Project Room 1.06, 50 George Square