Mary Margaret McCabe

Professor Emerita of Ancient Philosophy, King's College London, Bye-Fellow, Newnham College Cambridge, and Honorary Professor of Philosophy, University College London

Spring 2017 Sather Lectures

Seeing and Saying:  Plato on Virtue and Knowledge

February 9:
Lecture 1:  No word in vain: reading Plato's dialogues (again)
Alumni House, 8:30 p.m.

February 16
Lecture 2:  The wandering 'we'
370 Dwinelle Hall, 6 p.m.

February 23
Lecture 3:  Parsing vision
370 Dwinelle Hall, 6 p.m.

March 2
Lecture 4:  Rereading Glaucon's challenge: Plato's distinctions in goodness
370 Dwinelle Hall, 6 p.m.

March 9
Lecture 5: Plato's lexicon of logos
370 Dwinelle Hall, 6 p.m.

March 16
Lecture 6: Giving and taking an account: Plato on the language of conversation
370 Dwinelle Hall, 6 p.m.

MM McCabe

More about Mary Margaret McCabe

Mary Margaret McCabe is Professor Emerita of Ancient Philosophy in the Philosophy Department of King's College, University of London.  Professor McCabe joined the faculty of King's College in 1990, after receiving her B.A. and Ph.D. in Classics at the University of Cambridge and serving there for nine years as Fellow in Classics at New Hall. 

Professor McCabe has gained international renown through her contributions to the study of Plato, on whom she has written three books and is soon to publish a fourth.  Taken together, these books run the gamut of Platonic philosophy, from Plato on Punishment (1981), with its focus on moral philosophy, through Plato's Individuals (1994), which is a metaphysical inquiry, to Plato and his Predecessors (2000), in which the centrality of conversation to ancient philosophical method comes to the fore (as it does also in her recent collection of essays, Platonic Conversations).  She is general editor of the benchmark series "Cambridge Studies in the Dialogues of Plato," in which her own interpretation of the Euthydemus will be published in 2017.  

Professor McCabe served as President of the British Philosophical Association from 2009-12 and is currently President of the Mind Association.  In recent years she has held a three-year Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust and a five-year major grant from the Wellcome Trust Major Research Center in the Humanities and Health, as well as visiting positions at Yale University and Princeton University.

More from Professor McCabe on the series

How should we read the Platonic dialogues?  Try this maxim:  "Plato wrote nothing in vain."  I shall focus on five dialogues which seem to conduct a lengthy investigation of the relation between virtue and knowledge:  Protagoras, Meno, Euthydemus, Republic, and Theaetetus. Each lecture will focus on a different aspect of the language (broadly construed) of these dialogues—and I shall argue that this focus illuminates features of Plato's ethics and his epistemology that would otherwise go unnoticed.  In particular, the way that these dialogues bring to the fore the role of the grammatical subject of vision and of discourse—the seeing subject, as I shall describe it, and the saying subject—might encourage us to rethink old assumptions about Platonism and, perhaps, about virtue and knowledge too.