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Melissa Lane is University Senior Lecturer in History at Cambridge University, Associate Director of the Centre, and a Fellow of King's College Cambridge. Born in New York City in 1966, she grew up in California and received an A.B. summa cum laude at Harvard University in Social Studies. She spent most of 1989 working as an aide to and speechwriter for President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica, and then came to Cambridge University on a Marshall Scholarship, taking a First Class in Part II of the Philosophy Tripos followed by an M.Phil. and PhD in Philosophy. She was appointed to the History Faculty at Cambridge in 1994. In 2001-04 she was a Senior Research Associate of the Centre for History and Economics, working on a research project on skepticism about electoral democracy in theory and practice together with Richard Tuck of Harvard University. In 2001-02 she was a Visiting Fellow of the History and Social & Political Theory Programs at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia in the autumn, and a Visiting Professor of Government and Lecturer in Social Studies at Harvard University in the spring.
Dr Lane first joined CSF in 1997 as coordinator of the programme on disarmament and political thought. She has worked on a range of topics in political philosophy and the history of political thought, including questions of security, democracy, and authority, and practical topics such as the role of corporations in democratic theory and the ethics of surrogate motherhood. She has special expertise in Plato's political thought which was the subject of her PhD. Her first book was Method and Politics in Plato's Statesman (CUP 1998). Her second book, Plato's Progeny: How Socrates and Plato still captivate the modern mind (Duckworth 2001), was published in June 2001. She has appeared on a number of radio and television broadcasts on the BBC and Channel 4 discussing issues in the history of ideas and political ethics, including 'Millennium Minds', 'Fear and Voting', and 'Mary Wollstonecraft, and has published for a wider audience in the 'Times Literary Supplement' and 'History Today'.
‘Introduction’ to Plato, Republic. Penguin Classics, 2007.
Plato’s Progeny: How Socrates and Plato still captivate the modern mind. Duckworth, 2001. Reviewed in Bryn Mawr Classical Reviews, Heythrop Journal, Mind, Times Literary Supplement, to my knowledge so far.
Method and Politics in Plato's Statesman. Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Reviewed in Polis as subject of a review article, and in Athenaeum, Archives de Philosophies, Classical Review, Classical World, Heythrop Journal, Journal of the History of Philosophy, Review of Metaphysics, to my knowledge so far.
Articles in refereed journals
‘The utopianism of Hamilton’s state of needs: on rights, deliberation, and the nature of politics’, South African Journal of Philosophy 25 (2006) 207-213.
‘The evolution of eironeia in classical Greek texts: why Socratic eironeia is not Socratic irony’, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 31 (2006) 49-83.
‘“Emplois pour philosophes”: l’art politique et l’Etranger dans le Politique à la lumière de Socrate et du philosophe dans le Théétète’, translated into French by Fulcran Teisserenc, Les Études philosophiques, 2005 (no.3: September), pp.325-45.
‘Comment: Bioethics, Health and Inequality’, The Lancet, vol.364, no.9349 (18 September 2004) 1017-1019.
‘Why History of Ideas At All?’ History of European Ideas 28:1-2 (2002): 33-41.
‘States of Nature, Epistemic and Political’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (1998-99) 1-24.
‘Plato, Popper, Strauss, and Utopianism: Open Secrets?’, History of Philosophy Quarterly 16:2 (April 1999) 119-42.
‘Pyrrhonism and Protagoreanism: Catching Sextus Out?’, with Verity Harte, Philosophiegeschichte und Logische Analyse/Logical Analysis and the History of Philosophy (1999) 157-72.
‘Argument and Agreement in Plato’s Crito’, History of Political Thought 19:3 (1998) 313-330.
‘God or Orienteering: Charles Taylor's Sources of the Self’, Ratio 5:1 (June 1992) 46-56. [N.B. discussion article by D.P. Baker, ‘Morality, structure, transcendence and theism: A response to Melissa Lane’s reading of Charles Taylor’s Sources of the Self’, International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 54 (2003) 33-48. ]
Articles in edited volumes
‘Gadfly in God’s Own Country: Socrates in Twentieth-Century America’, in Socrates in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, ed. M.B Trapp (Ashgate, 2006/07), pp.203-224.
‘A Philosophical View on States and Immigration’, in Globalizing Migration Regimes: New Challenges to Transnational Cooperation, eds. K. Tamas and J. Palme, Ashgate, 2006, pp.131-43.
‘Plato’s Political Philosophy’, in The Blackwell Companion to Ancient Philosophy, eds. M.L. Gill and P. Pellegrin, Blackwell, 2006, pp.170-191.
‘Response by Melissa Lane’, to M. Gibney, ‘“A thousand little Guantanamos”: Western states and measures to prevent the arrival of refugees’, in Displacement, Asylum, Migration: The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 2004, ed. K.E. Tunstall, Oxford, 2006, pp.170-75.
‘Time and Morality in Political Ethics’, in Zeithorizonte des Ethischen. Zur Bedeutung von Temporalität in der Fundamental- und Bioethik, eds. C. Rehman-Sutter and G. Pfleiderer, Kohlhammer, 2006, pp.15-22.
‘The Moral Dimension of Corporate Accountability’, in Global Responsibilities: Enforcing Rights by Defining Obligations, ed. A Kuper, Routledge, 2005, pp.229-250.
‘Autonomy as a Central Human Right and Its Implications for the Moral Responsibilities of Corporations’, in Human Rights and the Moral Responsibilities of Public and Private Sector Organisations, eds. T. Campbell and S. Miller, Kluwer, 2004.
‘Ethical Issues in Surrogacy Arrangements’ in Surrogate Motherhood in International Perspective, eds. R. Cook and S. Day-Sclater, Hart, 2003, pp.121-139.
‘Reactions to Positivism’, in The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought, eds. R. Bellamy and T. Ball, Cambridge University Press, 2003, pp. 321-342. [N.b. this piece commended in The Economist review of the volume, 15 January 2004.]
‘Interpreting Political Thought – Then and Now’, in Contemporary Political Philosophy: A Reader and Guide, ed. A. Finlayson, Edinburgh and NYU Presses, 2003, pp.69-79.
‘A New Angle on Utopia: the Political Theory of the Politicus’, in Reading the Statesman: Proceedings of the Third International Symposium Platonicum, ed. C. Rowe, Academia Verlag, 1995, pp.276-291.
‘Political Theory and Time’, in Time in Modern Intellectual Thought, ed. P. Baert, Elsevier, 2000, pp.233-51.
‘Introduction’ to Plato and Socrates section, The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Political Thought, eds. M. Schofield and C. Rowe, Cambridge University Press, 2000, pp.155-63; also an Associate Editor.
‘Honesty as the best policy?: Nietzsche on Redlichkeit and the contrast between Stoic and Epicurean strategies of the self’ in Historicizing Postmodernism: The Precursors, The Heyday, The Legacy, eds. M. Bevir, J. Hargis, and S. Rushing (Routledge, 2007).
‘Virtue as the Love of Knowledge in Plato’s Symposium and Republic’ in Maieusis: Essays in Ancient Philosophy in Honour of Myles Burnyeat, ed. D. Scott (Oxford, 2007).
‘Thoreau and Rousseau: Nature as Utopia’, in A Political Companion to Thoreau, ed. J. Turner (University Press of Kentucky, 2008).
‘Persuasion and Compulsion in Platonic Politics’, in a festschrift for Monique Dixsaut, eds. A. Brancacci and D. Taormina (Paris, 2008), to be translated into French by Dimitri El Murr.
Media contributions arising directly from Centre research include being interviewed on BBC Radio 4 'Analysis' programme on 'Fear and Voting' (2004), and a short piece entitled 'Myths about migration: historical and philosophical perspectives', on the History and Policy website, spring 2006 (www.historyandpolicy.org).