Melissa Lane

Class of 1943 Professor of Politics



Effective 1 July 2014, Melissa Lane became the Class of 1943 Professor of Politics; she also became the Associate Chair of the Department of Politics for a two-year term. She continues as an associated faculty member in the Department of Classics and the Department of Philosophy.  Having served as co-director of the research community on Communicating Uncertainty: Science, Institutions, and Ethics in the Politics of Global Climate Change, sponsored by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS), in its final year, she is now a co-director of the successor initiative, Princeton Climate Futures, based at the Princeton Environmental Institute.

Melissa  Lane was named a 2012 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for a project on ‘The Rule of Knowledge: Platonic Psychology and Politics’, and in 2012-13 was on leave from Princeton University as a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

Recent publications include: 

  1. -Greek and Roman Political Ideas, Penguin (Pelican imprint), 2014: published so far only in the UK:,,9780141976150,00.html?strSrchSql=melissa+lane*/Greek_and_Roman_Political_Ideas_Melissa_Lane#

  1. -Politeia in Greek and Roman Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, 2013, co-edited by Verity Harte and Melissa Lane, including an Introduction by the co-editors (pp.1-12), and Melissa Lane, ‘Platonizing the Spartan politeia in Plutarch’s Lycurgus’ (pp.57-77).   For more information about this book, see


  1. -‘Platon et le Développement Durable’, in Revue Francaise d’Histoire des Idées Politiques 37 (2013) 111-31, an adapation of her book Eco-Republic: Ancient Ethics for a Green Age, translated into French by Mattieu Bouchet and Dimitri El Murr.  

  2. -‘Founding as legislating: the figure of the lawgiver in Plato’s Republic’, in Dialogues on Plato’s Politeia (Republic): Selected Papers from the Ninth Symposium Platonicum, eds. Noboru Notomi and Luc Brisson (Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag, 2013), pp.104-14.

- Eco-Republic:What the Ancients Can Teach Us about Ethics, Virtue, and Sustainable Living (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012) = Eco-Republic: Ancient Thinking for a Green Age (Witney UK: Peter Lang, 2011)

What the Ancients Can Teach Us about
Ethics, Virtue, and Sustainable Living

By Melissa Lane

Sample Chapter

Table of Contents

Research Interests

With an A.B. summa cum laude in Social Studies from Harvard, and an M.Phil. and PhD in Philosophy from Cambridge, where she studied as a Marshall, Truman, and Phi Beta Kappa scholar, Professor Lane’s work has focused on the history of political thought and political philosophy, with distinctive strength in ancient Greek political thought while spanning both the ancients and the moderns.  This wide range is reflected in the fact that she is a contributor to both the Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Political Thought (2000), of which she was also an Associate Editor, and the Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought (2003).

Professor Lane’s expertise in the area of ancient political theory is widely recognized, building on her books Method and Politics in Plato’s Statesman (Cambridge, 1998) and Plato’s Progeny: How Plato and Socrates still captivate the modern mind (Duckworth, 2001), and her Introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of Plato’s Republic (2007).  Professor Lane’s third book, Eco-Republic, appeared in autumn 2011 from Peter Lang in the UK and in early 2012 from Princeton University Press in the United States.  Her fourth, Greek and Roman Political Ideas, appeared as a Penguin Pelican in the UK in spring 2014.  She has co-edited two volumes: A Poet’s Reich: Politics and Culture in the George Circle, Camden House (an imprint of Boydell and Brewer), 2011, co-edited with Martin A. Ruehl; and Politeia in Greek and Roman Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, 2013, co-edited with Verity Harte.

Professor Lane is interviewed in a podcast about Plato and sustainability, the theme of the book Eco-Republic, on ‘Philosophy Bites’:

A review of Eco-Republic in Science can be found at

In recent years, Professor Lane gave the 2012 Navin Narayan Memorial Lecture in Social Studies at Harvard University, and has presented papers at seminars or conferences at the University of California, Berkeley; UCLA; Stanford University; Princeton University; the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor); the International Plato Symposium in Pisa, Italy; The New School for Social Research; Ben-Gurion University; Brown University; Yale University; and a Royal Institute of Philosophy conference at the University of Hull, UK.  

Office hours, 2014-15: available from September 2014 via (search for Lane).  

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[Photo by Denise Applewhite]

Curriculum vitae