MA, PhD (Cambridge), FRSA
Department of Philosophy
Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy
Full contact details
Department of Philosophy
45 Victoria Street
Angie Hobbs gained a degree in Classics and a PhD in Ancient Philosophy at the University of Cambridge. After a Research Fellowship at Christ’s College, Cambridge, she moved to the Philosophy Department at the University of Warwick; in 2012 she was appointed Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield, a position created for her. Her chief interests are in ancient philosophy and literature, and ethics and political theory from classical thought to the present, and she has published widely in these areas, including Plato and the Hero (C.U.P). Her most recent publication for the general public is Plato’s Republic: a Ladybird Expert Book. She contributes regularly to radio and TV programmes and other media. She has spoken at the World Economic Forum at Davos, the Houses of Parliament, the Scottish Parliament and Westminster Abbey and been the guest on Desert Island Discs, Private Passions and Test Match Special. She was a judge of the Man Booker International Prize 2019 and was on the World Economic Forum Global Future Council 2018-9 for Values, Ethics and Innovation.
- Research interests
Most of my work is in ancient Greek philosophy and in ethics (both ancient and modern), and I have broad interests across both fields. Topics that I particularly focus on are: the ethics of flourishing and virtue ethics; courage, heroism and fame; concepts of 'manliness'; war and peace; love and desire; mental health and illness; relations between philosophy and literature; relations between ethics and aesthetics.
In Plato and the Hero I concentrate on Plato's critique of the notions and embodiments of 'manliness' and courage prevalent in his culture (particularly those in Homer), and his attempt to redefine them in accordance with his own ethical, psychological and metaphysical principles. The question of why courage is necessary in the flourishing life in its turn leads to Plato's bid to unify the noble and the beneficial, and the tensions this unification creates between human and divine ideals.
I am currently writing a book Why Plato Matters (for Bloomsbury), and also working on a new translation of, and commentary on, Plato's Symposium (for Oxford University Press).
- A call to moral arms: review of Michael Hand A Theory of Moral Education. Journal of Beliefs and Values. View this article in WRRO
- Who Lied? Classical Heroism and World War I. Classical Receptions Journal, 10(4), 376-392. View this article in WRRO
- Philosophy and the good life. Journal of Philosophy in Schools, 5(1), 20-37. View this article in WRRO
- Under which lyre. Common Knowledge, 20(2), 265-272.
- In Memoriam: the Who, How, When and Where of Statues. Journal of Philosophy of Education.
- Women, Heroism and the First World War, Mobilizing Cultural Identities in the First World War (pp. 127-148). Springer International Publishing
- Socrates, Eros and Magic In Harte V & Woolf, R (Ed.), Rereading Ancient Philosophy : Old Chestnuts and Sacred Cows Cambridge University Press: Cambridge University Press.
- Filling the space between: what can we learn from Plato? In Norman R & Carroll A (Ed.), Religion and Atheism: Beyond the Divide London and New York: Routledge.
- Platonic Proportions: Beauty, Harmony and the Good Life In Poltrum M (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Mental Health and Contemporary Western Aesthetics Oxford University Press
- View this article in WRRO More and the Republics of Plato In Shrank C & Withington P (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Thomas More's Utopia Oxford University Press
- View this article in WRRO 'Women, Heroism and World War 1 In Pedriali F & Savettieri C (Ed.), Mobilizing Identities: Identities in Motion Through the First World War Palgrave
- Professional activities and memberships
Positions (current): Honorary Patron of The Philosophy Foundation; Advisory Board of Plato's Academy Centre; Board member of the Royal Institute of Philosophy; Editorial Board of the Journal of Philosophy in Schools; Advisory Council of the Speakers' Corner Trust; Associate Fellow of the Crick Centre for the Public Understanding of Politics; adviser to the Hobbes Philosophy Society of Malmesbury; Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Positions (former): World Economic Forum Global Future Council for Values, Ethics and Innovation 2018-9; judge for the Man Booker International Prize (now the Booker International prize) 2019; Chair of the Arts and Ideas Trust 2011-2016 (responsible for the HowTheLightGetsIn Philosophy Festival at Hay-on-Wye); Executive Committee Member and Trustee of the Forum for Philosophy (formerly the Forum for European Philosophy) 2015-21; Executive Committee Member of the British Philosophical association 2013-22.
Fiction writing: 'Raqs Sharqi' in The Voyage: Journeys in Creative Writing, a Warwick-Monash anthology of creative writing edd. Chandani Lokuge and David Morley (Silkworks Ink 2011).
I also broadcast regularly for radio, TV, newspapers and the web and speak at a variety of festivals and other venues.