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Inaugural Dorothy Emmet Lecture

03 Feb 2016

University celebrates pioneering woman and eminent philosopher on Thursday, 4 February (6pm) in Arts Theatre, Samuel Alexander Building

Dorothy Emmet

The University is launching a lecture series commemorating Dorothy Emmet, head of the Philosophy Department at the University for more than 20 years and an eminent mid-20th Century philosopher and professor at a time when women in this field and role were rare.

The first lecture, on Thursday, 4 February, will be introduced by Hugh Mellor, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge, and a long-time friend of Emmet’s, and will reflect on her life and achievements. That will be followed by Professor Catherine Elgin from Harvard University delivering the lecture itself: Nature's Handmaiden, Art.

Many consider art non-cognitive, contending that art bypasses reason and acts directly and exclusively on emotion. Professor Elgin will argue that the arts like the sciences embody, convey and advance understanding. 

Once we appreciate the multiple and complex modes of symbolization by which both the arts and the sciences advance understanding, we see that the differences between them are differences in degree rather than differences in kind. Both are powerful instruments that enable us to leverage our epistemic resources.

This public event, an example of how the arts and science work together, is part of the celebrations for European City of Science 2016.

More information

Everyone is welcome to attend the lecture. Further details and registration can be found at:

For details of other events taking place during the European City of Science 2016, visit: