UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies


MacKenzie, Hugh

Hugh Mackenzie website image


A PhD student since September 2012 – now part-time. He is a Catholic priest in the Diocese of Westminster. From 2002 he was Parish Priest of St Mary Magdalen’s, Willesden Green. Before that he was a sixth form chaplain in Harrow, a curate and epistemology seminary lecturer in Chelsea and a biological research assistant at Imperial College. His graduate degrees are in Knowledge-Based Systems (from Heriot-Watt, dissertation on probabilistic logic) and Philosophy (from the Gregorian in Rome, dissertation on hupokeimenon in Aristotle’s ontology).


The development of the relationship between nous and eidos in the Phaedo, Republic Parmenides, Sophist, Timaeus, Laws, Philebus and Statesman.

Working title: Plato's explanation of participation by methodologically reversing the Divided Line: The instrumental use of Forms by Nous to order the primeval realm.

Working subtitle: The Timaeus 53b and the Laws X as narrowing the metaphysical gap between the sensible and intelligible realms on the Republic’s Divided Line, and so between perceptible bodies and divine craft in the Timeaus.

Working Abstract:

I propose that there is quite a bit of largely unacknowledged evidence that a major consideration of late-Plato was understanding the actual workings of “Participation”. The concept of “participation” is that by which Plato asserted a certain ontological harmony between the One and the Many, between universal Forms and particular objects of sensation. I am proposing a certain synthesis of Prior and Sayre on how late-Plato, from the explicit questions raised in the first part of the Parmenides, was trying to fill out the concept of participation. In this regard I propose that late-Plato investigated reversing the order of the Republic's Divided Line dialectical epistemology to get a creative metaphysics, which turns out to be dialectical and "causative".

Current research:

Aitia in Plato, and causation in contemporary philosophy

The hardly studied link between Laws X and the “Digression on Forms” in the Seventh “Platonic” Epistle as evidence for the below two ideas and a possible missing link concerning Plato’s introduction of causative nous into the Divided Line epistemology.

The idea that logical developments can be seen in Plato’s dialogues.

The idea that Plato had doctrine to teach.

Relevant writings (non-academic)

  1. “Science and the spiritual: the unaddressed relationship at the heart of modern Evangelisation” Faith, November 2010 (link)
  2. A non-idealistic defence of the objective reality of universality, Faith annual symposium, February 2008