William Desmond is originally from Cork but was educated mainly in the US. He has a BA in classics and philosophy (Loyola, MD), a BSc in mathematics (Open University) and a joint MA and PhD in classics and philosophy (Yale). He was a lecturer at Yale for two years before returning to Ireland where he lectured in UCD, TCD and Milltown, before taking up a permanent post in Maynooth in 2007.
Dr Desmond’s research centres on intellectual history, particularly in the Greek Classical period and certain modern receptions of antiquity; recurrent areas of interest include virtue ethics, political thought, historiography and metaphysics. In addition to individual articles on a range of subjects, he has published four monographs and edited (or co-edited) three volumes.
His doctoral dissertation on classical Greek ideas about wealth was awarded a Whiting Dissertation Fellowship. Its published version, The Greek Praise of Poverty: Origins of Ancient Cynicism (Notre Dame, 2006), was awarded the NUI Centennial Prize in Academic Publishing in Languages, Literature & Linguistics (2008). Exploring prevalent associations of poverty with the canonical virtues in various spheres—work (temperance, justice), war (courage), and philosophy (wisdom)—it argues that the strands of a latent Classical “praise of poverty” converged and became explicit in the Socratic schools, and most radically in the first Cynics.
A second monograph, Cynics (Acumen & University of California Press, 2008), surveys the most important “dog philosophers” of antiquity, relating typical Cynic ideas and rhetoric (about "nature" and "custom" for instance) to other ancient philosophies, and tracing Cynic influence on later writers such as Nietzsche and Foucault.
Philosopher-Kings of Antiquity (Bloomsbury/Continuum, 2011, pbk. 2013) explores the Platonic political ideal—the union of power and wisdom—and its more important variations, refractions, and perversions in antiquity and beyond. It includes chapters on sacred kingship, Plato, Plutarch, Marcus Aurelius, the Roman emperor Julian, and concludes with a survey of later figures such as Frederick the Great, Thomas Jefferson and others who have been variously associated with Plato’s ideal.
Hegel's Antiquity (Oxford, 2020) explores the importance of the Greek and Roman worlds to Hegel's systematic philosophy, with separate chapters on politics, art, religion, philosophy, and historiography. Building on this, Dr Desmond’s current research remains interdisciplinary, focusing on receptions of Plato and Platonism in the "long" nineteenth century, particularly in English- and German-language literature and philosophy.
Other active areas of research include Homer and epic, Herodotus, Whitehead and modern process thought. He has edited (with Michel Weber) the two-volume Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought (de Gruyter, 2008).
|2020||Will Desmond (2020) 'Diogenes of Sinope' In: Early Greek Ethics. Oxford : Oxford University Press.|
|2020||Will Desmond (2020) 'Hercules among the Germans: From Winckelmann to Hölderlin' In: The Modern Hercules. Leiden : Brill.|
|2018||Will Desmond (2018) 'Diogenes and the Meaning of Life' In: The Meaning of Life and the Great Philosophers. London : Routledge.|
|2018||Will Desmond (2018) 'Between gods and mortals: The Piety of Homeric Kings' In: Homer and the Good Ruler in Antiquity and Beyond. Leiden : Brill.|
|2016||Will Desmond (2016) '“Aristotle on peace: Biological, political, ethical, and metaphysical dimensions”' In: Peace and Reconciliation in the Ancient World. Abingdon-on-Thames : Routledge.|
|2016||Will Desmond (2016) 'Gulliver’s Travels and Philosopher-Kings' In: Jonathan Swift and Philosophy. Lanham, MD : Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group.|
|2016||Will Desmond (2016) 'Gulliver among the Cynics' In: Jonathan Swift and Philosophy. Lanham, MD : Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group.|
|2015||Will Desmond (2015) 'Eleos' In: Lexicon historiographicum Graecum et Latinum. Pisa : Edizioni della Normale.|
|2014||Will Desmond (2014) 'Diogenes' In: Simple Living in History: Pioneers of the Deep Future. Melbourne : Simplicity Institute.|
|2014||Will Desmond (2014) '“Antisthenes and Hegel' In: Antisthenica, Cynica, Socratica. Prague : Oikoumene.|
|2012||Desmond W. (2012) 'Low Philosophy' In: The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies. [DOI]|
|2008||Desmond W. (2008) 'Facts and events: Towards a Whiteheadian philosophy of history' In: Applied Process Thought. Berlin : Ontos/De Gruyter. [DOI]|
|2006||Desmond, Dr. William (2006) 'Towards a Whiteheadian Philosophy of History' In: M. Dibben and T. Kelly(Eds.). Proceedings for 2005 CAPT Conference, Chromatiques Whiteheadiennes. : Ontos.|
|2005||Desmond, Dr. William (2005) 'The Hybris of Socrates' In: Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society. : Irish Philosophical Society. [Full-Text]|
Peer Reviewed Journal
|2022||Desmond W. (2022) 'Herodotus, Hegel, and knowledge'. Intellectual History Review, 32 (3):453-471. [DOI] [Full-Text]|
|2015||Will Desmond (2015) 'The Five Paragraph Essay'. Arion - Journal of Humanities and the Classics, 23 (2 (Fall)):111-116. [Full-Text]|
|2011||WIll Desmond (2011) 'Ancient Cynicism and Modern Philosophy'. Filozofia, 66 :571-576. [Full-Text]|
|2011||Dr. William Desmond (2011) 'Hegel, Homer, Heroism'. Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society, 1 :1-16. [Full-Text]|
|2007||Desmond, William (2007) 'The Silence of Socrates: Dialectic and the Platonic Good'. MILLTOWN STUDIES, 58 :73-99. [Full-Text]|
|2006||Desmond, Dr. William (2006) 'Lessons of Fear: A Reading of Thucydides'. Classical Philology, 101 :359-379. [Full-Text]|
|2004||Desmond, William (2004) 'Punishments and the Conclusion of Herodotus' Histories'. Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies, 44 :19-40. [Full-Text]|
|2018||Desmond, W (2018) HOMER AND THE GOOD RULER IN ANTIQUITY AND BEYOND Between Gods and Mortals: The Piety of Homeric Kings [DOI]|
|2016||Ronny Desmet (2016) Intuition in Mathematics and Physics: A Whiteheadian Approach. [Book Review]|
|2013||Mary P. Nichols (2013) Socrates on Friendship and Community: Reflections on Plato’s Symposium, Phaedrus and Lysis. [Book Review]|
|2012||Desmond, W (2012) Aesopic Conversations: Popular Tradition, Cultural Dialogue, and the Invention of Greek Prose. CHICAGO: [Book Review]|
|2004||Eva Brann (2004) The Music of the Republic: Essays on Socrates' Conversations and Plato's Writings. [Book Review]|
|2013||M. van Ackeren (ed.) (2013) A Companion to Marcus Aurelius. CAMBRIDGE: [Book Review] [DOI]|
|2012||L. Kurke (2012) Aesopic Conversations: Popular Tradition, Cultural Dialogue, and the Invention of Greek Prose . [Book Review]|
|2007||Corrigan, K. & E. Glazov-Corrigan (2007) Plato’s Dialectic at Play: Argument, Structure, and Myth in the Symposium. [Book Review]|
|2006||D. Brendan Nagle (2006) The Household as the Foundation of Aristotle's Polis . [Book Review]|
|2005||Kennedy, J.B. (2005) Space, Time and Einstein: An Introduction. [Book Review]|
|2004||Jon Mikalson (2004) Herodotus and Religion in the Persian Wars. [Book Review]|
|2002||V. Hanson, J. Heath, and B. Thornton (2002) Bonfire of the Humanities . [Book Review]|
Video recording / TV
|2019||Will Desmond (2019) The philosophy of cynicism. Ted-Ed Animations: [Video recording / TV] [Link]|
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2023) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.
In addition to language modules (mainly Greek, some Latin), I regularly teach the following modules.
GC 151 Introduction to Greek and Roman Civilization, I (Gods and Heroes: From Myth to History)
GC 213 Greek Mythology: Homer, Ovid, and the Trojan War
GC 218 Greek Philosophy: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle
GC 350 Essay Project (Homer's Iliad)
GC 637 Herodotus and his World
GC 642 Philosophy and Attic Tragedy
GC 644 Philosophy and Kingship in Antiquity
I welcome the opportunity to develop new modules on a range of ancient themes and genres, particularly those that resonate with student preferences and colleagues' interdisciplinary ventures.