Dr William Desmond

Ancient Classics

Lecturer

Arts Building
4
(01) 708 3693

Biography

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.

Research Interests

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.


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).

Books

  Year Publication
2020 Hegel's Antiquity.
Will Desmond (2020) Hegel's Antiquity. Oxford, UK: Oxford University. [Details]
2011 Philosopher-Kings of Antiquity.
Will Desmond (2011) Philosopher-Kings of Antiquity. London: Bloomsbury. [Details]
2008 Cynics.
Will Desmond (2008) Cynics. Berkeley: Acumen Press & University of California Press. [Details]
2006 The Greek Praise of Poverty: Origins of Ancient Cynicism.
Will Desmond (2006) The Greek Praise of Poverty: Origins of Ancient Cynicism. South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. [Details]

Edited Books

  Year Publication
2008 Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought, Vol. 1: Thematic Entries
Will Desmond, Michel Weber (Ed.). (2008) Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought, Vol. 1: Thematic Entries Frankfurt: Walter De Gruyter. [Details]
2008 Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought, Vol. 2: Thematic and Bibliographical Entries
Will Desmond, Michel Weber (Ed.). (2008) Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought, Vol. 2: Thematic and Bibliographical Entries Frankfurt: Walter de Gruyter. [Details]
2008 Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society
Will Desmond (Ed.). (2008) Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society Maynooth, Ireland: Irish Philosophical Society. [Details]

Book Chapters

  Year Publication
2020 'Diogenes of Sinope'
Will Desmond (2020) 'Diogenes of Sinope' In: David Wolfsdorf (eds). Early Greek Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Details]
2019 'Hercules among the Germans: From Winckelmann to Hölderlin'
Will Desmond (2019) 'Hercules among the Germans: From Winckelmann to Hölderlin' In: A. Blanshard and E. Stafford (eds). The Modern Hercules. Leiden: Brill. [Details]
2018 'Diogenes and the Meaning of Life'
Will Desmond (2018) 'Diogenes and the Meaning of Life' In: S. Leach, J. Targalia (eds). The Meaning of Life and the Great Philosophers. London: Routledge. [Details]
2018 'Between gods and mortals: The Piety of Homeric Kings'
Will Desmond (2018) 'Between gods and mortals: The Piety of Homeric Kings' In: J. Klooster, B. van den Berg (eds). Homer and the Good Ruler in Antiquity and Beyond. Leiden: Brill. [Details]
2016 '“Aristotle on peace: Biological, political, ethical, and metaphysical dimensions”'
Will Desmond (2016) '“Aristotle on peace: Biological, political, ethical, and metaphysical dimensions”' In: E. Moloney, M. Williams (eds). Peace and Reconciliation in the Ancient World. Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge. [Details]
2016 'Gulliver’s Travels and Philosopher-Kings'
Will Desmond (2016) 'Gulliver’s Travels and Philosopher-Kings' In: Janelle Pötzsch (eds). Jonathan Swift and Philosophy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. [Details]
2016 'Gulliver among the Cynics'
Will Desmond (2016) 'Gulliver among the Cynics' In: Janelle Pötzsch (eds). Jonathan Swift and Philosophy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. [Details]
2015 'Eleos'
Will Desmond (2015) 'Eleos' In: C. Ampolo, U. Fantasia, L. Porciani (eds). Lexicon historiographicum Graecum et Latinum. Pisa: Edizioni della Normale. [Details]
2014 'Diogenes'
Will Desmond (2014) 'Diogenes' In: S. Alexander, A. McLeod (eds). Simple Living in History: Pioneers of the Deep Future. Melbourne: Simplicity Institute. [Details]
2014 '“Antisthenes and Hegel'
Will Desmond (2014) '“Antisthenes and Hegel' In: V. Suvak (eds). Antisthenica, Cynica, Socratica. Prague: Oikoumene. [Details]
2012 'Low Philosophy'
Desmond W. (2012) 'Low Philosophy' In: The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies. [DOI] [Details]
2008 'Facts and events: Towards a Whiteheadian philosophy of history'
Desmond W. (2008) 'Facts and events: Towards a Whiteheadian philosophy of history' In: Mark Dibben, Thomas Kelly (eds). Applied Process Thought. Berlin: Ontos/De Gruyter. [DOI] [Details]
2006 'Towards a Whiteheadian Philosophy of History'
Desmond, Dr. William (2006) 'Towards a Whiteheadian Philosophy of History' In: Proceedings for 2005 CAPT Conference, Chromatiques Whiteheadiennes. Ontos. [Details]
2005 'The Hybris of Socrates'
Desmond, Dr. William (2005) 'The Hybris of Socrates' In: Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society. Irish Philosophical Society. [IR Link] [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

  Year Publication
2020 'Herodotus, Hegel, and Knowledge'
Will Desmond (2020) 'Herodotus, Hegel, and Knowledge'. Intellectual History Review, [Details]
2015 'The Five Paragraph Essay'
Will Desmond (2015) 'The Five Paragraph Essay'. Arion - Journal of Humanities and the Classics, 23 (2 (Fall)):111-116 [Details]
2011 'Ancient Cynicism and Modern Philosophy'
WIll Desmond (2011) 'Ancient Cynicism and Modern Philosophy'. Filozofia, 66 :571-576 [IR Link] [Details]
2011 'Hegel, Homer, Heroism'
Dr. William Desmond (2011) 'Hegel, Homer, Heroism'. YEARBOOK OF THE IRISH PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, 1 :1-16 [IR Link] [Details]
2007 'The Silence of Socrates: Dialectic and the Platonic Good'
Desmond, William (2007) 'The Silence of Socrates: Dialectic and the Platonic Good'. MILLTOWN STUDIES, 58 :73-99 [IR Link] [Details]
2006 'Lessons of Fear: A Reading of Thucydides'
Desmond, Dr. William (2006) 'Lessons of Fear: A Reading of Thucydides'. CLASSICAL PHILOLOGY, 101 :359-379 [IR Link] [Details]
2004 'Punishments and the Conclusion of Herodotus' Histories'
Desmond, William (2004) 'Punishments and the Conclusion of Herodotus' Histories'. GREEK, ROMAN AND BYZANTINE STUDIES, 44 :19-40 [IR Link] [Details]

Other Journals

  Year Publication
2009 'Wisdom of the Ages'
Desmond, William (2009) 'Wisdom of the Ages' In Character: A Journal of Everyday Virtues, 5 :4-13. [IR Link] [Details]

Conference Contributions

  Year Publication
2020 Colloquium with 4 speakers on Euripides' play and its legacy.
Will Desmond (2020) Colloquium with 4 speakers on Euripides' play and its legacy. [Conferences hosted], Colloquium: Euripides’ Bacchae through the ages, Arts and Humanities Institute, Maynooth University , 21-APR-20 [Details]
2019 Seminar Series, Classics Department.
Will Desmond (2019) Seminar Series, Classics Department. [Invited Lecture], “Plato gone Wilde: Aesthetic Platonism from Winckelmann to Pater”, Trinity College Dublin , 22-NOV-19 [Details]
2018 Ancient Knowledges, Modern Knowledges.
Will Desmond (2018) Ancient Knowledges, Modern Knowledges. [Oral Presentation], “Hegel and Herodotus: Knowledge and History, Sheffield University , 22-JUN-18 - 23-JUN-18 [Details]
2018 Ancient Classics Seminar Series.
Will Desmond (2018) Ancient Classics Seminar Series. [Invited Lecture], “‘The biggest and best history that I know (believe me!)’: Superlative numbers in Herodotus, Maynooth University , 09-NOV-18 [Details]
2017 (Anti-) Classicism & (Anti-)Idealism.
Will Desmond (2017) (Anti-) Classicism & (Anti-)Idealism. [Oral Presentation], “Between the Classical and Romantic: Hegel on lyric poetry, University College Cork , 09-JUN-17 - 10-JUN-17 [Details]
2017 Philosophy in its Beginnings: On the Conceptualisation, Criticism, and Justification of Philosophy in Antiquity.
Will Desmond (2017) Philosophy in its Beginnings: On the Conceptualisation, Criticism, and Justification of Philosophy in Antiquity. [Oral Presentation], Plato’s mythology of reason, Humboldt University , 21-JUL-17 - 23-JUL-17 [Details]
2017 Hercules Project Conference.
Will Desmond (2017) Hercules Project Conference. [Oral Presentation], “Hercules among the Germans”, Leeds University , 09-JUL-17 - 11-JUL-17 [Details]
2015 “Homer and the Good Ruler,” Ghent University.
Will Desmond (2015) “Homer and the Good Ruler,” Ghent University. [Keynote Address], The Piety of the Homeric Kings”, Ghent University , 20-MAY-15 - 22-MAY-15 [Details]
2015 “Ethics and Society in the Ancient World,” Royal Irish Academy.
Will Desmond (2015) “Ethics and Society in the Ancient World,” Royal Irish Academy. [Invited Lecture], “Greek Aesthetic Democracy: Modern myths of the Greek polis, Royal Irish Academy, Dublin, Ireland , 13-NOV-15 - 14-NOV-15 [Details]
2014 Celtic Classics Conference, Edinburgh University.
Will Desmond (2014) Celtic Classics Conference, Edinburgh University. [Oral Presentation], Aristotle on Natural Peace and the Statesman’s Imperative, Edinburgh University , 25-JUN-14 - 28-JUN-14 [Details]
2014 Invited Speakers Series, Philosophy Department, Maynooth University.
Will Desmond (2014) Invited Speakers Series, Philosophy Department, Maynooth University. [Invited Lecture], Eternal Objects and Religious Intelligence: Science and God in Plato and Whitehead, Philosophy Department, Maynooth University , 11-NOV-14 [Details]
2014 Peace in the Ancient World, Maynooth University.
Will Desmond (2014) Peace in the Ancient World, Maynooth University. [Oral Presentation], Aristotle on Peace, Maynooth University, Ancient Classics / Edward M. Kennedy Institute of Peace Studies , 06-JUN-14 [Details]
2013 Maynooth Classical Seminar.
Will Desmond (2013) Maynooth Classical Seminar. [Invited Lecture], Anacreon among the Germans: Appropriations of Ancient Lyric in the Time of Hegel, Maynooth University , 13-DEC-13 [Details]
2012 “Philosophical Thinking and the Religious Context,” Dublin City University.
Will Desmond (2012) “Philosophical Thinking and the Religious Context,” Dublin City University. [Invited Oral Presentation], “Reason and the Holy: Plato and Whitehead”, 2012 , 17-MAY-12 - 19-MAY-12 [Details]
2012 Mythos, Logos, Sophos, Prometheus Trust, Warminster.
Will Desmond (2012) Mythos, Logos, Sophos, Prometheus Trust, Warminster. [Oral Presentation], Plato’s mythology of reason, Prometheus Trust, Ivy House, Warminster , 29-JUN-12 - 02-JUL-11 [Details]
2011 Maynooth Patristics Symposium.
Will Desmond (2011) Maynooth Patristics Symposium. [Oral Presentation], “Marcus Aurelius: Philosopher of Love?”, St Patrick's College, Maynooth , 26-FEB-11 [Details]
2010 Research Colloquium, School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Maynooth University.
Will Desmond (2010) Research Colloquium, School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Maynooth University. [Oral Presentation], “Orwell’s Philosopher Kings”, Maynooth University , 31-MAR-10 [Details]
2009 Travels and Encounters: Journeys to the Known and Unknown in Greco-Roman Antiquity,” RIA Greek and Latin Studies Colloquium.
Will Desmond (2009) Travels and Encounters: Journeys to the Known and Unknown in Greco-Roman Antiquity,” RIA Greek and Latin Studies Colloquium. [Oral Presentation], “The Secret Travels of Socrates the Athenian”, Royal Irish Academy [Details]
2007 “Nietzsche, Power and Politics, Friedrich Nietzsche Society, Leiden University.
Will Desmond (2007) “Nietzsche, Power and Politics, Friedrich Nietzsche Society, Leiden University. [Oral Presentation], The Power of Names: Nietzsche and Ancient Thought, Leiden University, Netherlands , 23-MAR-07 - 25-MAR-07 [Details]
2007 “The Open Society,” Irish Philosophical Society.
Will Desmond (2007) “The Open Society,” Irish Philosophical Society. [Oral Presentation], An Open Society? The case of Classical Athens, UCC, Ireland , 02-MAR-07 [Details]
2005 “Science and Process Philosophy.
Will Desmond (2005) “Science and Process Philosophy. [Oral Presentation], Facts and Events: Towards a Whiteheadian Philosophy of History, Maynooth University , 11-MAY-05 [Details]

Book Review

  Year Publication
2016 Intuition in Mathematics and Physics: A Whiteheadian Approach.
Ronny Desmet (2016) Intuition in Mathematics and Physics: A Whiteheadian Approach. Book Review [Details]
2013 Socrates on Friendship and Community: Reflections on Plato’s Symposium, Phaedrus and Lysis.
Mary P. Nichols (2013) Socrates on Friendship and Community: Reflections on Plato’s Symposium, Phaedrus and Lysis. Book Review [Details]
2012 Aesopic Conversations: Popular Tradition, Cultural Dialogue, and the Invention of Greek Prose.
Desmond, W (2012) Aesopic Conversations: Popular Tradition, Cultural Dialogue, and the Invention of Greek Prose. CHICAGO: Book Review [Details]
2004 The Music of the Republic: Essays on Socrates' Conversations and Plato's Writings.
Eva Brann (2004) The Music of the Republic: Essays on Socrates' Conversations and Plato's Writings. Book Review [Details]
2013 A Companion to Marcus Aurelius.
M. van Ackeren (ed.) (2013) A Companion to Marcus Aurelius. CAMBRIDGE: Book Review [DOI] [Details]
2012 Aesopic Conversations: Popular Tradition, Cultural Dialogue, and the Invention of Greek Prose .
L. Kurke (2012) Aesopic Conversations: Popular Tradition, Cultural Dialogue, and the Invention of Greek Prose . Book Review [Details]
2007 Plato’s Dialectic at Play: Argument, Structure, and Myth in the Symposium.
Corrigan, K. & E. Glazov-Corrigan (2007) Plato’s Dialectic at Play: Argument, Structure, and Myth in the Symposium. Book Review [Details]
2006 The Household as the Foundation of Aristotle's Polis .
D. Brendan Nagle (2006) The Household as the Foundation of Aristotle's Polis . Book Review [Details]
2005 Space, Time and Einstein: An Introduction.
Kennedy, J.B. (2005) Space, Time and Einstein: An Introduction. Book Review [Details]
2004 Herodotus and Religion in the Persian Wars.
Jon Mikalson (2004) Herodotus and Religion in the Persian Wars. Book Review [Details]
2002 Bonfire of the Humanities .
V. Hanson, J. Heath, and B. Thornton (2002) Bonfire of the Humanities . Book Review [Details]

Video recording / TV

  Year Publication
2019 The philosophy of cynicism.
Will Desmond (2019) The philosophy of cynicism. Ted-Ed Animations: Video recording / TV [Details]

Honours and Awards

  Year Title Awarding Body
2008 NUI Centennial Prize in Academic Publishing National University of Ireland
2000 Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities Whiting Foundation
1998 Cooper Prize for Best Essay in Greek Philosophy Yale University, Classics & Philosophy Departments
1997 Cooper Prize for Best Essay in Greek Philosophy Yale University, Classics & Philosophy Departments
1996 Cooper Prize for Best Essay in Greek Philosophy Yale University, Classics & Philosophy Departments
1995 Richard J. Franke Fellowship in the Humanities Yale University
1995 Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
1995 Whelan Medal Loyola University, MD
1995 Phi Beta Kappa

Teaching Interests

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.