Research in the Philosophy Department in Maynooth in particularly strong in medieval and Renaissance philosophy, on the one hand, and in contemporary Continental philosophy, on the other—phenomenology in particular. Students studying philosophy in Maynooth will find highly qualified supervision on thinkers such as Peter of Ireland, Peter Lombard, Thomas Aquinas, Richard FitzRalph, Nicholas of Cusa, Ficino, Machiavelli, Spinoza, Hegel, Brentano, Dilthey, Husserl, Scheler, Heidegger, Stein, Weil, Levinas, and Foucault. They will find direction in areas of study like palaeography and editorial work, medieval friendship theory, Irish thought, human dignity, toleration, the theory of tradition, the emergence of the concept of rights, and the origins of modern thought.
Maynooth has connections with several learned societies, such as the Société internationale pour l’étude de la philosophie médiévale (SIEPM), the FitzRalph Society, the Renaissance Society of America, the Max-Scheler-Gesellschaft, the Martin-Heidegger-Gesellschaft, and the Edith Stein Circle—not to forget the Irish Philosophical Society!
The following list is meant to provide an overview of our staff’s main research interests. Please refer to each colleague’s profile for further information and more complete bibliographies.
Prof. William Desmond, who has a long-standing association with Maynooth and holds an honorary doctorate from the University, is the inaugural holder of the Thomas A. F. Kelly Visiting Chair in Philosophy. A native of Cork, he is professor emeritus at the Higher Institute of Philosophy at Louvain and the David R. Cook Chair in Philosophy at Villanova University. In a lifelong engagement with Hegel, Desmond has developed an original philosophy of the ‘between’ as an alternative to Hegel’s tendency to absorb difference into identity, and to reduce God to a ‘counterfeit double’ of genuine transcendence. Desmond has worked out the implications of his ‘metaxological’ approach in more than a dozen books that have made him one of the leading voices in contemporary philosophy. One of his current projects is a philosophical dialogue with the Irish poet Seán Ó Ríordáin.
Sample Publication: The William Desmond Reader, ed. by Christopher Ben Simpson (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2012).
Prof. Michael W. Dunne graduated with a BA in English and Philosophy, followed by an MA with a specialization in metaphysics (both from UCD). He then went to Italy, where he specialized in computational linguistics and graduated from the Gregorian University, Rome, with a licentiate in metaphysics and philosophy of science. He defended his doctoral thesis at the Gregorian University on Peter of Ireland, an Irish medieval philosopher who taught at the University of Naples in the thirteenth century. Thereafter, Prof. Dunne made the Irish philosophers of the medieval and early modern periods his particular research interest, becoming an internationally recognised scholar in the field. In addition, he has published on philosophy of religion, politics, toleration and rights, friendship theory, and many other philosophical questions.
Sample Publication: Richard FitzRalph: His Life, Times and Thought, ed. by Michael Dunne and Simon Nolan, O.Carm. (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2013).
Dr Amos Edelheit obtained his Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas at Tel Aviv University. He came to Maynooth after spending some time as a postdoctoral fellow at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. His research is focused on Renaissance philosophy, that is, the philosophy which was produced in the Latin West roughly between the fourteenth and the seventeenth centuries. His research includes the study of the reception and rediscovery of the ancient Greek and Roman philosophical schools in the early modern era, on the one hand, and of the new theories in natural philosophy, metaphysics, moral psychology, ethics, and politics on the other. ‘How did we become moderns?’ is one of the questions he tries to address by identifying the two dominant discursive forms in that period: Renaissance scholasticism(s) and Renaissance humanism(s). Dr Edelheit is also interested in a critical assessment of the anti-scholastic rhetoric used by some canonical figures such as Descartes, Hobbes, and Spinoza; in Machiavelli’s new concept of politics; in Spinoza’s metaphysics and political theory; and in the empiricist tradition from Bacon to Mill and in their concepts of nature and science and their influence on Brentano and the early phenomenologists.
Sample Publication: Scholastic Florence: Moral Psychology in the Quattrocento, Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History 230 (Leiden: Brill 2014).
Dr Susan Gottlöber studied philosophy as a major in Dresden and completed her degree with a Master’s thesis on Simone Weil. She then went on to doctoral studies in Dresden, under the supervision of the Chair of Philosophy of Religions and Religious Studies. Her thesis was devoted to Nicholas of Cusa and the question of toleration. She has been a lecturer at Maynooth since 2009.
Her research interests are philosophical anthropology (with emphasis on Max Scheler, Nicolaus of Cusa, and Simone Weil), as well as the philosophy of toleration. She is currently working on Scheler’s political philosophy and the impact of Cusa’s concept of individuation on his anthropology.
Sample Publication: Das Prinzip der Relationalität. Grundzüge cusanischen Denkens als Parameter für Toleranz und interreligiösen Diskurs (Dresden: Thelem, 2013).
Dr Mette Lebech did her undergraduate work at the University of Copenhagen. Her MA and Ph.D. are from Belgium—from the Université catholique de Louvain and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, respectively. She works mainly on the philosophy of Edith Stein, spanning phenomenology, philosophical anthropology, and metaphysics. She also attempts to apply Stein’s version of the phenomenological method to gain insight into various aspects of reality, such as values and human dignity. Her interest in phenomenology extends to all those phenomenologists who regard phenomenology as a method to found the sciences, and also to the compatibility of this method with other traditions in philosophy. Supporting interests include the history of human dignity and of women philosophers.
Sample Publication: On the Problem of Human Dignity: A Hermeneutical and Phenomenological Investigation (Würzburg: Königshausen und Neumann, 2009).
Dr Cyril McDonnell studied at Maynooth for his Bachelor’s, Master’s, and doctoral degrees. He has two main areas of research: (1.) the development of both ‘hermeneutic’ and ‘scientific’ strands in the unfolding of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century phenomenology (especially, Brentano, Dilthey, Husserl, Heidegger, and Levinas); and (2) ethics, in particular the topics of: (i) law and morality; (ii) the concept and justification of punishment; (iii) the history and concept of rights.
Sample Publication: Heidegger’s Way through Phenomenology to the Question of the Meaning of Being (Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2015).
Prof. Philipp Rosemann arrived at Maynooth in January, 2018, after teaching for twenty years at the University of Dallas. He holds degrees from the Queen’s University of Belfast (MA) and from the Université catholique de Louvain (licentiate and doctorate). Prof. Rosemann works at the intersection of philosophy and theology, as well as medieval and contemporary thought. He is well known for his publications on the medieval theologian Peter Lombard. In his most recent book, he explores the nature of tradition: rather being just a principle of permanence and ‘conservatism’, tradition requires disruption and creative challenges in order to flourish.
Prof. Rosemann is also the co-editor of Dallas Medieval Texts and Translations.
Sample Publication: Charred Root of Meaning: Continuity, Transgression, and the Other in Christian Tradition (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2018).