Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

You are here About Us > Our People > Emeritus Fellows

Professor William Lyons

Personal Information
College Photo Name William Lyons
College Address Philosophy,
5th Floor
Arts Building
Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland
Main Department Philosophy
College Title Fellow Emeritus
William Lyons was formerly head of the Department of Philosophy (1985-1995) and Professor of Moral Philosophy (1985-2004) in the School of Mental and Moral Science, Trinity College Dublin. He is now an Emeritus Fellow of Trinity College Dublin and a Member of the Royal Irish Academy.
Selected Publications

Gilbert Ryle (Harvester-Humanities, 1980)

Emotion ( Cambridge University Press, 1980)

The Disappearance of Introspection (MIT, Bradford Books, 1986)

Approaches to Intentionality (Oxford University Press, Clarendon Press, 1995)

Matters of the Mind (Edinburgh University Press, 2001)

Socrates and His Clouds (Oberon Books - Modern Plays, 2013)

Wittgenstein - The Crooked Roads (Methuen Drama - Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015)

All The Hours (Arcadia - Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, 2022)  

(As editor) Modern Philosophy of Mind (Everyman, 1995)

Articles (most recent)

”The Brain is not a Digital Computer”, The Turing Conversation, #7, a blog of The Turing Centre, the ETH, Zurich

”Philosophy and the Meaning of Life”, Think, vol. 21, Issue 60, Spring 2022.

‘Researching “The Mind” ’, Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia, vol. IX, no. 3, December 2018.

“Gilbert Ryle”, (updated entry), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online, edit. Tim Crane, forthcoming April 2017.

“Philosophy of Mind In Our Time”, in Modern Believing, Vol.57, Issue 2, 2016.

'Gilbert Ryle and Logical Behaviourism' in Philosophy of Mind: The Key Thinkers, edit. Andrew Bailey, Continuum, 2013.

'Showing, Not Saying - Filming a Philosophical Genius' in Wittgenstein at the Movies, ed. Béla Szabados and Christina Stojanova, Maryland, Lexington Books - Rowman and Littlefield, 2011.

'The Great Apostasy? William James' 1904 Denial of the Existence of Consciousness', Journal of Consciousness Studies, vol. 17, nos. 9-10, 2010.

'Emotion' in Philosophie der gefüle, ed. Sabine A. Döring, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 2009, Teil 1 'Emotionen und ihre Objekte', 83-109; (reprinted from Emotion, Cambridge University Press, 1980).

'Emotion Theories and Concepts (Philosophical Perspectives)', in the Oxford Companion to Emotion and the Affective Sciences, ed. David Sander and Klaus R. Scherer, Oxford University Press, 2009.

'Conscience: An essay in moral psychology', Philosophy Vol. 84, no. 4, 2009.

'Nothing but the Brain', in David Ohreen (ed.) Introduction to Philosophy: Knowledge, God, Mind and Morality, Toronto, Nelson, 2009; (reprinted from William Lyons Matters of the Mind, Edinburgh University Press, 2001).

(With D. Berman) 'The First Modern Battle for Consciousness: J.B. Watson's Rejection of Mental Images', Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vol. 14, no. 11, 2007.


Professor Lyons also has an interest in creating 'Theatre of Thought' drama. His play about Wittgenstein, 'Wittgenstein - The Crooked Roads of Genius' won the open-entry and blind-reviewed START Chapbooks play competition in Ireland in 2009. The Premiere and subsequent performances of 'Wittgenstein - The Crooked Roads of Genius', directed by Nicholas Blackburn, took place at the Riverside Studios, London, 18th April - 8th May 2011. The play-text was published by Methuen Drama - Bloomsbury, London, in 2015. A short film of one scene from the play, "The Examination", was an official selection at the Swedish International Film Festival in July 2016. There is also an avant-garde full film script entitled “The Crooked Roads” which is "under consideration" by a European production company.

His play about Heidegger and Arendt, 'The Fir Tree and the Ivy', won the open-entry and blind-reviewed Eamon Keane Full Length Play award in Ireland in 2006. L'Edera e l'Abete, the Italian translation of William Lyons' play 'The Fir Tree and the Ivy', won the open-entry and blind-reviewed Premio Colline di Torino (Testo Teatrale) in Italy in 2015. The translation is by Dr Alessio Frenda a graduate in Linguistics at TCD. Aided by a grant from The Raymond Williams Foundation in England in 2015, there is now a German translation of 'The Fir Tree and the Ivy', entitled Die Tanne und das Efeu, made by Dr Manfred Welteke, a graduate in philosophy at TCD.

After being selected for work-shopping at the Directors’ Lab at the Lincoln Center Theatre in New York in August 2012, his play 'Socrates and his Clouds' was produced by the Greek-Cypriot Meddlers Theatre Company and directed by Melina Theocharidou. The Premiere and subsequent performances of took place at the Jermyn Street Theatre in central London, from 4th - 22nd June 2013. The play-text was published by Oberon Books - Modern Plays, London, in 2013. There was a production by DRAMSOC on the campus of University College Dublin in November 2015, and a “staged reading” by The Classics Club of Washington University and St Louis University in Missouri in November 2017.

A short version of his play 'All The Hours', entitled 'A Begining and an end', about religious faith and especially "a religious vocation", was shortlisted for the open-entry and blind-reviewed Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama Drama Writing in London in 2017. The full-length version of the play was premiered at La Mama Theatre in Melbourne, 21st September to 2nd October 2022, directed by Adam Cass. The play text was published by Australian Scholarly Publishing in Melbourne in August-September 2022.