Since coming to Boston University in 1995, Professor David Lyons has taught upper-level courses focusing on the intersection of philosophy and the law. His eight books include studies of utilitarianism and moral rights, the nature of law and legal interpretation, the work of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, and the problem of confronting grave injustices in American law and political theory.
Before obtaining his BA in philosophy and American studies, Professor Lyons studied engineering and worked for several years as a machinist and draftsman. After earning advanced degrees in philosophy, he taught at Cornell University from 1964 to 1995, where he was a Susan Linn Sage Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law, served as chairman of the philosophy department, helped develop the Program on Ethics and Public Life and received the Clark Distinguished Teaching Award.
Professor Lyons has received major research fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). He has directed NEH summer seminars for lawyers, judges, and law professors and has taught in California's continuing judicial education program.
A political activist since the 1940s, Professor Lyons has helped to organize community-wide forums on behalf of the BU Faculty for a Humane Foreign Policy and the Coalition for Social Justice.