David Lyons

Professor of Philosophy, Professor of Law
Ph.D., Harvard University

Interests: Philosophy of Law, Moral and Political Philosophy

David Lyons came to Boston University in 1995 from Cornell University, where he had been a member of the Philosophy Department since 1964 and of the law faculty since 1979. He is currently Professor of Law as well as Professor of Philosophy at Boston University. Dr. Lyons is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and three Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has directed NEH summer humanities seminars for lawyers, judges, and law teachers. He is also recipient of the Clark Distinguished Teaching Award at Cornell University.

His books include:

Rights, Welfare and Mill’s Moral Theory (1994)

Moral Aspects of Legal Theory: Essays on Law, Justice, and Political Responsibility (1993) — also published in a Spanish edition

Ethics and the Rule of Law (1984) — also published in Spanish, Portuguese, and Polish editions

In the Interest of the Governed: a Study in Bentham’s Philosophy of Utility and Law (1973, 1991)

Forms and Limits of Utilitarianism (1965)

He has edited two anthologies:

Mill’s Utilitarianism: Critical Essays (1998) and Rights (1979).

He has also published many articles in moral, legal, and political philosophy; the more recent ones include:

“The Legal Entrenchment of Illegality,” in The Legacy of H.L.A. Hart, ed. M. Kramer, et al. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), pp. 29-43.

“From Politics to Philosophy,” in Legal Philosophy – Five Questions, ed. M.E.J. Nielsen (New York: Automatic Press/VIP, 2007), pp. 153-169.

“Rights and Recognition,” Social Theory and Practice 32 (2006) 1-15.

“Corrective Justice, Equal Opportunity, and the Legacy of Slavery and Jim Crow,” Boston University Law Review 84 (2004) 1375-1404.

“Unfinished Business: Racial Junctures in US History and Their Legacy,” in Justice in Time: Responding to Historical Injustice, ed. L.H. Meyer (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2004), pp. 271-298.

“The Moral Opacity of Utilitarianism,” in Morality, Rules, and Consequences: A Critical Reader, ed. B. Hooker, E. Mason, and D.E. Miller (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000), pp.105-120.

“Original Intent and Legal Interpretation,” Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy 24 (1999): 1-26.

“Moral Judgment, Historical Reality, and Civil Disobedience,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 27 (1998): 31-49.

Dr. Lyons’ courses in moral and political philosophy, and in the philosophy of law, are normally cross-listed with the School of Law.