David B. Lyons

David B. Lyons

Professor of Law Emeritus

Law Alumni Scholar
Professor of Philosophy, Boston University College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

BA, Brooklyn College
MA and PhD in Philosophy, Harvard University
Postdoctoral Work, University of Oxford


Biography

Professor David Lyons joined Boston University School of Law in 1995, teaching 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.

Publications

Scroll left to right to view all publications

  • David B. Lyons, The Color Line: A Short Introduction (2020)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Wealth Concentration, Racial Subordination, and Political Corruption, in Wealth: NOMOS LVIII (Jack Knight & Melissa Schwartzberg,2017)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Reparations for Slavery and Jim Crow, Its Assumptions and Implications No. 15-43 Boston University School of Law, Public Law Research Paper (2015)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Book Review: The Color of Our Shame: Race and Justice in Our Time, by Christopher J. Lebron 43 Political Theory (2015)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, The Utilitarian Justification of the State, in The Norton Introduction to Philosophy (Gideon Rosen, Alex Byrne, Joshua Cohen & Seana Valentine Shiffrin,2015)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Professed Values, Constructive Interpretation, and Political History: Comments on Sotirios Barber, The Fallacies of States' Rights 94 Boston University Law Review (2014)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Conscientious Refusal, in The Cambridge Rawls Lexicon (Jon Mandle & David A. Reidy,2014)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Fairness, Principle of, in The Cambridge Rawls Lexicon (Jon Mandle & David A. Reidy,2014)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Civil Disobedience, in The Cambridge Rawls Lexicon (Jon Mandle & David A. Reidy,2014)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Natural Duty of Justice, in The Cambridge Rawls Lexicon (Jon Mandle & David A. Reidy,2014)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Confronting Injustice: Moral History and Political Theory (2013)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Reason, Morality, and Constitutional Compliance 93 Boston University Law Review (2013)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, The Social Dimension of Rights 44 Journal of Social Philosophy (2013)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, The Tenuous Rule of Law, in Civic Values, Civic Practices (Donald W. Harward,2013)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Constitutional Principles 92 Boston University Law Review (2012)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Violence and Political Incivility 63 Mercer Law Review (2012)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Courage and Political Resistance 90 Boston University Law Review (2010)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Moral Limits of Dworkin's Theory of Law and Legal Interpretation 90 Boston University Law Review (2010)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, The Legal Entrenchment of Illegality, in The Legacy of H.L.A. Hart: Legal, Political, and Moral Philosophy (Matthew H. Kramer, Claire Grant, Ben Colburn & Antony Hatzistavrou,2008)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, From Politics to Philosophy, in Legal Philosophy - 5 Questions (Morton Ebbe Juul Nielson,2007)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Racial Injustices in U.S. History and Their Legacy, in Redress for Historical Injustices in the United States: On Reparations for Slavery, Jim Crow and Their Legacies (Michael T. Marin & Marilyn Yaquinto,2007)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Review of Rosen's Classical Utilitarianism from Hume to Mill 18 Utilitas (2006) (book review)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Rights and Recognition 32 Social Theory and Practice (2006)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Legal and Moral Rights, in IVR Encyclopaedia of Jurisprudence, Legal Theory, and Philosophy of Law (2005)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Corrective Justice, Equal Opportunity, and the Legacy of Slavery and Jim Crow 84 Boston University Law Review (2004)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Reparations and Equal Opportunity 24 Boston College Third World Law Journal (2004)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Unfinished Business: Racial Junctures in US History and Their Legacy, in Justice in Time: Responding to Historical Injustice (Lukas H. Meyer,2003)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Osad Moralny a Teoria Prawa (Moral Judgment and Legal Theory) 1 Ius et Lex (2002)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, The Moral Opacity of Utilitarianism, in Morality, Rules, and Consequences: A Critical Reader (Brad Hooker, Elinor Mason & Dale E. Miller,2000)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Open Texture and the Possibility of Legal Interpretation 18 Law and Philosophy (1999)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Original Intent and Legal Interpretation 24 Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy (1999)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Hart, H.L.A., in The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (Robert Audi,1999)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Moral Judgment, Historical Reality, and Civil Disobedience 27 Philosophy & Public Affairs (1998)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Mill's Utilitarianism: Critical Essays (1997)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Utilitarianism, in The Blackwell Encyclopedic Dictionary of Business Ethics (Patricia H. Werhane & R. Edward Freeman,1997)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Political Liberalism, John Rawls. Columbia University Press, 1993, xxxiv + 401 pages. 12 Economics & Philosophy (1996) (book review)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Utilitarianism, in Philosophy of Education: An Encyclopedia (Joseph James Chambliss,1996)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Civil Disobedience, in Philosophy of Education: An Encyclopedia (Joseph James Chambliss,1996)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Political Responsibility and Resistance to Civil Government 26 Philosophical Exchange (1996)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, The Concept of Law (Second Edition) by H. L. A. Hart Law Quarterly Review (1995)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Review of Philosophical Anarchism and Political Disobedience by Chaim Gans 103 The Philosophical Review (1994) (book review)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Radical Resisters 21 Cornell Law Forum (1994)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, The Balance of Injustice and the War for Independence 45 Monthly Review (1994)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Rights, Welfare, and Mill's Moral Theory (1994)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Normal Law, Nearly Just Societies, and Other Myths of Legal Theory 55 Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie (1993)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Rights Revisited, in The Bill of RIghts: Bicentennial Reflections (Yeager Hudson & Creighton Peden,1993)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Moral Aspects of Legal Theory: Essays on Law, Justice, and Political Responsibility (1993)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Utilitarianism, in Encyclopedia of Ethics (Lawrence C. Becker,1992)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Bentham, Utilitarianism, and Distribution 4 Utilitas (1992) (book review)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, In the Interest of the Governed: A Study in Bentham's Philosophy of Utility and Law, Rev. Ed. (1991)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Rethinking "Original Intent" 17 Cornell Law Forum (1990)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Basic Rights and Constitutional Interpretation 16 Social Theory and Practice (1990)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Review of Red, White, And Blue: A Critical Analysis of Constitutional Law by Mark Tushnet 34 New York Law School Law Review (1989) (book review)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Review of Bentham by Ross Harrison 85 The Journal of Philosophy (1988) (book review)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, A Preface to Constitutional Theory 15 Northern Kentucky Law Review (1988)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Ambiguity, Incoherence, and Evaluation in Constitutional Theory Philosophical Exchange (1988)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Reconstructing Legal Theory 16 Philosophy & Public Affairs (1987) (book review)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Soper's Moral Conception of Law 98 Ethics (1987) (book review)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Substance, Process and Outcome in Constitutional Theory 72 Cornell Law Review (1987)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Constitutional Interpretation and Original Meaning 4 Social Philosophy & Policy (1986)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, The Normativity of Law, in Issues in Contemporary Legal Philosophy: The Influence of H. L. A. Hart (Ruth Gavison,1986)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, The Connection Between Law and Morality: Comments on Dworkin 36 Journal of Legal Education (1986)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Derivability, Defensibility, and the Justification of Judicial Decisions 68 The Monist (1985)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Review of The Rejection of Consequentialism: A Philosophical Investigation of the Considerations Underlying Rival Moral Conceptions by Samuel Scheffler 95 Ethics (1985) (book review)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Formal Justice and Judicial Precedent 38 Vanderbilt Law Review (1985)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Justification and Easy Cases 25 Supplementary Volume - Archiv für Rechts - und Sozialphilosophie (1985)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Utilitarianism, in The Social Science Encyclopedia (Adam Kuper & Jessica Kuper,1985)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Formal Justice, Moral Commitment, and Judicial Precedent 81 The Journal of Philosophy (1984)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Justification and Judicial Responsibility 72 California Law Review (1984)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Review of Essays in Jurisprudence and Philosophy by H.L.A. Hart Times Literary Supplement (1984) (book review)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Reviewed Work: H.L.A. Hart by Neil MacCormick 93 The Philosophical Review (1984) (book review)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Review of The Limits of Obligation by James S. Fishkin 94 Ethics (1984) (book review)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Ethics and the Rule of Law (1984)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Founders and Foundations of Legal Positivism 82 Michigan Law Review (1984) (book review)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, The Role of the Attorney General's Chambers in Hong Kong 13 Hong Kong Law Journal (1983)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Moral Aspects of Legal Theory 7 Midwest Studies in Philosophy (1982)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Review of The Authority of Law: Essays on Law and Morality by Joseph Raz 91 The Philosophical Review (1982) (book review)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Utility and Rights, in Ethics, Economics, and the Law (J. Ronald Pennock & John W. Chapman,1982)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Benevolence and Justice in Mill, in Limits of Utilitarianism (Harlan B. Miller & William H. Williams,1982)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Legal Formalism and Instrumentalism -- A Pathological Study 66 Cornell Law Review (1981)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Need, Necessity, and Political Obligation 67 Virginia Law Review (1981)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Utility as a Possible Ground of Rights 14 Noûs (1980)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Liberty and Harm to Others 5 Canadian Journal of Philosophy Supplementary Volume (1979)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Rights (1979)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Rights, Utility, and Racial Discrimination, in Philosophical Law: Authority, Equality, Adjudication, Privacy (Richard Bronaugh,1978)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Mill's Theory of Justice, in Values and Morals: Essays in Honor of William Frankena, Charles Stevenson, and Richard Brandt (A.I. Goldman & J. Kim,1978)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Principles, Positivism, and Legal Theory 87 Yale Law Journal (1977) (book review)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, The New Indian Claims and Original Rights to Land 4 Social Theory and Practice (1977)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Human Rights and the General Welfare 6 Philosophy & Public Affairs (1977)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Mill's Theory of Morality 10 Noûs (1976)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Rights Against Humanity 85 The Philosophical Review (1976) (book review)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Ethical Relativism and the Problem of Incoherence 86 Ethics (1976)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, On Justifying Enforced Requirements: A Reply to Baier 9 The Journal of Value Inquiry (1975)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, The Nature and Soundness of the Contract and Coherence Arguments, in Reading Rawls: Critical Studies on Rawls' A Theory of Justice (Norman Daniels,1975)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, The Nature of the Contract Argument 59 Cornell Law Review (1974)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, On Formal Justice 58 Cornell Law Review (1973)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, In the Interest of the Governed: A Study in Bentham's Philosophy of Utility and Law (1973)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Rawls Versus Utilitarianism 69 Journal of Philosophy (1972)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Logic and Coercion in Bentham's Theory of Law 57 Cornell Law Review (1972)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Was Bentham a Utilitarian?, in Reason and Reality (Godfrey Vesey,1972)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, On Reading Bentham 47 Philosophy (1972) (book review)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, The Correlativity of Rights and Duties 4 Noûs (1970)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, The Internal Morality of Law 71 Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (1970)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, On Sanctioning Excuses 66 Journal of Philosophy (1969)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Rights, Claimants, and Beneficiaries 6 American Philosophical Quarterly (1969)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Review of Distributive Justice: A Constructive Critique of the Utilitarian Theory of Distribution by Nicholas Rescher 78 The Philosophical Review (1969) (book review)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Forms and Limits of Utilitarianism (1965)
    Scholarly Commons
  • David B. Lyons, Baier's Test for Practical Rules Re-Examined 14 Philosophical Studies (1963)
    Scholarly Commons

Courses

Directed Study: CAS PH 491

Var credits

Individual or small group tutorial instruction and directed research on selected topics.

FALL 2022: CAS PH 491 C1 , Sep 6th to Dec 12th 2022
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD Var Griswold
FALL 2022: CAS PH 491 C2 , Sep 6th to Dec 12th 2022
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD Var Staff
FALL 2022: CAS PH 491 G1 , Sep 6th to Dec 12th 2022
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD Var David B. Lyons
FALL 2022: CAS PH 491 H1 , Sep 6th to Dec 12th 2022
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD Var Hopp
FALL 2022: CAS PH 491 K1 , Sep 6th to Dec 12th 2022
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD Var Kanamori
FALL 2022: CAS PH 491 P1 , Sep 6th to Dec 12th 2022
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD Var Powell
FALL 2022: CAS PH 491 S1 , Sep 6th to Dec 12th 2022
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD Var Sreedhar