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Professor Brian O'Connor


Brian O'Connor

Full Professor
School of Philosophy
01 716 8141
University College Dublin, School of Philosophy, Newman Building Belfield Dublin 4


Brian O'Connor works primarily in the area of social philosophy. His writings critically explore the role of philosophy – especially the ninetieth century tradition and its contemporary successors – in defending modern social institutions. Among the themes examined by this approach are: autonomy and moral freedom, work and idleness. His publications also include studies of Frankfurt School Critical Theory – Adorno in particular – the internal problems of German Idealism, and psychoanalytic social criticism. Visiting Fellow, Wolfson College, Cambridge, Easter Term 2019 EDUCATION B.A. Philosophy & English Literature (U.C.D.), M.A. Philosophy (U.C.D.), D.Phil. Literae Humaniores – Philosophy (Oxford) PUBLICATIONS Books - Monographs ▪ Idleness: A Philosophical Essay (Princeton University Press, 2018) ▪ Adorno (The Routledge Philosophers) (Routledge, 2013) ▪ Adorno's Negative Dialectic: Philosophy and the Possibility of Critical Rationality (MIT Press, 2004) Books - Edited ▪ Transitional Subjects: Critical Theory and Object Relations (Columbia University Press, 2019), co-editor Amy Allen ▪ German Idealism: An Anthology and Guide (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), co-editor Georg Mohr ▪ The Adorno Reader (Oxford / Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2000) Selected Articles / Chapters ▪ 'Marcuse and the Problem of Repression', in Routledge Companion to Critical Theory (Oxford / New York: Routledge, 2019), eds. Peter Gordon, Espen Hammer, and Axel Honneth (pp. 311-322) ▪ 'Interests without History: Some Difficulties for a Negative Aristotelianism', European Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 25.3 (2017) (pp. 854–860) ▪ 'Kant in the dialectics of enlightenment', in Horkheimer/Adorno, Dialektik der Aufklärung: Klassiker Auslegen (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2017), ed. Gunnar Hinrichs (pp. 115-129) ▪ 'Freud on the Death Drive as Existence without Tension', The Psychoanalytic Review, Vol. 103 (2016) (pp. 423-443) ▪ 'Hegel's Ethics', in Hegel: Key Concepts (London / New York: Routledge, 2015), ed. Michael Baur (pp. 59-75) ▪ 'The Neo-Hegelian Theory of Freedom and the Limits of Emancipation', European Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 23, No. 2 (2015) (pp. 171-194) (first published 'early view' webpage of journal: 4 April, 2012) ▪ 'Play, Idleness and the Problem of Necessity in Schiller and Marcuse', British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Vol. 22, No. 6 (2014) (pp. 1095-1117) ▪ 'The Phenomenology of Everyday Expertise and the Emancipatory Interest', Philosophy and Social Criticism, Vol. 39, No. 9 (2013) (pp. 915-927) ▪ 'Freedom within Nature: Adorno on the Idea of Reason's Autonomy', in The Impact of Idealism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), Vol. II, eds. Nicholas Boyle, Liz Disley and John Walker (pp. 208-231) ▪ 'Idleness, Usefulness and Self-Constitution', Critical Horizons: A Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory, Vol. 14, No. 2 (2013) (pp. 181-199) ▪ 'Self-Determination and Responsibility in Schelling's Freiheitsschrift', Studies in Social and Political Thought, Vol. 21 (2013) (pp. 3-18) ▪ 'Adorno's Reconception of the Dialectic', in The Blackwell Companion to Hegel (Oxford / Malden, Mass: Blackwells, 2011), eds. Stephen Houlgate and Michael Baur (pp. 537-555) ▪ 'Hegel's Phenomenology and the Question of Semantic Pragmatism', The Owl of Minerva (Journal of the Hegel Society of America), Vol. 38, Nos. 1-2 (2007) (pp. 129-145) ▪ 'A Missing Step in Kant's Refutation of Idealism', Idealistic Studies, Vol. 36, No. 3 (2006) (pp. 83-95) ▪ 'Adorno and the Problem of Givenness', Revue Internationale de Philosophie, Vol. 63 (2004) (pp. 85-99)


  • BA
    University College Dublin
  • DPhil
    Oxford University UK
  • HDip (Psy)
    University College Dublin
  • MA
    University College Dublin