Curriculum Vitae

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Professor Fran O’Rourke, MA, Lic Phil, PhD, PhD, DLitt

Professor Emeritus

University College Dublin

Summary Academic Biography

Fran O’Rourke is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at University College Dublin. He received his MA (1st Class Honours) from University College Galway and studied at the universities of Vienna, Köln, Louvain (LicPhil), and Leuven, where he received his PhD summa cum laude. He has held Fulbright and Onassis fellowships, and in 2003 was Visiting Research Professor at Marquette Uni­versity. He is former director of the UCD International Summer School for Irish Studies. Primarily interested in the tradition of classical metaphysics, he has published widely on Plato, Aristotle, Neoplatonism, Aquinas, and Heidegger. His book Pseudo-Dionysius and the Metaphysics of Aquinas, described by Alasdair MacIntyre as “one of the two or three most important books on Aquinas published in the last fifty years”, was reprinted by University of Notre Dame Press in 2005. Allwisest Stagyrite: Joyce’s Quotations from Aristotle was published by the National Library of Ireland in 2005. A collection of his essays, Aristotelian Interpretations, was published in 2016 by Irish Academic Press. In 2017 he received a second PhD, in Anglo-Irish Literature, from University College Dublin for a dissertation, Joyce, Aristotle, and Aquinas, which has been published by University Press of Florida (2022). It was praised by Morris Beja for its “genuine brilliance”. One reviewer wrote “It is certainly the most important book on Joyce by an Irish scholar in recent times.” He is preparing a collection of essays and articles, Aquinas and the Platonist Tradition, to be published by Athens Academy.

He has lectured widely both on philosophical influences in James Joyce and on Joyce’s use of song, and has per­formed recitals of traditional Irish songs featured in Joyce’s work in many countries.

Personal Details
Surname: O’Rourke
First Name: Fran
Date of Birth: 13 June 1951

Academic Appointments

  • Professor Emeritus, University College Dublin | 2016 –
  • Associate Professor/Professor, University College Dublin | 2006 – 2016
  • Senior Lecturer, University College Dublin | 1997 – 2006
  • College Lecturer, University College Dublin | 1986 – 1997
  • Assistant Lecturer, University College Dublin | 1980 – 1986

Academic Qualifications

  • Galway | MA | 1974 | 1st Class Honours
  • Louvain | Licence| 1976 | Distinction
  • Leuven | PhD (Philosophy) | 1986 | Summa cum laude
  • NUI | PhD (Literature)| 2017 | (Unspecified)

Academic Awards/Distinctions

  • Visiting Research Professor, Marquette University
  • Fulbright Fellowship, Marquette University, Milwaukee; University of Boulder
  • Alexander S. Onassis Fellowship (Athens)
  • UCD President’s Research Fellowship
  • Two senior academic research grants from German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  • HEA exchange visits to Germany and Greece
  • British Council study grant
  • Four Greek Government scholarships to summer language courses
  • Four-week study award from Austrian Academy of Sciences (Royal Irish Academy exchange)
  • Postgraduate scholarships from Austrian, Belgian and German Governments

Sabbatical/Research Leave

  • University of Munich October 1984 – Sept 1985
  • University of Munich October 1991 – Sept 1992
  • University of Athens, British School at Athens October 2000–Sept 2002

Academic Activities

  • Invited lectures and conference papers in Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, USA, (total: 50+).
  • Lectures delivered in Greek, German, Italian, Spanish and French.
  • Directed multiple PhD and Masters theses.
  • External Examiner for M. Litt. theses, Department of Classics, Trinity College Dublin.
  • Reader for various publishers.

Extracurricular Activity

Senior Treasurer, UCD Philosophy Society, invited many renowned speakers, including Jung Chang and Robert Fisk.

Symposium Thomisticum

Initiated Symposium Thomisticum for international research into Thomas Aquinas: Paris (2016), Porto (2017), Athens (2018), Rome (2019), Cracow (2022), Barcelona (2023) Vienna (2024). 400+ participants. See

Languages (various levels of competence)

English, Irish, Modern Greek, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Ancient Greek, Latin.

Artistic Activity

  • Solo performance of Irish traditional songs from the writings of James Joyce with guitar accompaniment: Conservatorio Trieste, Athens, Istanbul, Warsaw, Porto, Corfu, Thessaloniki, Belgrade, Mexico, Rome, Santiago, Sofia, Uppsala, Tbilisi.
  • With guitarist John Feeley: recitals in Dublin (NCH), Shanghai, Philadelphia, Notre Dame, San Diego, Princeton, Washington, Áras an Uactharáin, NLI (visit of King of Sweden). CD JoyceSong, live recording of St Patrick’s Day concert at Princess Grace Library. CD Casadh na n-Amhrán/Turning the Song, 14 songs in Irish.
  • Sponsored repair of guitar once owned by James Joyce.
  • Frequent contributor to RTE’s “Sunday Miscellany”.

Membership (past/present)

  • Society for Promotion of Eriugenian Studies (SPES)
  • Société Internationale pour l’Etude de la Philosophie Médiévale
  • International Aquinas Society
  • The Aristotelian Society
  • The Mind Association
  • Irish Philosophical Society
  • Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy
  • International Plato Society
  • American Maritain Association
  • International Society for Neoplatonic Studies

Major position of responsibility

Director of the International Summer School in Irish Studies, University College Dublin, for two three-year terms (1986/7 – 1988/9 & 1996/7 – 1998/9). Responsibility for academic content and extensive programme of social activities. Attended by 500 students from 30 countries; 300 academic and cultural events, 6 weekend trips, and 12 day-long field excursions. Duties included marketing and promotion, planning, publicity, and management of school finances. Guests/visiting speakers included (Politicians): Garret Fitzgerald, John Hume, Ken Maginnis, Seamus Mallon, Mary O’Rourke, Eamon O’Cuiv, Paddy Harte, Glen Barr, Jim Nicholson, Eddie McGrady, Dennis Haughey, Lord Mayor Carmencita Hederman; (Writers/Poets): Seamus Heaney, John Montague, Richard Murphy, Paula Meehan, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, Frank McGuinness, Hugh Leonard, Maire Mhac an tSaoi, Eavan Boland, Liam O’Muirthile, Tim Pat Coogan; (Others): Cyril Cusack, Tomás MacCanna, Noel Pearson, Ben Barnes, Patrick Mason, Gabriel Fitzsimons, Anne Yeats, Derek Bell, Hilary Pyle. Students welcomed by President Mary McAleese to Áras an Úachtaráin on occasion of 50th anniversary.

Sample lectures in six languages  

  • April 2002: Aristoteles und die Metaphysik der Evolution, University of Munich.
  • May 2004: Ο Αριστοτέλης και η εξέλιξη των ειδών, University of Athens.
  • Αpril 2006: Aristóteles y la metafísica de la metáfora: Universidad de Barcelona.
  • May 2007: La métaphysique de la métaphore chez Aristote, University of Fribourg.
  • November 2007: Aristoteles und die Metaphysik der Metapher. University of Bonn.
  • October 2006: Aristotele e la metafisica della metafora, Università di Federico II, Naples.
  • March 2010: Η πολιτική ανθροπολογία του Αριστοτέλη, Academy of Athens.
  • June 2011: “Knowledge and Identity in Joyce”. Conference: Cognitive Joyce: The Neuronal Text (Paris) Invited keynote lecture.

Recent Invited Keynote Lectures

  • International Thomistic Congress, Rome, 23 September 2022: “Aquinas and Dionysius’ Celestial Hierarchy”.
  • University of Porto, 12 November 2022: “James Joyce Anti/Modernist”
  • University of Lisbon, 11 October 2024: “Aquinas Universal Doctor”
  • Classical Association of Ireland, Presidential Address, 2 March 2023: “The Blackbird and the Owl. Irish Poets and Greek Philosophers”

Current Collaborative Project:

  • Aristotle Beyond the Academy, with School of Classics, University of Durham. Funded by Leverhulme Trust. Assigned topic: “Aristotle in Irish Literature and Folklore”.