Denis Sullivan

Ph.D., Philosophy, Fordham University, 1972M.A., Philosophy, Fordham University, 1968B.A., Philosophy, St. John’s University, 1967

Areas of Interest 

Philosophy of mind
Philosophy of language
Philosophy of religion

Denis Sullivan has been a member of the Philosophy Department since 1969.  During that time, Dr. Sullivan has also served for one semester as a visiting professor at Leuven University in Belgium and for four semesters as the director of the St. John’s foreign studies program in Budapest Hungary.  He has been a member of the C. S. Peirce Society, the American Philosophical Association, and the American Catholic Philosophical Association.

After doing some initial work on the philosophy of C. S. Peirce, Dr. Sullivan went on to use the resources provided by the analytic tradition to deal with issues especially in ethics and the philosophy of mind.  In ethics, his main interest has been in trying to argue that, contrary to what is assumed among many contemporary philosophers, affirmative morals propositions can be true in the same robust sense in which scientific propositions can be true.  In the philosophy of mind, his interest has been in exploring the relationship between scientific accounts of human behavior and the traditional belief that human beings are free.

“Moral Truth, Moral Disagreement and the Agent-Relative Conception of Moral Value,” in  Reading Rasmussen and Den Uyl, Critical Essays on Norms of Liberty  (New York, Lexington Press, 2008), 117–32.

“Anscombe on Freedom, Animals, and the Ability to Do Otherwise,”  Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, 2008, Vol. 81, 231–40.

“The Doctrine of Double Effect and the Domains of Moral Responsibility,”  The Thomist, Vol. 64, 2000, 423–48.

“Davidson on Mind and Substance,” The Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, Vol. LXI, 1987, 172–80.

“On The Possibility of an Empirical Science of Ethics,” The Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, Vol. LIV, 1982, 168–79.

“Vagueness and the Verifiability of Ordinary Faith,” Religious Studies, Cambridge University Press, 1978, Vol. 14, 459–67.

“Peirce and the Possibility of Metaphysics,” The New Scholasticism, 1977, Vol. LI,  No. 1, 38–61.