Lawlor received his doctorate from SUNY Stonybrook in 1988 and taught at The University of Memphis from 1989-2008, where he held the position of Faudree-Hardin University Professor of Philosophy from 2004 to 2008 before joining the faculty at Penn State. He is known for his writings on Phenomenology and on the figures Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Henri Bergson, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Edmund Husserl, and Jean Hippolyte.
- Early Twentieth-Century Continental Philosophy (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011).
- This is not Sufficient: An Essay on Animality and Human Nature in Derrida (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007).
- The Implications of Immanence: Towards a New Concept of Life (The Bronx: Fordham University Press, 2006).
- The Challenge of Bergsonism: Phenomenology, Ontology, Ethics (London: Continuum Press, 2003).
- Thinking through French Philosophy: The Being of the Question (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003).
- Derrida and Husserl: The Basic Problem of Phenomenology (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002).
- Imagination and Chance: The Difference between the Thought of Ricoeur and Derrida (Albany: The SUNY Press, 1992).
- "Vol. 4, Phenomenology: Responses and Developments (1930-1960)" in The Acumen History of Continental Philosophy, Ed. Alan Schrift (Durham: Acumen Publishing, 2010).
- Co-editor (with Ted Toadvine) of The Merleau-Ponty Reader (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2007).
- Co-editor (with Zeynep Direk) of Derrida: Critical Assessments in three volumes (London: Routledge, 2002).
- Co-editor (with Fred Evans) of Chiasms: Merleau-Ponty’s Notion of the Flesh (Albany: The SUNY Press, 2000).
- Editor and primary translator (with Bettina Bergo) of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Husserl at the Limits of Phenomenology (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2002).
- Jacques Derrida’s La voix et le phénomène as Voice and Phenomenon (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2011).
- Co-translator (with Heath Massey) of Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s course notes, 1955-56: L’institution, La passivité, as Institution and Passivity (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2010).
- Co-translator (with Ted Toadvine) of Renaud Barbaras’s The Being of the Phenomenon: Merleau-Ponty’s Ontology (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004).
- Co-translator (with Amit Sen) of Jean Hyppolite's "Logic and Existence" (Albany: The SUNY Press, 1997).
- “Phenomenology and Metaphysics, and Chaos: On the Fragility of the Event in Deleuze,” in The Cambridge Companion to Deleuze, eds. Daniel Smith and Henry Somers-Hall (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 103-125.
- "Neither Violent nor Tranquil,” for special issue of the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology on Foucault, eds. Keith Crome and Patrick O’Connor, 43.1 (January 2012): 6-21.
- “Deconstruction”, for the Routledge Companion to Phenomenology, eds. Sebastian Luft and Soren Overgaard (London: Routledge, 2012): pp. 508-517.
- “A Note on the Relation between Étienne Souriau’s L’instauration philosophique and Deleuze and Guattari’s What is Philosophy?,” in Deleuze Studies 5.3 (2011): 400-406.
- “Further Questions: The Way out of the Present Philosophical Situation (Via Foucault),” in the Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy, 19.1 (2011): 91-104.
- “The Postmodern Self: An Essay on Anachronism and Powerlessness,” for The Oxford Handbook to the Self, Ed. Shaun Gallagher (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011): pp. 696-714.
- “Philosophy and Reality: Reflection on Cora Diamond’s Works,” in Philosophical Investigations, 34.4 (October 2011): 353-366.
- “Intuition and Duration: An Introduction to Bergson’s Introduction to Metaphysics,” in Phenomenology and Bergsonism, Ed. Michael Kelly (London: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2010): pp. 25-41.
- “Auto-affection and Becoming (Part I): Who are We?” in Environmental Philosophy, 6.1 (2009): 1-20.
- “Following the Rats: An Essay on the Concept of Becoming-Animal in Deleuze and Guattari,” in Sub-Stance, “The Political Animal,” Issue 117, Volume 37, Number 3, 2008: 169-187.
- “Waiting and Lateness: The Context, Implications, and Basic Argumentation of Derrida’s ‘Awaiting (at) the Arrival’ (S’attendre à l’arrivée) in Aporias,” in Research in Phenomenology, 38.3 (2008): 329-403.
- “Animals have no Hand: An Essay on Animality in Derrida,” The New Centennial Review, 7.2 (memorial issue on Derrida, September/October 2007): 43-70.
- “Life: an Essay on the Overcoming of Metaphysics,” in Edinburgh University Press Companion to Twentieth Century Philosophies, Ed., Constantine Boundas (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007): 517-530.
- “Phenomenology: the Way out of Subjectivism,” in Edinburgh University Press Companion to Twentieth Century Philosophies, Ed., Constantine Boundas (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007): 389-401.
- “'For the Creation Waits with Eager Longing for the Revelation': From the Deconstruction of Metaphysics to the Deconstruction of Christianity in Derrida,” Epoche, 10.2 (Spring 2006): 359-377.
- “Bergson Revisited,” in Symposium, 10.1, (Spring 2006, special issue on Deleuze, edited by Constantine Boundas): 35-52.
- "Jacques Derrida” in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (on-line), 2006.
- “Henri Bergson” (co-authored with Valentine Moulard) in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (on-line), 2004.