|This biographical article relies too much on references to primary sources. (January 2015)|
Mark Dooley in 2013, giving a lecture in France
12 January 1970 |
|Occupation||philosopher, writer, journalist, academic|
|Alma mater||University College Dublin|
|Subject||history of philosophy, classical philosophy and philosophy of language, nineteenth-century philosophy, philosophy of religion, conservatism, Roger Scruton, contemporary European thought, ethical philosophy and political philosophy.|
|Notable works||The Politics of Exodus: Kierkegaard's Ethics of Responsibility (2001), The Philosophy of Jacques Derrida (2006), Roger Scruton. The Philosopher on Dover Beach (2009), The Roger Scruton Reader (2009), Why be a Catholic? (2011), Moral Matters. A Philosophy of Homecoming (2015)|
|Notable awards||John Henry Newman Scholar in Theology
Mark Dooley is an Irish philosopher, writer, journalist, public speaker and academic. He is also a regular radio broadcaster and guest of TV shows, and has in addition served as a speech writer. He has led a journalistic and an academic career simultaneously. He is a specialist of continental philosophy, philosophy of religion and theology. After devoting his early research to issues of selfhood in G. W. F. Hegel's philosophy, he wrote a pioneering study of Søren Kierkegaard's ethical, religious and cultural insights which he sees as prefiguring Jacques Derrida's. Dooley then moved on to interrogating conceptions of God and conceptions of ethics. He edited a book about the theology of John D. Caputo and authored a book about the philosophy of Derrida. He then became the first specialist of Roger Scruton's philosophy. He was then called by the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland to write about the ways forward for the Irish Catholic Church in the wake of the abuse revelations. In Moral Matters. A Philosophy of Homecoming, his forthcoming book, he develops his own philosophy and outlines his intellectual journey for the first time. Meanwhile, he is a familiar voice on the Irish radio and a popular columnist.
- 1 Education
- 2 Academic career
- 3 Journalistic and broadcasting career
- 4 Books
- 5 Online writing
- 6 Personal
- 7 Bibliography
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Mark Dooley grew up in Dublin where he attended the Synge Street CBS.
He then pursued his studies at University College Dublin (UCD) where he earned a BA in History and Philosophy in 1991, an MA in Philosophy in 1993 (Major Thesis: 'Selfhood in G. W. F. Hegel and Søren Kierkegaard').
In the course of his studies, Dooley received a number of honours and awards. Between 1994 and 1996, he was a Fellow of the Faculty of Arts of UCD, and in 1995, he earned a Hong Kierkegaard Fellowship to do research at St Olaf College, Minnesota, USA.
He earned his Doctorate in Philosophy in 1997 from UCD. His Doctoral thesis on 'Søren Kierkegaard's Ethics of Responsibility' was subsequently published by Fordham University Press, New York.
University College Dublin
Dooley was a Lecturer in the philosophy department of UCD between 1992 and 2003.
Between 1999 and 2002, he was John Henry Newman Scholar in theology, a prestigious international competitive scholarship conferred upon him by the National University of Ireland. He was the first recipient of the award in theology and remains the only one in that discipline to this day.
National University of Ireland, Maynooth
Dooley was a Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Philosophy of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM) between 1998 and 1999, before returning as Lecturer between 2006 and 2011.
Lecturing there, Dooley received the testimonies of clerical students who confided in him about what they described as a culture of dissidence, promiscuity and alcoholism pervading the seminary and leading to the departure of many of the best of those students. Those grievances were serious enough to move Dooley to denounce them in a series of columns in the Irish Daily Mail in 2010. His reports were corroborated by an independent investigation conducted by Philip Nolan of the London Daily Mail entitled "An Unpriestly Education."
Dooley's reports were brought to the attention of the Archbishop of New York (subsequently to become Cardinal) Timothy Dolan who had earned a reputation for his effective handling of clerical abuse scandals in Milwaukee in 2002 and who was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to lead the Apostolic Visitation to the Irish Seminaries in 2011.
In the wake of that denunciation too, the NUIM terminated Dooley's lectureship.
He has since pursued his career as a public intellectual, writing as a columnist for the Sunday Independent and the Irish Daily Mail, and as a writer, publishing books about philosophy and religion.
Journalistic and broadcasting career
Since 2002, Dooley has contributed to The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Sunday Independent, The Irish Examiner, Prospect Magazine and The Dublin Magazine.
Between 2003 and 2006, he wrote a column on foreign affairs for the Sunday Independent. While those articles reveal his views about the European Union and the vote on its Constitution, the conflict in the Middle East, the war in Iraq, genocides perpetrated by some African leaders, and the role of the United Nations and of the United States in preventing massacres and rebuilding democracies, the most prominent issue standing out from Dooley's journalistic writings during those years is the revelation of the use of Ireland as a European base for radical Islamist activities. Demonstrating a thorough knowledge of the various currents within Islam gained in particular through the cultivation of an extensive network of sources across the various Muslim communities, Dooley reported on the headquartering in Ireland of several radical Islamic organisations (the Muslim Brotherhood, the European Council for Fatwa and Research and the International Union of Muslim Scholars). He became the spokesman and champion of the moderate and progressive Muslims in Ireland suffering from intimidation and seeking integration and peaceful coexistence. Contrary to the attempts at caricaturing his position on television (Late Late Show, mid-September 2005) and in correspondence to the Sunday Independent, Dooley has spoken in favour of immigration, saying that 'its net gain far outweighs its cost', on the condition that immigration policy makes citizenship 'dependent upon engagement at every level of society.'
In 2012, Dooley was invited to launch a blog on the Daily Mail which offers another selection of his journalistic writings. There, he discusses moral matters such as the protection of life, education, love and sexuality, the control of access to pornography, human v. animal rights, the moral and leadership crisis in the Irish Catholic Church, same-sex marriage, but also current affairs such as the intervention in Syria, the European Union and austerity policies.
Since 2006, Dooley has worked as a cultural and political columnist for the Irish Daily Mail. His popular weekly column 'Moral Matters', in which he sets out to reveal "the beauty and wonder of the ordinary things of life," appears on Wednesdays. He makes it available on his website on Fridays. He also makes available his Saturday Essays devoted to topical issues.
In The Politics of Exodus: Kierkegaard's Ethics of Responsibility (2001), Dooley offers a new interpretation of Kierkegaard as a precursor of the ethical and political insights of Jacques Derrida. He argues that the connections between the two run much deeper than previously suggested. Indeed, as he demonstrates, Kierkegaard is not a proponent of asocial individualism, but rather of the notion of an open quasi-community which has influenced Derrida's work. This important book has been hailed by Professor George Pattison, Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, Oxford University, in those terms: ‘Dooley's writing is a pleasure to read – vigorous, clear, concise, full of light and shade, and with many a well-turned phrase. Based on sound learning and long reflection, this is a passionate and personal book – as writing on Kierkegaard should be.’ Meanwhile, Professor Richard Kearney, Charles Seelig Professor of Philosophy, Boston College, sees Mark Dooley as 'a pioneering figure in contemporary philosophy of religion. His ability to combine critical continental insights with a sound grasp of the modern history of ideas makes this a rare book indeed.’
Postmodern ethics and Christianity
During the years he lectured at UCD, Dooley authored and edited a number of books about postmodern ethics and Christianity.
Questioning Ethics: Contemporary Debates in Philosophy (1999), co-edited with Richard Kearney, is a major overview of debates about contemporary European ethical thought bringing together the world's foremost philosophers. Including original essays by Paul Ricoeur, Alasdair MacIntyre, Jürgen Habermas, Jacques Derrida and Karl-Otto Apel, it considers the challenges posed by ethics and the transformation of philosophy by critical thinking. It discusses the most important contemporary ethical issues: history, memory, revisionism, responsibility and justice, democracy, multiculturalism and the future of politics.
Questioning God (2001) comprises fifteen essays based on a conference organised by the editors (Mark Dooley, Michael J. Scanlon and John D. Caputo) at Villanova University in 1999. It explores contemporary thinking about God with special attention to the phenomenon of forgiveness. Contributors include John Milbank, Richard Kearney, Jean Greisch, Francis Schüssler Fiorenza, Kevin Hart and Jacques Derrida.
A Passion for the Impossible: John D. Caputo in Focus (2002) is the first detailed study of the works of John D. Caputo. It features contributions from Jacques Derrida, W. Norris Clarke, William J. Richardson, Merold Westphal, Thomas R. Flynn, Richard Kearney & Edith Wyschogrod. In particular, it includes an interview of Derrida by Mark Dooley which contains Derrida's definitive statement on religion: ‘The Becoming Possible of the Impossible.' Henry Isaac Venema, Brandon University, wrote that this book 'sparkles with wit and intelligence and is of tremendous value... for those who are looking for an outstanding introduction to the key issues concerning contemporary philosophy and religion.’
In 2001, Dooley translated one of Jacques Derrida's books: On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness.
In 2007, he co-authored The Philosophy of Derrida which presents the core philosophical ideas of Jacques Derrida and an appraisal of their impact. In this book, Dooley makes the language of Derrida accessible and reveals the underlying cohesion of his diverse writings. Derrida then appears as less than an iconoclast for whom deconstruction implies destruction, but as a sensitive writer animated by a respect for institutions and a certain form of conservatism. This book which shows Derrida in a new light was reviewed by Professor Christina Howells, Oxford University as 'Splendidly clear, lucid and well-argued,' while Prof. John D. Caputo, Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion, Syracuse University regards it as 'One of the most reliable and readable presentations of Derrida available.’
His substantial correspondence with Derrida was included in the extensive archive of Derrida papers kept at the Institut mémoires de l'édition contemporaine near Caen, Lower Normandy, France.
In December 2014, he was invited to address an international conference organized by the Collège International de Philosophie and held at the Institut mémoires de l'édition contemporaine to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the death of Jacques Derrida.
While at Maynooth, Dooley turned his core philosophical enquiries (about the self, God, re-enchantment) in the direction of the English philosopher Roger Scruton on whose thought he soon became recognised as the most eminent authority. In 2009, he published the first two books about the various aspects of Scruton's thought called Roger Scruton: The Philosopher on Dover Beach and The Roger Scruton Reader. They were conceived as companion books, and are widely acclaimed as providing the introduction to Roger Scruton's philosophy.
Roger Scruton. The Philosopher of Dover Beach offers the first synoptic analysis of Scruton’s philosophical thought. In this book, Dooley brings out the core ideas contained in 40 books written by Scruton over four decades, and provides the philosophical background to understand their genesis and their articulation. The composition of the book is pedagogic in that each chapter builds on the concepts laid in the previous one. The different chapters of this book then explore the genealogy of Scruton’s thought and the various themes running through his works: personhood, sex and the sacred; aesthetics; Scruton’s conservatism and its economic, legal and environmental implications; and the defence of the nation state in the face of liberal internationalism. Stav Sherez, of the Catholic Herald, wrote that ‘Dooley's book aims to show that Scruton's ideas are proving more and more true to our current times. This is an important and challenging re-appraisal of an important philosopher.’ Meanwhile, the Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society reviewed it in these terms: ‘Beautifully written, clear, restrained, Roger Scruton: The Philosopher on Dover Beach is a masterpiece of concise exposition, a model of clarification and, above all, a pleasure to read. For anyone who wants a comprehensive overview of Scruton's work, Dooley's book is indispensable. There is no other work of this kind on the market. Short of reading all of Scruton's writings yourself, there can be no better way to gain a clear understanding of this most significant of contemporary philosophers.’ It was also quoted extensively in an article on the philosophy of Roger Scruton published by The Quadrant on 30 May 2014.
The Roger Scruton Reader, its companion volume, is a collection of texts by Scruton which Dooley selected, edited and introduced. Those texts are grouped into the following categories: conservatism, the nation, sex and the sacred, culture, and one Dooley calls 'homecomings' and which contains texts on conserving nature, the philosophy of wine, and hunting. The volume also includes a previously unpublished article by Scruton about architecture entitled "Classicism Now."
On 11–13 April 2014, Mark Dooley was invited as plenary speaker at an international conference entitled "Thinking the Sacred with Roger Scruton" at McGill University in Montreal. The opening lecture he delivered which defined Roger Scruton's understanding of the sacred across his fifty books will feature as the Introduction of the conference proceedings to be published by Bloomsbury in 2015.
Crisis in the Irish Catholic Church
After exposing the sources of the moral crisis in Ireland's national seminary, Dooley received overwhelming support from the public and from the Church, and was asked by priests from various countries to write a book in which he would articulate the way forward for the Irish Catholic Church : Why be a Catholic? (2011).
In this book which contains auto-biographical elements, Dooley retraces a personal journey of reappropriation of his Catholic faith. He explains the importance of respectful dignified celebration of the Mass and advocates vigorously for the role of liturgy and for the restoration of the sacred in the moral regeneration of the Irish Catholic Church. A devout Catholic, it is yet without a trace of complacency that he exposes the moral flaws he witnessed as pervading seminarian and clerical culture in Ireland. This book has been commended for its honesty. Eoghan Harris reviewed it in the Sunday Independent in those terms: "Why Be a Catholic? courageously confronts what must be done if Catholicism is to survive as a religion of redemption. And while I think of myself as an atheist [...] I found Dooley's book free of special pleading. Unlike some Catholic apologists, Dooley does not perfunctorily acknowledge the suffering of children before rushing on to defend the Church: he dwells on the horror of what has happened. But when he finally turns to the reform of the Roman Catholic Church, he makes sense. A priest, he tells us, is not merely a social worker with a collar. He has to be first and foremost a holy man." The book was also welcomed by the Catholic press: ‘This is a timely book that seeks to revitalise a faith that it all too apt to flag in this time of crisis. Dooley faces up to the clerical sex-abuse scandals, but shows us a church that still keeps the flame of faith alive... [his] heartfelt plea deserves to be heard.' (The Tablet) 'Mark Dooley is well qualified to get to the heart of the matters that trouble so many today: why bother with being a Catholic?’ (The Irish Catholic)
Dooley is regularly invited to give lectures on religious matters and on the situation of the Irish Catholic Church. As part of the preparation of the 50th Eucharistic Congress held in Dublin in June 2012, he was invited to give the third of a series of lectures on the Eucharist entitled "One Bread, One Body" (Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, Dublin, 17 May 2012), and another lecture on "Beauty and the Sacred" (St Kevin's Church, Dublin, 14 June 2012).
On 22 November 2013, he was invited as guest of honour at the University of Caen Lower Normandy, France, where he was asked to give the keynote lecture about the current situation of the Irish Catholic Church. His lecture was entitled "Reclaiming the Irish Church."
He is a founding member of St Kevin's Literary Society, an association which was created late 2013 under the auspices of St. Kevin's Church, Harrington Street, Dublin, to provide a forum for serious cultural reflection from a Catholic perspective.
Moral Matters. A Philosophy of Homecoming
Dooley has a forthcoming book due to be published by Bloomsbury early 2015. Entitled Moral Matters. A Philosophy of Homecoming, it is loosely based on his popular weekly column in the Irish Daily Mail. It is a philosophical work about home and rootedness, memory and identity, loss and love. Analyzing the alienation experienced by the self when disengaging from the social sphere surrounding it, Dooley shows how the self can become re-rooted to time and place and restored to full humanity and happiness whilst moving in the virtual, hyperconnected world.
Music and wine
In September 2014, at the request of readers of his ‘Moral Matters’ column, Dooley started writing a new weekly column on his website entitled ‘Tastes & Tunes’. Like ‘Moral Matters’, ‘Tastes & Tunes’ is posted on his website on Fridays. This column encapsulates all the elements of his sacred worldview – sacred in a broad sense, in that it addresses all sensibilities by showing paths on which all human beings can ‘catch glimpses of eternity’ in their daily lives and ‘transcend the sensory in the direction of infinity’. The paths he explores are music and wine, and, reflecting the changing seasons in his choices of a new wine and a new piece of music each week, he offers a poetic meditation on the double sense of rootedness they provide: ‘Both root us to time and place, to the soil and the soul. Both force us to focus on the higher life’. In addition to articulating his sacred worldview in a new genre, this new column gives unprecedented insights into Dooley’s musical universe and offers him the opportunity for the first time to write about music, exploring the intimations of transcendence experienced and immortalized by various composers ranging from classical to contemporary. In synergy with the exploration of various terroirs opened up by sampling ‘tinctures’ of wine, this column offers a uniquely multisensory, aesthetic and spiritual experience.
Dooley lives in Co. Dublin with his wife and their three children.
- Mark Dooley and Richard Kearney, Questioning Ethics. Debates in Contemporary Philosophy, London: Routledge, 1999.
- Mark Dooley, Michael J. Scanlon and John D. Caputo, Questioning God, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0253214744
- Mark Dooley, The Politics of Exodus: Kierkegaard’s Ethics of Responsibility, Fordham University Press, 2001.
- Mark Dooley, (ed.), A Passion for the Impossible. John D. Caputo in Focus, Albany: SUNY Press, 2003. ISBN 978-0791456880
- Mark Dooley and Liam Kavanagh, The Philosophy of Derrida, London: Acumen Press, 2006; Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007.
- Mark Dooley, Roger Scruton. The Philosopher on Dover Beach, London & New York: Continuum, 2009.
- Mark Dooley, (ed.), The Roger Scruton Reader, London & New York: Continuum, 2009.
- Mark Dooley, Why be a Catholic?, London & New York: Continuum, 2011.
- Mark Dooley, Moral Matters. A Philosophy of Homecoming, London: Bloomsbury, 2015.
Selected articles, book chapters and encyclopaedia entries
- "Kierkegaard on the Margins of Philosophy" Philosophy and Social Criticism, Vol. 21 no 2 (London: SAGE, March 1995) pp. 85–107.
- "Murder on Moriah: A Paradoxical Representation" Philosophy Today 39 (Spring, 1995) pp. 67–83.
- "Playing on the Pyramid: Resituating the ‘Self’ in Kierkegaard and Derrida" Imprimatur, Vol 1, Nos.2/3 (Spring, 1996) pp. 151–162.
- "Risking Responsibility: A Politics of the émigré" in George Pattison and Steven Shakespeare Eds. Kierkegaard: The Self and Society (London: Macmillan, 1998) pp. 139–155.
- "The Politics of Exodus: Hospitality in Derrida, Kierkegaard, and Levinas" in Robert L. Perkins Ed. The International Kierkegaard Commentary: Works of Love (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1999) pp. 167–192.
- "Private Irony vs. Social Hope: Derrida, Rorty, and the Political" Cultural Values Volume 3, Number 3 (Oxford: Blackwell, July 1999) pp. 263–290.
- "The Politics of Statehood vs. A Politics of Exodus: Heidegger, Kierkegaard, and Levinas" in Gordon Marino Ed. Søren Kierkegaard Newsletter, No. 40 (August 2000) pp. 11–17.
- "Hermeneutics" in Neil J. Smelser and Paul B. Baltes Eds. The International Encyclopaedia of the Social and Behavioural Sciences (Oxford: Pergamon, 2001) pp. 6665–6672.
- "A Civic Religion of Social Hope: A Reply to Simon Critchley" in Philosophy and Social Criticism Vol. 27 no 5 (London: SAGE, 2001) pp. 35–58.
- "The Catastrophe of Memory: Derrida, Milbank, and the (Im)possibility of Forgiveness" in Questioning God (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001) pp. 129–149.
- "A Post-Christian Ireland?" in Enda McDonagh Ed. The Irish Review (June 2001).
- "Crossing the Class Lines" in INTAMS Review Vol. 7/2 (Brussels, 2001) pp. 145–156.
- "Saints and Postmodernism" in A Passion for The Impossible (State University of New York Press, 2003) pp. xi–xxiii.
- "On Circumventing the Quasi-Transcendental" in A Passion for the Impossible (State University of New York Press, 2003) pp. 201–228.
- "Making the Impossible Possible: An Interview with Jacques Derrida" in A Passion for The Impossible (State University of New York Press, 2003) pp. 21–33.
- "Continental Thought in Ireland" in Brian Lalor Ed. The Encyclopedia of Ireland (Dublin: Gill & MacMillan, 2003) pp. 233–34.
- "Richard Kearney" in Brian Lalor Ed. The Encyclopaedia of Ireland (Dublin: Gill & MacMillan, 2003) p. 578.
- "A Master of the Middle Way" in Religion and the Arts Vol. 7-3 (Boston: Brill & Leiden, 2003) pp. 329–339.
- "Nihilism or Salvation? The Challenges of Global Technology for the Humanities" in Michael Breen, Eamonn Conway, and Barry McMillan Eds. Technology and Transcendence (Dublin: The Columba Press, 2003) pp. 103–113.
- "Kierkegaard: Between Totality and Infinity" in Elsebet Jegstrup Ed. The New Kierkegaard (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004) pp. 199–213.
- "Paul Ricoeur" in John R. Shook Ed. Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers (Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 2005).
- "J. D. Caputo" in John Protevi Ed. Encyclopaedia of Contemporary Continental Philosophy (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005) pp. 82–83.
- "Jean-Luc Marion’s Ambition of Transcendence" in Eoin Cassidy and Ian Leask Eds. Givenness and God (New York: Fordham University Press, 2005) pp. 190–200.
- "Truth, Ethics, and Narrative Imagination" in Peter Gratton and John Manoussakis Eds. Traversing the Imaginary (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2007) pp. 165–179.
- "From Radical Hermeneutics to the Weakness of God: John D. Caputo in Debate with Mark Dooley" in Marko Zlomislić and Neal DeRoo Eds. Cross and Khôra: Deconstruction and Christianity in the Work of John D. Caputo (Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick Publications, 2010), pp. 327–347. Article originally published under the same title in Philosophy Today July 2007.
- "Kierkegaard: Re-Enchanting the Lebenswelt" in Jeffrey Hanson Ed. Kierkegaard as Phenomenologist (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2010), pp. 169–187.
- "The Plagues of Desecration: Roger Scruton and Richard Rorty on Religion" in Fran O’Rourke Ed. Human Destinies: Essays in Honour of Gerald Hanratty (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 2013), pp. 312–336.
- Mark Dooley, The Politics of Exodus: Kierkegaard’s Ethics of Responsibility, New York: Fordham University Press, 2001.
- Mark Dooley, "Still time to learn from turmoil in France," Sunday Independent, 13 November 2005
- Mark Dooley, "Love conquers all ... even the signs of age", Irish Daily Mail, 15 January 2014
- Jacques Derrida, On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness, trans. Mark Dooley and Michael Hughes, London & New York: Routledge, 2001.
- On the subject, see also Mark Dooley, Roger Scruton. The Philosopher on Dover Beach, 81.
- Eoghan Harris, book review, Sunday Independent, 24 July 2011.
- Mark Dooley, "Message to Irish Bishops: Learn from Cardinal O'Brien or resign" http://dooleyblog.dailymail.co.uk/page/4/
- Mark Dooley, "The Church is at the Heart of Real France", Irish Daily Mail, 27 November 2013.
- All quotes in this paragraph are taken from Mark Dooley, "Fine wine and music impart meaning to the madness", Irish Daily Mail, 1 October 2014.