Maurice O'Connor Drury

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Maurice O'Connor Drury (known as 'Con Drury' to his friends) (3 July 1907 – 25 December 1976) was a psychiatrist and follower of Ludwig Wittgenstein born in Exeter, Devon, England, of Irish parents.[1]

Education[edit]

He was educated at Exeter Grammar School. He then studied philosophy at Trinity College, Cambridge. His tutors included G. E. Moore, C. D. Broad and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Drury became Wittgenstein's friend for many years to come, until the latter's death in 1951.[2]

After graduation Drury entered the Cambridge theological college Westcott House, leaving after one year. He then enrolled in the medical school in Trinity College Dublin, graduating in 1939.[3]

Medical career[edit]

Drury joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, serving in Egypt and taking part in the Normandy landings. After his demobilisation, Drury worked as a House Physician in a hospital in Taunton.[4] In 1947 he was appointed Resident Psychiatrist at St. Patrick's Hospital Dublin.[5] From 1951 he also worked in a subsidiary nursing home, St Edmundbury, Lucan, Dublin. He lectured medical students on psychology in Trinity College and the Royal College of Surgeons. He is described as relating to his student audience as "quite an intellectual man, who was very much speaking and relating to an audience as an intellectual." [6] He was promoted to Senior Consultant Psychiatrist in 1969. In 1970 due to anginal pain he moved to a private residence in Dublin.[7]

Personal life[edit]

He married the matron of St Patrick's Hospital, Eileen Herbert, in 1951.[8] One of his children, Luke Drury a physicist, was elected president of the Royal Irish Academy in 2011.[9]

Writings[edit]

Drury was the author of "The danger of words and writings on Wittgenstein" (ISBN 1-84371-045-5, also published as "The Danger of Words") and "Conversations avec Ludwig Wittgenstein" with Jean-Pierre Cometti (ISBN 2-13-051558-4).

Philosophy[edit]

Drury's book, "The Danger of Words" has been described by Ray Monk as 'the most truly Wittgensteinian book published by any of Wittgenstein's students'.[10] Drury brought Wittgenstein's "critique of language" to bear on the practice of medicine, and particularly psychology that promised the same control over the mind that physics achieved with matter. This promise, pointed out Drury, was one where the delivery date was always being pushed into the future.[11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Dictionary of Irish Philosophers, p. 105
  2. ^ Dictionary of Irish Philosophers, p. 105
  3. ^ Dictionary of Irish Philosophers, p. 105
  4. ^ http://www.minerva.mic.ul.ie//vol1/drury.html
  5. ^ Dictionary of Irish Philosophers, p. 105
  6. ^ http://www.minerva.mic.ul.ie//vol1/drury.html
  7. ^ Dictionary of Irish Philosophers, p. 105
  8. ^ Dictionary of Irish Philosophers, p. 105
  9. ^ http://www.ria.ie/news-(1)/new-president-of-the-ria.aspx
  10. ^ Ray Monk, The Duty of Genius (1990), p. 264
  11. ^ Dictionary of Irish Philosophers, p. 106

References[edit]