School of Human Development


Primary Department
School of Human Development
Emeritus Status
Phone number:
01 700
St Patrick's Campus

Academic biography

Joseph Dunne is Cregan Professor of Philosophy and Education, Emeritus, at the Institute of Education, Dublin City University. A native of Thurles, Co Tipperary, he was educated at local schools, Rockwell College, and University College Dublin, before joining the academic staff at St Patrick's College Dublin in 1970, where he taught philosophy for forty years, in the Education and Humanities Faculties, and was founding Head of Human Development, a subject devoted to interdisciplinary study of the human life-span. He taught courses in all three years of the B.Ed and the BA, and on the M.Ed, MA, and Ed.D programmes; he also supervised theses for these post-graduate degrees and for the PhD. 

He has taught graduate courses at the University of Oslo (2012 and 2014), at Duke University where he was Visiting Professor (1998), and at the University of British Columbia where he was Distinguished Visiting Fellow (2013). He was a Visiting Scholar at St. Edmund's College, University of Cambridge (1981) and at the Philosophy Department, University of California at Berkeley (1998). He has been a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and symposia in North America, Britain, and Scandinavia on issues concerning practical knowledge, professional judgment, childhood, citizenship, and the fate of religion in late modernity; he has also lectured and conducted seminars in several cities in South Korea (2013) and in India (2017).

His Back to the Rough Ground: Practical Judgement and the Lure of Technique (1993, 1997, 2001, 2009) has been widely recognised as a landmark book in retrieving the philosophical significance of Aristotle’s concept of practical wisdom (phronesis) and in demonstrating its pertinence to a range of contemporary professions, including teaching. The author of many articles in international journals, he has co-edited Questioning Ireland: Debates in Political Philosophy and Public Policy (2000); Childhood and its Discontents: The First Seamus Heaney Lectures (2002) and Education and Practice: Upholding the Integrity of Teaching and Learning (2004).