Pictured at the launch of The Selected Writings of Maurice O'Connor Drury: On Wittgenstein, Philosophy, Religion and Psychiatry were L-R: Prof. Michael Healy, Vice President of Research, MIC; Prof. John Hayes, editor of the book, Prof. Michael Breen, Dean of Arts, MIC and Prof. Ray Monk, Emeritus Professor at the University of Southampton and biographer of Wittgenstein who officially launched the book on the night. The publication, edited by Prof. John Hayes, former Dean of Arts at MIC, brings together the best of O’Connor Drury’s lectures, conversations, and letters on philosophy, religion and medicine.
Launch of monumental work by Prof. John Hayes, former Dean of Arts
Former Dean of Arts at Mary Immaculate College, Prof. John Hayes, returned to MIC on Wednesday 23 January as his new book The Selected Writings of Maurice O'Connor Drury: On Wittgenstein, Philosophy, Religion and Psychiatry was officially launched.
Born in England in 1907 to Irish parents Maurice O’Conor Drury studied philosophy at Cambridge under the tutorship of Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the most significant philosophers of the 20th century. The subsequent course of Drury's life was to be enormously influenced by his teacher, from his decision to become a doctor to his later work in psychiatry in addition to the many works he published on Wittgenstein.
Speaking at the launch earlier this week Prof. Hayes recalled how when he first read Maurice O’Connor Drury’s The Danger of Words in the 1980s he was immediately taken by what were basically talks to fellow doctors on medical communication, psychology, and psychiatry. In the book O’Connor Drury talked on how he was influenced by Wittgenstein and so, as a philosophy lecturer, Prof. Hayes sought to discover more about their connection.
Through a series of coincidences Prof. Hayes met Drury’s sons, Paul Drury and Luke O’Connor Drury (Professor of Astrophysics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies) and they offered him their father’s papers, which he had archived in the library of Mary Immaculate College. Another coincidence led to Bloomsbury publishers approaching Dr Hayes and Paul Drury with a view to editing a version of the papers. Unfortunately, just after they received the book contract, Paul passed away and for the next two years Prof. Hayes took up the reins on his own; the end result being The Selected Writings of Maurice O'Connor Drury: On Wittgenstein, Philosophy, Religion and Psychiatry, a publication that brings together the best of O’Connor Drury’s lectures, conversations, and letters on philosophy, religion and medicine.
Prof. Michael Breen, Dean of Arts, MIC congratulated Prof. Hayes on his monumental work in respect of the writing of Maurice Drury. “The volume has both international and national significance: in the international arena it sheds new light on Wittgenstein’s philosophy and nationally it focuses attention on Maurice Drury, a medical doctor who spent most of his professional life as senior psychiatrist at St Edmondsbury’s in Dublin, and especially on Drury’s deep and abiding friendship with Wittgenstein from their days in Cambridge”.
Continuing he said “It is a testament to the intellectual acumen and vivacity of John Hayes that this work has been produced nearly ten years after retiring from academic life. His work will be keenly read by philosophy students across the globe and it is fitting that the College celebrates this magnum opus from one its most distinguished former staff”.
The Selected Writings of Maurice O'Connor Drury: On Wittgenstein, Philosophy, Religion and Psychiatry edited by Prof. John Hayes is available to purchase from here. Maurice O’Connor Drury’s papers are currently archived in the MIC Library.