Raymond Dennehy

Raymond L. Dennehy

Professor Emeritus

Kalmanovitz Hall 155


Raymond Dennehy was born in San Francisco in 1934. While serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the heavy cruiser, USS Rochester (CA 124) as a radarman, principally in the South China Sea, from 1954–58, he decided on a university education and while at the university decided on graduate studies in philosophy. Among his teachers were Karl Popper, Anton Pegis, C.B. MacPherson, and Edward Synan. His areas of teaching and research interest are metaphysics, epistemology, and social ethics. Dennehy is frequently called upon to address contemporary ethical issues by universities and the media. He is married to Maryann Dennehy and has four children and eleven grandchildren.

Research Areas

  • Metaphysics
  • Epistemology
  • Social Ethics
  • Bioethics


  • BA (Philosophy), University of San Francisco, 1962
  • MA (Philosophy), University of California, Berkeley, 1964
  • PhD (Philosophy), University of Toronto, 1973

Prior Experience

  • Assistant to the Director of Evening College, 1974–79

Awards & Distinctions

Selected Publications

  • SOLDIER BOY: the War Between Michael and Lucifer (Victoria, B.C.:Trafford Publishing, 2007)

  • Anti-Abortionist at Large: How to Argue Intelligently about Abortion and Live to Tell About It. (Victoria, B.C.:Trafford Publishing, 2002)

  • Reason and Dignity (Washington, DC: University Press of America, 1981)

  • Christian Married Love, edited and with an introduction by Raymond Dennehy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1981)

  • The Subject As the Metaphysical Ground of Maritain's Personalism. Doctoral dissertation, University of Toronto, 1973

  • "How Maritain May Have Bridged the Gap Between Metaphysics and Activism" in Notes et documents: Institut International Jacques Maritain
    Vol 20 May -- August, 2011; rpt. in slightly amplified form in Distinctions of Being: Philosophical Approaches to Reality, Nikolaj Zunic (ed.) (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2012)

  • Foreword to Jacques Maritain, CHRISTIANITY AND DEMOCRACY and THE RIGHTS OF MAN AND THE NATURAL LAW (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2011, 1996), pp. vii -- xiii

  • "The Right (and Wrong) Way to Ration Health Care," OSV Newsweekly, August 9, 2009; rpt. as "Health Care Rationing Should Not Be Justified by Unethical Beliefs" in Medical Ethics, Noel Merino ed. (Detroit: Greenhaven Press,2010)

  • "Philosophy of Religion" in The New Catholic Encyclopedia (2009)

  • "Proofs for the Existence of God" in the New Catholic Encyclopedia (2009)

  • "Abortion and Ideology" in The Human Person and a Culture of Freedom, Edited by Peter A. Pegan Aguiar & Terese Auer, O.P. (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2009); rpt. in Anthology of Papers of the Catholic Academy of Sciences in the USA, L.T. Grady (ed.) 2010

  • Lecture edited by Raymond Dennehy and Anthony O. Simon: "Personality and Opinion" by Yves R. Simon Logos, Spring 2009,  pp. 80-93

  • "The Illusion of a Freedom Separated from Moral virtue" in THE JOURNAL OF INTERDISICPLINARY STUDIES, XIX No.1/2 2007, 19-39. Oleg Zinam Award for Best Essay in JIS for 2007

  • "Contraception and Homosexuality" in CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION FOR NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING NEWSLETTER, Summer, 2007.

  • "Liberal Democracy As a Culture of Death: Why John Paul II Was Right" TELOS No. 134 (March, 2006)

  • "Advice For Thomists," The Maritain Notebook (American Maritain Association Newsletter), Volume 13, Issue 1, Spring, 2005; Reprinted in Insight, "Peanuts and Thomists," June 2005.

  • "Cutting Through Anti-Life Rhetoric," CELEBRATE LIFE , May-June, 2004

  • "Can Jacques Maritain Save Liberal Democracy from Itself?" in Truth Matters: Essays in Honor of Jacques Maritain, edited by John G. Trapani, Jr. (Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2004)

  • "Physician-Assisted Suicide and Democracy" in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, Vol. XV, No. 1/2 (September, 2003)

  • "The Loss of the Knowing Subject in Contemporary Epistemology," in Maritain and the Many Ways of Knowing, ed. by Douglas A. Ollivant (Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, (2002)

  • "Maritain's Reply to Gilson's Rejection of Critical Realism," A Thomistic Tapestry: Essays in Memory of Étienne Gilson a volume in honor of Armand Maurer, ed. by Peter Redpath, (New York, Value Inquiry Book Series, 2002) pp. 57-80

  • "Ethical Challenges in the Next Millennium: Can the Church Stop the Drift Toward the 'Culture of Death' "? Catholic San Francisco, Feb. 8, 1999, 15 & 21

  • "Don't Let Them Clone Einstein!" San Francisco Foghorn (University of San Francisco campus paper)

  • "Peter Singer's 'The Moral Status of the Embryo'" National Catholic Register, April 25-May 1, 1999

  • "Advice for Thomists," Maritain Newsletter, Spring, 1999

  • "Yves R. Simon's Metaphysics of Action," Acquaintance with the Absolute, ed. by Anthony O. Simon (New York: Fordham University Press, 1998), 19-56

  • "Confessions of an Aging Anti-Abortionist," Crisis Magazine, Jan. 1998, 20-21

  • "Maritain's Realistic Defense of the Importance of the Philosophy of Nature to Metaphysics," 107-129 in THOMISTIC PAPERS VI, Edited by John F.X. Knasas (Houston, TX: Center for Thomistic Studies, University of St. Thomas, 1994)

  • "Bodenheimer's Empirical Theory of Natural Law," Vera Lex XIV, nos. 1& 2 (1994), 18-21

  • "Always the Metaphysician: Maritain's Ontology of Anti-Racism , Jacques Maritain and the Jews, Robert Royal (ed.) (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994), 36-50

  • "Bodenheimer's Theory of Natural Law: The Conflict of a Divided Intellectual Allegiance," University of California (Davis) Law Review 26, #3 (1993), 619-52

  • "The Philosophical Catbird Seat: A Defense of Maritain's Philosophia Perennis," The Future of Thomism, Deal Hudson (ed.) (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992), 65-76

  • "Being Is Better than Freedom" in Freedom in the Modern World, ed. by Michael D. Torre (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1989), pp. 253-262

  • "Unreal Realism," The Thomist 55, 4 (1991), 631-55

  • "Rescuing the Natural Law from the Rationalists" in Vera Lex, Vol. X, No. 1, 1990, 14-16

  • "The Elimination of God in the Contemporary World," Creative Love; the Ethics of Human Reproduction, edited by John Boyle (Front Royal, VA: Christendom Press, 1989)

  • "Maritain's Intellectual Existentialism: An Introduction to His Metaphysics and Epistemology" in Understanding Maritain, edited by D. Hudson and W. Mancini (Atlanta: Mercer University Press, 1987)

  • "The Universality of the Analogy of Being in Contemporary Metaphysics," in Existential Personalism, Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, Vol. 60, 1986, pp. 65-76

  • Introduction to G.K. Chesterton's St. Thomas Aquinas in C.K. Chesterton: Collected Works (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), Vol. II

  • "The Biological Revolution and the Myth of Prometheus," Pope John Paul II Lecture Series in Bioethics, edited by F. Lescoe and D. Liptak (New Britain, CT: Mariel Publications, 1986), Vol. II, pp. 7-34

  • "The Ontological Basis of Certitude," The Thomist, Vol. 50, No. 1, January 1986, pp. 120-150

  • "Philosophy and Society" in Philosophy, Psychology and Spirituality, edited by James W. Kidd (San Francisco: Golden Phoenix Press, 1984), pp. 77-87

  • "Understanding Maritain: His Epistemological  Doctrine of Judgment and His Metaphysical Doctrine of the Subject," Notes et Documents, Institut International J. Maritain numero 7, juillet-septembre, 1984, pp. 123-43

  • "Sex, Survival and Culture," The Linacre Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 3, August 1983, pp. 262-271. (Reprinted in International Review of Natural Family Planning, Vol. 7, No. 1, Spring 1984, pp. 44-56.)

  • "Liberal Education, Vocationalism, and Democracy," Thought, Vol. 57, No. 225 (June 1982), pp. 182-195

  • "Reply to Mr. Schedler on Human Rights," The New Scholasticism, Vol. 55, Autumn 1981, pp. 488-494

  • "The Social Encyclicals: What Has Heaven to Do with Earth?," Faith and Reason, Vol. 8, No. 3, Fall 1982, pp. 232-245

  • "The Rosary and Human Progress," Intermountain Catholic, May 1, 1981, p. 11+

  • "Laborem Exercens: John Paul II's Answer to Secular Humanism," The Migrant Echo, Fall 1981, pp. 488-494

  • "The Pessimistic Origins of the Anti-Life Movement," Studies, Spring 1981, pp. 8-15

  • "The Mission of the Catholic University," New Oxford Review, September 1980

  • "The Philosophy of Human Experimentation," The New Scholasticism, Vol. 52 (1978), pp. 80-90

  • "The Ontological Basis of Human Rights," The Thomist, No. 42 (1978), pp. 434-463

  • "The Threat Posed by the Decline of Liberal Arts Education," San Francisco Examiner, Wednesday, June 9, 1976, p. 35 (guest editorial)

  • "Death and Dying: A Symposium." Papers edited and with an introduction by Raymond Dennehy and Francis Filice, The Camillian, February, 1975

  • "Maritain's Theory of Subsistence: The Basis of His 'Existentialism,' " The Thomist, No. 39 (1975), 542-574

  • "A Tribute to Jacques Maritain: Philosophical Activist," Social Justice Review, October 1973

  • "The Social Encyclicals and the 'Population Bomb,' " Social Justice Review, October 1972

  • "Love and Procreation," THE SANTA CLARA (University of Santa Clara campus paper), Friday, January 23, 1970