William C. Starr


  • CV (PDF)

Associate Professor

My research interests include legal philosophy, political philosophy, ethics, British empiricism, and Irish Philosophy. I have written articles on these topics, and I have co-edited 3 books in ethics. Right now I am working on a book which is a study of James Connolly's political philosophy. This is a landmark book in the sense that no one has done a study of Connolly's political philosophy before this one. Also, I am working on a paper that demarcates Hart vs. Dworkin. I have a new angle on this problem which is a big topic in the philosophy of law.

I teach graduate courses in political philosophy, the philosophy of law, ethics, and British Empiricism. I think Rawls and Dworkin are the two ethical, political, and legal philosophers who have made the most impact from the twentieth century to the present. In undergraduate teaching, I will teach whatever the assistant chair decides for me to do with one exception: aesthetics. If you have seen me, no further explanation is necessary. Come to my office in 142 Coughlin to talk about philosophy, Ireland, and of course the Brewers.

In Memoriam

The members of the Philosophy Department mourn the passing of Dr. Bill Starr. Bill passed away Sunday February 1, 2015.  He is survived by his wife Marna, daughter Maura (Timm) Heck and two grandchildren. A University Memorial was held on Monday, February 23, 2015 at 4:00 P.M. in the Alumni Memorial Union Room 227. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Remarks on the life and work of Bill Starr by Rev. John Jones for the campus memorial service.

We in the department have received condolences from both within and outside of the university.  We would like to share a few of these thoughts.

"Dear Nancy and all my friends in the Philosophy Department,
   Please accept my sincere condolences to you and the entire Philosophy Department on the unexpected passing of Bill Starr. I have known Bill and his family for over 20 years, having gotten to know them through our shared involvement in Irish dance. Both through Irish dance and here at Marquette, I knew Bill to be a smart, funny, and kind man who was always exceedingly gracious to my children and to me.
   My heart goes out to you and everyone in the department. I know this is a huge loss for you, as it is for everyone who knew Bill.

Sincerely yours,


"If only one thing can be said about this man, let it be said that he knew how to love. He loved his students; loved teaching; but most of all he loved his family."

"I wanted to express my gratitude to you for your handling of Dr. Starr’ death. Knowing that we, the students, will be taken care of during this difficult time eases the anxiety of change. While I only knew Dr. Starr for a short time, I could tell he had a deep love of philosophy, humor, and life in general. He was a bright light in academia, and after reviewing his resume, he was also a great contributor. He will be missed.

I pray that God guides you and the entire department in the following weeks as you reflect on his life.

Thanks again,"

"One of Bill's favorite jokes was also a philosopher's joke: 'Rene Descartes was asked if he wanted pepperoni onhis pizza, and responded 'I  think not', and disappeared.' Slan abhaile, a Liam"

"My condolences to everyone in the department."
Stephen Bloch-Schulman (Ph.D. 2004), Associate Profesessor of Philosophy, Elon University

"I won't be able to attend Bill Starr's memorial service, because I will be teaching an ethics class at that time - a fitting way to honor him.  I will always remember his love of philosophy, his kindness to me and so many others, and his smiling presence. " Donna Engelmann, Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair, Alverno College (PhD 1993)

"Unfortunately, I was unable to make his service, but Dr. Starr was a very kind man who I'm lucky to have known (however brief it was). He really cared about his students and had a love of educating, this was evident through his relaxed and happy classroom atmosphere. He and his family are in my thoughts. Peace to them all! He is very missed."

"I am on vacation. I just saw this email. I am very sorry for Dr. Starr death. I have fond memories of him. I am sure that he will be missed a lot." Sebastian Kaufmann Salinas, Ph.D. 2010



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Philosophy Department

Marquette University
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Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
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