Like many immigrant kids, Willem A. deVries was born in New York City. Most of his early childhood was spent in upstate New York, but high school was in Lynchburg, VA. He took his B.A. from Haverford College, where he worked with Richard J. Bernstein, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, where Wilfrid Sellars was his Doktorvater. He also spend two separate years at the Hegel Archives at the Ruhr Universität Bochum under the auspices of the Fulbright Program. He has taught at Amherst College, Harvard University, Tufts University, University College Dublin, and the University of Vienna, where he was Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer. He is a Professor of Philosophy, now Emeritus, at the University of New Hampshire.
His books include Hegel's Theory of Mental Activity, (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1988), Knowledge, Mind, and the Given: A Reading of Sellars’ “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind,” (With Timm Triplett) (Cambridge, MA: Hackett Publishing, 2000), Wilfrid Sellars, Philosophy Now Series, (Chesham, Bucks: Acumen Publishing and Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005) and Empiricism, Perceptual Knowledge, Normativity and Realism: Essays on Wilfrid Sellars, W. A. deVries, ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
His publications have focused principally on G. W. F. Hegel and on Wilfrid Sellars, with occasional forays into other topics.
The Hegel articles include "Hegel on Reference and Knowledge,"Journal of the History of Philosophy, 26 (April 1988): 297-307; ”The Dialectic of Teleology," Philosophical Topics, 19 (Fall 1991): 51-70; "Hegel's logic and philosophy of mind," in The Routledge History of Philosophy, Vol. VI: The Age of German Idealism. London: Routledge, 1993: 216-253; “Sense-Certainty and the ‘This-Such’” Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit: A Critical Guide. Cambridge Critical Guides. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008: 63-75; “Subjective Spirit: Soul, Consciousness, Intelligence and Will,” The Bloomsbury Companion to Hegel, Allegra de Laurentis & Jeffrey Edwards, eds. (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013): 133-156; “Sensation, Intuition, Space, and Time in Hegel’s Philosophy of Subjective Spirit” in Hegel’s Philosophycal Psychology, Susanne Herrmann-Sinai & Lucia Ziglioli, eds. (Oxford: Routledge, 2016): 214-27; “Hegel’s Revival in Analytic Philosophy” in The Oxford Handbook of Hegel, Dean Moyar, ed., (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017); “Hegel’s Pragmatism” in The Palgrave Hegel, Marina Bykova and Kenneth Westphal, eds. (London: Palgrave, 2020).
He has also published extensively on Wilfrid Sellars, e.g., “Folk Psychology, Theories and the Sellarsian Roots” in The Self-Correcting Enterprise: Essays on Wilfrid Sellars Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of Science and the Humanities, 93 Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2006: 53-85; “McDowell, Sellars, and Sense Impressions” European Journal of Philosophy, 14 (August 2006): 182-201; “Getting Beyond Idealisms” in Empiricism, Perceptual Knowledge, Normativity and Realism: Essays on the Anniversary of "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind," W. A. deVries, ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009); “Naturalism, the Autonomy of Reason, and Pictures” International Journal of Philosophical Studies 18 (3) (2010): 395-413; “Ontology and the Completeness of Sellars’s Two Images” Humana.Mente: Journal of Philosophical Studies 21: 1-18 (www.humanamente.eu); “Images, Descriptions, and Pictures: Personhood and The Clash” in Sellars and His Legacy , James O’Shea, ed., (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016): 47-59. These two interests come together in “Hegelian Spirits in Sellarsian Bottles” Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition. 174, 7 (July 2017): 1643-1654. DOI 10.1007/s11098-016-0830-0 and “Hegel and Sellars on the Unity of Things” International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 27:3 (2019) 363-378.
On other topics, include these: "Meaning and Interpretation in History," History and Theory, Vol. XXII, No. 3 (1983), pp. 253-263; "On Sophist 255b-e," History of Philosophy Quarterly, Vol. 5, No. 4 (October 1988), pp. 385-94; "Burgeoning Skepticism," Erkenntnis, Vol. 33 (1990), pp. 141-164; "'Who sees with equal eye, . . . Atoms or systems into ruin hurl'd:' Comment on Brian McLaughlin" Philosophical Studies Vol. 71, No. 2 (Aug. 1993) pp. 191-200; "Experience and the Swamp Creature" Philosophical Studies, Vol. 82, No. 1 (April 1996) pp. 55-80; “Some Forms of Trust” Information Vol 2, no. 1: 1-16.
Starting in 2012, there is a new endeavor occupying me as well: The Routledge Studies in American Philosophy. I co-edit this series with Henry Jackman. We are trying to put out quality books that are either in or about American Philosophy, construed broadly. "Construed broadly" here means that we do not identify American Philosophy solely with pragmatism, allthough we are certainly very interested in studies in and of pragmatist philosophy. Americans have done significant work in idealistic philosophy, in new and critical realism, in phenomenology, in neo-scholasticism, and in other philosophical traditions. We hope to publish high-quailty work across the spectrum of American Philosophy.