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Dr. Kenneth Pearce

Ussher Assistant Professor (Philosophy)

Kenneth Pearce grew up in Palouse, Washington, USA. He received his BA in philosophy and classical studies and BAS in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007. He completed his PhD in philosophy at the University of Southern California in 2014. Pearce arrived at Trinity College in the fall of 2016.
  George Berkeley   History of Philosophy   Philosophy of religion
Details Date
Reader for Oxford University Press and Princeton University Press 2016 to 2018
Referee for Philosophers' Imprint, Analysis, History of Philosophy Quarterly, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, American Philosophical Quarterly, Religious Studies, Erkenntnis, Archiv Für Geschichte der Philosophie, Journal of Analytic Theology, European Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Sophia, Philosophical Papers, Journal of Philosophical Research, History and Philosophy of Logic, Hermathena, Berkeley Studies, Dialectica, Society and Politics, Journal of Polish Philosophy, Eighteenth Century Ireland, Annals of Philosophy, Diametros, and Forum Philosophicum. 2012 to present category editor for "George Berkeley;" "Berkeley: Metaphysics," with subcategories; "Berkeley: Philosophy of Language;" "Berkeley: Philosophy of Religion," with subcategories; "Divine Attributes;" and "Divine Omnipotence" 2013 - Present
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
French Medium Basic Basic
Greek Medium Basic Basic
Latin Medium Basic Basic
Kenneth L. Pearce, Thinking with the Cartesians and Speaking with the Vulgar: Extrinsic Denomination in the Philosophy of Antoine Arnauld, Journal of the History of Philosophy, 2021, Journal Article, ACCEPTED  TARA - Full Text
Kenneth L. Pearce, God's Impossible Options, Faith and Philosophy, 37, 2021, Journal Article, ACCEPTED
Kenneth L. Pearce, Are We Free to Break the Laws of Providence?, Faith and Philosophy, 37, (2), 2020, p158 - 180, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI  URL
Kenneth L. Pearce, Ideas and Explanation in Early Modern Philosophy, Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie, 2020, Journal Article, ACCEPTED  TARA - Full Text  DOI  URL
Kenneth L. Pearce, Intentionality, Belief, and the Logical Problem of Evil, Religious Studies, 56, (3), 2020, p419 - 435, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI  URL
Infinite Power and Finite Powers in, editor(s)Benedikt Paul Goecke and Christian Tapp , The Infinity of God: New Perspectives in Theology and Philosophy, Notre Dame, IN, University of Notre Dame Press, 2019, pp233 - 257, [Kenneth L. Pearce], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  URL
Kenneth L. Pearce, Locke, Arnauld, and Abstract Ideas, British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 27, (1), 2019, p75 - 94, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI  URL  URL
Kenneth L. Pearce, William King on Free Will, Philosophers' Imprint, 19, (21), 2019, p1 - 15, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL
Kenneth L. Pearce, What Descartes Doubted, Berkeley Denied, and Kant Endorsed, Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review, 58, (1), 2019, p31 - 63, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
Matter, God, and Nonsense: Berkeley's Polemic Against the Freethinkers in the Three Dialogues in, editor(s)Stefan Storrie , Berkeley's Three Dialogues: New Essays, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2018, pp176 - 190, [Kenneth L. Pearce], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  URL

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Kenneth L. Pearce, God's Perfect Will: Remarks on Johnston and O'Connor, Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion, 2021, Notes: [Invited symposium contribution.], Journal Article, ACCEPTED
Berkeley's Theory of Language in, editor(s)Samuel Rickless , The Oxford Handbook of Berkeley, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2020, [Kenneth L. Pearce], Book Chapter, ACCEPTED
Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements, 88, (2020), Kenneth L. Pearce and Takaharu Oda, [eds.], Notes: [Irish Philosophy in the Age of Berkeley], Journal, PUBLISHED
Kenneth L. Pearce, Peter Browne on the Metaphysics of Knowledge, Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements, 88, 2020, p215 - 237, Notes: [Special issue, Irish Philosophy in the Age of Berkeley, edited by Kenneth L. Pearce and Takaharu Oda.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Daniel Flage and Kenneth Pearce, 'George Berkeley', Oxford Bibliographies, Oxford University Press, 2019, -, Bibliography, filmography, etc., PUBLISHED
Berkeley and Newton in, editor(s)Dana Jalobeanu and Charles T. Wolfe , Encyclopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and Sciences, Springer, 2019, [Kenneth L. Pearce], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Kenneth L. Pearce, Review of Necessary Existence, by Alexander R. Pruss and Joshua Rasmussen , American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, 93, 2019, p763-767 , Review, PUBLISHED
Kenneth L. Pearce, 'Berkeley's Manuscript Introduction: A piece of philosophical history from the Library of Trinity College Dublin's manuscript collection', Google Arts and Culture, 2018, -, Exhibition, PUBLISHED
Kenneth L. Pearce, 'Deism', The Special Divine Action Project, Oxford, Bodleian Library, 2017, -, Digital research resource production, PUBLISHED
Kenneth L. Pearce, Review of Idealism and Christian Theology, by Joshua R. Farris and S. Mark Hamilton , Faith and Philosophy, 34, (3), 2017, p365-369 , Review, PUBLISHED


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Award Date
Sanders Prize in Philosophy of Religion (for "Foundational Grounding and the Argument from Contingency") 2016
My primary focus is the history of early modern philosophy. A 'modern' philosopher, as I understand that term, is one who thinks that our view of the world must be rethought in light of the Scientific Revolution. For 17th and 18th century European philosophers, most of this rethinking involves tensions between science and religion. However, the issues are of much broader relevance. The fundamental question is: if the physical universe is composed solely of extended bits of matter bumping into each other, what is to become of us? Is there room in such a picture for free will, morality, justice, love, beauty, meaning, or God? A common theme in many 17th and 18th century discussions of these issues is the theory of mental and linguistic representation: how do words or ideas get to be about things, and what are the limits of what our words and ideas can be about? I have addressed these questions in most detail in my work on George Berkeley (1685-1753), but I have also written about many other early modern philosophers. My current book project, Berkeley's Religion: A Study in the History of Anglican Philosophy, aims to position Berkeley's philosophical writings in the context of the religious debates of his time. This project is expected also to lead to papers on some lesser-known philosophers important to Berkeley's context, including Anthony Collins (1676-1729), Damaris Cudworth Masham (1658-1708), and Mary Astell (1666-1731). My second research area is contemporary philosophy of religion, with particular focus on the role of the concepts of power and freedom in classical conceptions of God, and also the relevance of theism to human free will. I am currently collaborating with Graham Oppy (Monash University, Australia) on a book, Is There a God? A Debate, for the Routledge series Little Debates about Big Questions.