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Academic Unit Head, Professor of Philosophy
Year Started at JMU: 2022
Contact Info



Cleveland Hall 118






B.A./B.A.S. University of Pennsylvania

Ph.D. University of Southern California



Dr. Pearce’s research in early modern philosophy focuses on issues at the intersection of metaphysics, theology, and philosophy of science. He has written extensively about George Berkeley, as well as a number of other philosophers of the period such as John Locke, Antoine Arnauld, Mary Astell, Damaris Cudworth Masham, G. W. Leibniz, and Thomas Reid. His research in philosophy of religion focuses on metaphysical issues such as the nature of divine power, God’s relation to the created world, and human and divine free will. He is currently working on a monograph on the religious context of Berkeley’s philosophy.


Selected Publications:


Is There a God? A Debate, with Graham Oppy, Little Debates about Big Questions (Routledge, 2022)

Language and the Structure of Berkeley's World (Oxford University Press, 2017)

Journal Articles:

"Anthony Collins' Non-Vindication of the Divine Attributes," Journal of Theological Studies, forthcoming

"Astell and Masham on Epistemic Authority and Women's Individual Judgment in Religion," Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, 11 (2023): 197-226

"Foundational Grounding and Creaturely Freedom," Mind 131 (2022): 1108-1130

"Thinking with the Cartesians and Speaking with the Vulgar: Extrinsic Denomination in the Philosophy of Antoine Arnauld," Journal of the History of Philosophy 60 (2022): 227-252

"Are We Free to Break the Laws of Providence?" Faith and Philosophy 37 (2020): 158-180 

"Locke, Arnauld, and Abstract Ideas," British Journal for the History of Philosophy 27 (2019): 75-94

"How Berkeley's Gardener Knows his Cherry Tree," Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (2017): 553-576

"Foundational Grounding and the Argument from Contingency," Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 8 (2017): 245-268. Winner of the 2016 Sanders Prize in Philosophy of Religion.

"Counterpossible Dependence and the Efficacy of the Divine Will," Faith and Philosophy 34 (2017): 3-16

"Understanding Omnipotence," with Alexander R. Pruss, Religious Studies 48 (2012): 403-414


Media Appearances:

Twitter: @KennethLPearce

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