Department of Philosophy
Room 5009, Arts Building
Trinity College
Dublin 2, Ireland

Kenneth L. Pearce

Curriculum Vitae
Phone: +353 1-896-1026
Fax: +353 1-671-5760

Areas of Specialization

Early Modern Philosophy (especially Berkeley), Philosophy of Religion


English (native), Ancient Greek (highly competent), Latin (intermediate), French (intermediate)

Academic Employment

2016 - PresentUssher Assistant Professor in Berkeley Studies (Early Modern Philosophy), Trinity College Dublin
2014 - 2016Lilly Postdoctoral Fellow, Valparaiso University


2009 - 2014Ph.D, Philosophy, University of Southern California

Dissertation: Language and the Structure of Berkeley's World

Supervisor: James Van Cleve

2008 - 2009Graduate Student, Philosophy, University of California, Irvine
2003 - 2007B.A., Philosophy and Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Honors Thesis: "The Semantics of Sense Perception in Berkeley"

Supervisor: Karen Detlefsen

2003 - 2007B.A.S., Computer Science, University of Pennsylvania



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

Journal Articles

"Berkeley on Unperceived Objects and the Publicity of Language," History of Philosophy Quarterly, forthcoming

"How Berkeley's Gardener Knows his Cherry Tree," Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, forthcoming, DOI: 10.1111/papq.12199

"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

"Leibniz and the Veridicality of Body Perceptions," Philosophers' Imprint 16, no. 5 (2016): 1-17

"Arnauld's Verbal Distinction between Ideas and Perceptions," History and Philosophy of Logic 37 (2016): 375-390

"Counteressential Conditionals," Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (2016): 73-81

"Berkeley's Lockean Religious Epistemology," Journal of the History of Ideas 75 (2014): 417-438

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

"Thomas Reid on Character and Freedom," History of Philosophy Quarterly 29 (2012): 159-176

"The Semantics of Sense Perception in Berkeley," Religious Studies 44 (2008): 249-268

Edited Volume

Idealism: New Essays in Metaphysics, with Tyron Goldschmidt (Oxford University Press, in press)

Book Chapters

"Mereological Idealism" in Idealism: New Essays in Metaphysics, ed. Tyron Goldschmidt and Kenneth L. Pearce (Oxford University Press, forthcoming)

"Matter, God, and Nonsense: Berkeley's Polemic against the Freethinkers in the Three Dialogues" in Berkeley's Three Dialogues: New Essays, ed. Stefan Storrie (Oxford University Press, forthcoming)

"Infinite Power and Finite Powers" in The Infinity of God: Scientific, Theological, and Philosophical Perspectives, ed. Benedikt Paul Göcke and Christian Tapp (Notre Dame University Press, forthcoming)

Reference Articles

"Philosophy of Language" in The Oxford Handbook of Berkeley, ed. Samuel Rickless (Oxford University Press, commissioned)

"Berkeley and Newton" in Encylopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and Sciences, ed. Dana Jalobeanu and Charles T. Wolfe (Springer, forthcoming)

"Berkeley's Philosophy of Religion" in The Bloomsbury Companion to Berkeley, ed. Richard Brook and Bertil Belfrage (Bloomsbury, 2017)

"Deism," The Special Divine Action Project, Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion, Oxford University (Bodleian Library, 2017)

"Port-Royal" in The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online, ed. Tim Crane (Routledge, 2015)

"Omnipotence" in The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. James Fieser and Bradley Dowden (November 8, 2011)

Book Reviews

Review of Idealism and Christian Theology, ed. Joshua R. Farris and S. Mark Hamilton, Faith and Philosophy 34 (2017): 365-369

Review of The Everlasting Check: Hume on Miracles, by Alexander George, Journal of the History of Philosophy 54 (2016): 680-681

Review of The Puzzle of Existence: Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?, ed. Tyron Goldschmidt, Faith and Philosophy 31 (2014): 341-344

Work Under Review

"William King on Free Will"

"What Descartes Doubted, Berkeley Denied, and Kant Endorsed"

Work in Progress

"Ideas and Explanation in Early Modern Philosophy"

"Locke, Arnauld, and Abstract Ideas"

Research Presentations

"Berkeley's Immaterialist Monetary Policy," Bishop Berkeley's Querist in Context, Galway, Ireland (May 20, 2017)

"William King on Free Will," Cross-Ireland Exchange in Analytic Philosophy, Belfast, Northern Ireland (March 23, 2017)

"Why Theists Need Primary Causation," Aquinas and Analytic Philosophy, Dublin, Ireland (January 28, 2017)

"Berkeley's Argument for Immaterialism in the Principles," Second Irish Early Modern Philosophy Conference, Dublin, Ireland (December 9, 2016)

"Foundational Grounding and the Argument from Contingency," University of St. Olaf Philosophy Department Colloquium, Northfield, Minnesota (September 19, 2016)

"Berkeley's Theory of Quasi-Entities," International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science, Minneapolis, Minnesota (June 24, 2016)

"Modernity and the History of Philosophy (1613-1779)," contribution to symposium, "What Drives Philosophical Progress?" organized by Kirsten Walsh, International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science, Minneapolis, Minnesota (June 23, 2016)

"Counteressential Conditionals," American Philosophical Associaton Central Division Meeting (Main Program), Chicago, Illinois (March 3, 2016)

"Leibniz and the Veridicality of Body Perceptions," Eighth Annual Leibniz Society of North America Conference, Tampa, Florida (October 31, 2014)

"Matter, God, and Nonsense: Berkeley's Polemic against the Freethinkers in the Three Dialogues," Berkeley Conference, Dublin, Ireland (April 4, 2014)

"How Berkeley's Gardener Knows his Cherry Tree," International Berkeley Conference: The 300th Anniversary of the Publication of Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, Krakow, Poland (August 21, 2013)

"Infinite Power and Finite Powers" (invited), The Infinity of God: Scientific, Theological, and Philosophical Approaches, Bochum, Germany (August 10, 2013)

"Leibniz on Phenomenalism, Mechanism, and the Great Chain of Being," International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science, Halifax, NS (June 22, 2012)

"Divine Language, Unperceived Objects, and Berkeley's Response to Skepticism," International Berkeley Society Group Session, American Philosophical Association Eastern Division Meeting, Washington, DC (December 28, 2011)

"Berkeley's Lockean Religious Epistemology," International Berkeley Conference, Zurich, Switzerland (June 23, 2011)

"A Leibnizian Theory of Miracles"

Society of Christian Philosophers Pacific and Mountain Region Conference, Newberg, OR (March 4, 2011)

Southern California Philosophy Conference, Pomona, CA (November 6, 2010)

Interdisciplinary and International Graduate Conference in French and Francophone Studies, Santa Barbara, CA, (May 14, 2010)

"In Defense of Ignorant Assertions," Mountain-Plains Philosophy Conference, Washington, PA (October 16, 2010)

"Can Berkeley's God Raise the Same Body, Transformed?" Society of Christian Philosophers Pacific Division Conference, Riverside, CA, (October 31, 2008)

Other Conference Activity

Comments on David Hilbert, "Berkeley's Political Metaphysics," American Philosophical Association Pacific Division Meeting (Main Program), San Francisco, CA (March 31, 2016)

Invited Participant, Webinar on Berkeley's Argument for Idealism by Samuel Rickless, hosted by the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, University of Western Ontario (December 9, 2015)

Comments on Linda Zagzebski, "Omnisubjectivity and Christian Doctrine," Classical Theism Workshop, St. Paul, MN (August 1, 2015)

Participant, St. Thomas Summar Seminar in Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology, St. Paul, MN (June 16 - July 1, 2015)

Session chair for Irem Kurstal Steen, "Ordinary Objects for Plenitude Lovers," The Third California Metaphysics Conference: Ordinary Objects, Los Angeles, CA (January 17, 2014)

Comments on Daniel M. Johnson, "Reidian Internalism," American Philosophical Association Pacific Division Meeting (Main Program), San Diego, CA (April 21, 2011)

Fellowships and Academic Honors

2016Sanders Prize in Philosophy of Religion (for "Foundational Grounding and the Argument from Contingency")
2013USC School of Philosophy Michael McCann Award for Excellence in the History of Philosophy
Spring 2013USC School of Philosophy Flewelling Research Fellowship
2011 - 2012USC Dornsife College General Education Graduate Assistant Award
2009 - 2014USC College Merit Fellowship


As Primary Instructor

Trinity College Dublin
Hilary Term 2017Berkeley and Idealism
MPhil Seminar
Hilary Term 2017Early Modern Philosophy of Language
Mixed Undergraduate/PhD Seminar
Hilary Term 2017History of Philosophy: Rationalists and Empiricists
Michaelmas Term 2016Philosophy of Mind
Michaelmas Term 2016Topics in Philosophy: God and Freedom
Half-semester seminar for first-year undergraduates
Michaelmas Term 2016Great Texts: Berkeley's Principles
Half-semester seminar for second-year undergraduates
Valparaiso University
Spring 2016PHIL 125: The Good Life
Spring 2016CC 115: Texts and Contexts II
Honors College Great Books Seminar
Fall 2015CC 300H: Science-Fiction and Philosophy
Interdisciplinary Honors College Seminar
Spring 2015PHIL 280: Early Modern Philosophy
Spring 2015PHIL 145: Elementary Logic/Critical Thinking
Fall 2014PHIL 150: Formal Logic/Critical Thinking
Fall 2014PHIL 145: Elementary Logic/Critical Thinking
Pepperdine University
Fall 2012PHIL 527: Philosophy of Religion
Fall 2012PHIL 320: Ethics

As Teaching Assistant

University of Southern California
Spring 2012PHIL 225: Love and its Representations in Western Literature, Philosophy, and Film (Prof. Edwin McCann)
Fall 2011PHIL 285: Knowledge, Explanation, and the Cosmos (Prof. Jacob Ross)
Spring 2011PHIL 101: Philosophical Foundations of Modern Western Culture (Prof. James Van Cleve)
Fall 2010PHIL 137: Social Ethics for Earthlings and Others (Prof. John Dreher)


2016 - PresentLaura Kennedy, TCD PhD student. Dissertation supervisor.
2016 - PresentPeter West, TCD PhD student. Dissertation supervisor.
Spring 2016Nichole Smith, Valparaiso undergraduate student. Independent Study (Advanced History of Philosophy: The Principle of Sufficient Reason).
Fall 2015Nichole Smith and Eric Matson, Valparaiso undergraduate students. Independent study (Advanced Logic).

Educational Presentations

March 29, 2017The Life and Ideas of Bishop George Berkeley
Public lecture in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Berkeley Library
Trinity College Dublin
February 14, 2017Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing?
Big Questions in Philosophy Extramural Lecture Series
Trinity College Dublin
October 25, 2016George Berkeley
Great Philosophers Extramural Lecture Series
Trinity College Dublin
September 30, 2016Mereological Idealism
PHIL 320: Metaphysics (Instructor: Sandra Visser)
Valparaiso University (via Skype)
February, 12, 2014A Discussion on Omnipotence and Stones
PHIL 112: Philosophy of Religion (Instructor: C. Daniel Dolson)
University of California, Santa Barbara (via Skype)
January 17, 2013Introductory Lecture to Freud's Last Session
USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative
April 8, 2011Leibniz, Newton, and Laplace on God and Physics
USC Undergraduate Philosophy Club



2016 - 2017Director of Research
2016 - 2017Coordinator for Web Page and Teaching Technology


Reader for Oxford University Press

Referee for History of Philosophy Quarterly, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Erkenntnis, Sophia, Berkeley Studies, Dialectica, Society and Politics, Journal of Polish Philosophy, Annals of Philosophy, and Diametros

Co-Editor, The Mod Squad early modern philosophy blog (

Contributor, The Prosblogion philosophy of religion blog (

Organizer, Prosblogion Virtual Colloquium, 2016 - 2017 category editor for "George Berkeley;" "Berkeley: Metaphysics," with subcategories; "Berkeley: Philosophy of Language;" "Berkeley: Philosophy of Religion," with subcategories; "Divine Attributes;" and "Divine Omnipotence"