Lilly Fellows Program
1320 South Chapel Drive
Valparaiso University
Valparaiso, IN 46383

Kenneth L. Pearce

Curriculum Vitae
Phone: 219-464-5003
Fax: 219-464-5496

Areas of Specialization

Early Modern Philosophy (especially Berkeley), Philosophy of Religion


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

Academic Employment

Beginning Fall 2016Ussher Assistant Professor in Berkeley Studies (Early Modern Philosophy), Trinity College Dublin
2014 - PresentLilly Postdoctoral Fellow, Valparaiso University


2009 - 2014Ph.D, Philosophy, University of Southern California
2008 - 2009Graduate Student, Philosophy, University of California, Irvine
2003 - 2007B.A., Philosophy and Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania
2003 - 2007B.A.S., Computer Science, University of Pennsylvania



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

Journal Articles

"Arnauld's Verbal Distinction between Perceptions and Ideas," History and Philosophy of Logic, forthcoming, doi:10.1080/01445340.2016.1177440

"Leibniz and the Veridicality of Body Perceptions," Philosophers' Imprint 16 (2016)

"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

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)

Edited Volume

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

Reference Articles

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

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

"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 Review

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


Title: Language and the Structure of Berkeley's World
Committee: Prof. James Van Cleve (chair), Prof. Edwin McCann, Prof. Gideon Yaffe, Prof. Samuel Rickless, Prof. Anthony Kemp
Defended: March 21, 2014

Berkeley's philosophy is meant to be a defense of commonsense. However, Berkeley's claim that the ultimate constituents of physical reality are fleeting, causally passive ideas appears to be radically at odds with commonsense. In particular, such a theory seems unable to account for the robust structure which commonsense (and Newtonian physics) takes the world to exhibit. The problem of structure, as I understand it, includes the problem of how qualities can be grouped by their co-occurrence in a single enduring object and how these enduring objects can bear spatiotemporal, causal, and other relations to one another. I argue that Berkeley's solution to these problems lies in his views about language. At one level, human language allows us to exploit patterns in our perceptions to construct a highly structured representation of the physical world which allows us to make accurate predictions at minimal cognitive expense. At a deeper level, these patterns occur in perception because our perceptions themselves form a language in which God speaks to us.

Work Under Review

"How Berkeley's Gardener Knows his Cherry Tree"

"Foundational Grounding and the Argument from Contingency"

Work in Progress

"Berkeley on Unperceived Objects and the Publicity of Language"

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

Research Presentations

"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

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

Teaching Experience

As Primary Instructor

Valparaiso University
Spring 2016
PHIL 375: Advanced History of Philosophy: The Principle of Sufficient Reason
Independent Study (1 Student)
Spring 2016
PHIL 125: The Good Life
Spring 2016
CC 115: Texts and Contexts II
Honors College Great Books Seminar
Fall 2015PHIL 345: Advanced Logic
Independent Study (2 Students)
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)

Educational Presentations

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

Other Professional Activities

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

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

Contributor, The Prosblogion philosophy of religion blog ( category editor for "George Berkeley;" "Berkeley: Metaphysics," with subcategories; "Berkeley: Philosophy of Language;" "Berkeley: Philosophy of Religion," with subcategories; "Divine Attributes;" and "Divine Omnipotence"