Kenneth L Pearce Valparaiso University
blank
About me
I am interested in the intersection of metaphysics, theology, and philosophy of science in seventeenth and eighteenth century philosophy. I am especially interested in the idealistic metaphysical systems of Berkeley and Leibniz. I also work on the philosophy of religion, where I am interested primarily in metaphysical theology (divine attributes, etc.) and science and religion issues.
My works
23 items found.
Order:
  1.  63
    Kenneth L. Pearce, A Leibnizian Theory of Miracles.
    Most accounts of miracles assume that a necessary condition for an event's being miraculous is that it be, as Hume put it, “a violation of the laws of nature.” However, any account of this sort will be ill-suited for defending the major Western religious traditions because, as I will argue, classical theists should not believe in violations of the laws of nature. In place of the rejected Humean accounts, this paper seeks to develop and defend a Leibnizian conception of miracles (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  2.  22
    Kenneth L. Pearce, Arnauld's Verbal Distinction Between Ideas and Perceptions.
    In his dispute with Malebranche about the nature of ideas, Arnauld endorses a form of direct realism. This appears to conflict with views put forward by Arnauld and his collaborators in the Port-Royal Grammar and Logic where ideas are treated as objects in the mind. This tension can be resolved by a careful examination of Arnauld's remarks on the semantics of 'perception' and 'idea' in light of the Port-Royal theory of language. This examination leads to the conclusion that Arnauld's ideas (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  3.  16
    Kenneth L. Pearce, Berkeley's Meta-Ontology: Bodies, Forces, and the Semantics of 'Exists'.
    To the great puzzlement of his readers, Berkeley begins by arguing that nothing exists other than minds and ideas, but concludes by claiming to have defended the existence of bodies. How can Berkeley's idealism amount to such a defense? I introduce resources from Berkeley's philosophy of language, and especially his analysis of the discourse of physics, to defend a novel answer to this question. According to Berkeley, the technical terms of physics are meaningful despite failing to designate any reality; their (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  4.  39
    Kenneth L. Pearce, Foundational Grounding and the Argument From Contingency.
    The argument from contingency for the existence of God is best understood as a request for an explanation of the total sequence of causes and effects in the universe. Many puzzles about how there could be such an explanation arise from the assumption that God is being introduced as one more cause prepended to the sequence of causes that (allegedly) needed explaining. In response to this difficulty, I defend three theses. First, I argue that, if the argument from (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  5.  21
    Kenneth L. Pearce, How Berkeley's Gardener Knows His Cherry Tree.
    The defense of common sense in Berkeley's Three Dialogues is, first and foremost, a defense of the gardener's claim to know this cherry tree, a claim threatened by both Cartesian and Lockean philosophy. Berkeley's defense of the gardener's knowledge depends on his claim that the being of a cherry tree consists in its being perceived. This is not something the gardener believes; rather, it is a philosophical analysis of the rules unreflectively followed by the gardener in his use of the (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  6. Tyron Goldschmidt & Kenneth L. Pearce (eds.) (forthcoming). Idealism: New Essays in Metaphysics. Oxford University Press.
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  7.  19
    Kenneth L. Pearce (forthcoming). Berkeley's Philosophy of Religion. In Richard Brook & Bertil Belfrage (eds.), The Continuum Companion to Berkeley. Bloomsbury
    Traditionally, religious doctrines and practices have been divided into two categories. Those that purport to be justified by natural reason alone are said to be part of natural religion, while those which purport to be justified only by appeal to supernatural revelation are said to be part of revealed religion. One of the central aims of Berkeley's philosophy is to understand and defend both the doctrines and the practices of both natural and revealed (Christian) religion. This chapter will provide a (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  8.  11
    Kenneth L. Pearce (forthcoming). Infinite Power and Finite Powers. In Benedikt Paul Goecke & Christian Tapp (eds.), The Infinity of God: Scientific, Theological, and Philosophical Perspectives. Notre Dame University Press
    Alexander Pruss and I have proposed an analysis of omnipotence which makes no use of the problematic terms 'power' and 'ability'. However, this raises an obvious worry: if our analysis is not related to the notion of power, then how can it count as an analysis of omnipotence, the property of being all-powerful, at all? In this paper, I show how omnipotence can be understood as the possession of infinite power (general, universal, or unlimited power) rather than the possession of (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  9. Kenneth L. Pearce (forthcoming). Language and the Structure of Berkeley's World. Oxford University Press.
    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 (...)
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  10.  15
    Kenneth L. Pearce (forthcoming). Leibniz and the Veridicality of Body Perceptions. Philosophers' Imprint.
    According to Leibniz's late metaphysics, sensory perception represents to us as extended, colored, textured, etc., a world which fundamentally consists only of non-spatial, colorless entities, the monads. It is a short step from here to the conclusion that sensory perception radically misleads us about the true nature of reality. In this paper, I argue that this oft-repeated claim is false. Leibniz holds that in typical cases of body perception the bodies perceived really exist and have the qualities, both primary and (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  11.  22
    Kenneth L. Pearce (forthcoming). Matter, God, and Nonsense: Berkeley's Polemic Against the Freethinkers in the Three Dialogues. In Stefan Storrie (ed.), Berkeley's Three Dialogues: New Essays. Oxford University Press
    In the Preface to the Three Dialogues<, Berkeley says that one of his main aims is to refute the free-thinkers. Puzzlingly, however, we are then treated to a dialogue between two Christians in which the free-thinkers never reappear. This is related to a second, more general puzzle about Berkeley's religious polemics: although Berkeley says he is defending orthodox conclusions, he also reminds himself in his notebooks "To use the utmost Caution not to give the least Handle of offence to the (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  12.  22
    Kenneth L. Pearce (forthcoming). Mereological Idealism. In Tyron Goldschmidt & Kenneth L. Pearce (eds.), Idealism: New Essays in Metaphysics. Oxford University Press
    According to commonsense, some collections of objects compose wholes, and others do not. However, philosophers have found serious difficulties with attempts to preserve this thesis, and especially with attempts to preserve the existence of just those composite objects recognized by commonsense. In this paper, I defend a classical solution to this problem: "it is the mind that maketh each thing to be one" (Berkeley, Siris, sect. 356). According to this view, which I call 'mereological idealism,' it is when a plurality (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  13.  36
    Kenneth L. Pearce (2016). Counteressential Conditionals. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (4):n/a-n/a.
    Making sense of our reasoning in disputes about necessary truths requires admitting nonvacuous counterpossibles. One class of these is the counteressentials, which ask us to make contrary to fact suppositions about essences. A popular strategy in accounting for nonvacuous counterpossibles is to extend the standard possible worlds semantics for subjunctive conditionals by the addition of impossible worlds. A conditional A □ C is then taken to be true if all of the nearest A worlds are C worlds. I argue that (...)
    Direct download (5 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  14.  6
    Kenneth L. Pearce, Port-Royal. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online.
  15.  77
    Kenneth L. Pearce (2014). Berkeley's Lockean Religious Epistemology. Journal of the History of Ideas 75 (3):417-438.
    Berkeley's main aim in his well-known early works was to identify and refute "the grounds of Scepticism, Atheism, and irreligion." This appears to place Berkeley within a well-established tradition of religious critics of Locke's epistemology, including, most famously, Stillingfleet. I argue that these appearances are deceiving. Berkeley is, in fact, in important respects an opponent of this tradition. According to Berkeley, Locke's earlier critics, including Stillingfleet, had misidentified the grounds of irreligion in Locke's philosophy while all the while endorsing the (...)
    Direct download (6 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  16.  15
    Kenneth L. Pearce (2014). Language and the Structure of Berkeley's World. Dissertation, University of Southern California
  17.  99
    Kenneth L. Pearce (2014). The Puzzle of Existence: Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? [REVIEW] Faith and Philosophy 31 (3):341-344.
  18. Kenneth L. Pearce (2012). Thomas Reid on Character and Freedom. History of Philosophy Quarterly 29 (2):159-176.
    According to Thomas Reid, an agent cannot be free unless she has the power to do otherwise. This claim is usually interpreted as a version of the Principle of Alternate Possibilities. Against this interpretation, I argue that Reid is committed to the seemingly paradoxical position that an agent may have the power to do otherwise despite the fact that it is impossible that she do otherwise. Reid's claim about the power to do otherwise does not, therefore, entail the Principle of (...)
    Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  19.  94
    Kenneth L. Pearce & Alexander R. Pruss (2012). Understanding Omnipotence. Religious Studies 48 (3):403-414.
    An omnipotent being would be a being whose power was unlimited. The power of human beings is limited in two distinct ways: we are limited with respect to our freedom of will, and we are limited in our ability to execute what we have willed. These two distinct sources of limitation suggest a simple definition of omnipotence: an omnipotent being is one that has both perfect freedom of will and perfect efficacy of will. In this paper we further explicate this (...)
    Direct download (7 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   1 citation  
  20. Kenneth L. Pearce & Alexander R. Pruss (2012). Understanding Omnipotence. Religious Studies 48 (3):403-414.
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  21.  11
    Kenneth L. Pearce, Omnipotence. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
  22.  96
    Kenneth L. Pearce (2008). The Semantics of Sense Perception in Berkeley. Religious Studies 44 (3):249-268.
    George Berkeley's linguistic account of sense perception is one of the most central tenets of his philosophy. It is intended as a solution to a wide range of critical issues in both metaphysics and theology. However, it is not clear from Berkeley's writings just how this ‘universal language of the Author of Nature’ is to be interpreted. This paper discusses the nature of the theory of sense perception as language, together with its metaphysical and theological motivations, then proceeds to develop (...)
    Direct download (8 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography   1 citation  
  23.  45
    Kenneth L. Pearce, Can Berkeley's God Raise the Same Body, Transformed?
    Orthodox Christianity affirms a bodily resurrection of the dead. That is, Christians believe that at some point in the eschatological future, possibly after a period of (conscious or unconscious) disembodied existence, we will once again live and animate our own bodies. However, our bodies will also undergo radical qualitative transformation. This creates a serious problem: how can a body persist across both temporal discontinuity and qualitative transformation? After discussing this problem as it appears in contemporary philosophical literature on the resurrection, (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    My bibliography  
Is this list right?