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Profile: Kenneth L Pearce (Valparaiso University)
  1. 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 (...)
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  2. 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 the distinction between verbs and nouns is based on a distinction between mental acts and their (internal, mind-dependent) objects. I show that, although Arnauld identifi es perceptions with ideas, he recognizes a distinction in meaning between the words `perception' and `idea,' and this distinction (...)
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  3. 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 (...)
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  4. 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, (...)
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  5. Kenneth L. Pearce, Leibniz on Phenomenalism, Mechanism, and the Great Chain of Being.
  6. 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 (...)
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  7. 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.
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  8. 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 (...)
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  9. Kenneth L. Pearce (2014). Language and the Structure of Berkeley's World. Dissertation, University of Southern California
  10. Kenneth L. Pearce (2014). The Puzzle of Existence: Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? [REVIEW] Faith and Philosophy 31 (3):341-344.
  11. Kenneth L. Pearce (2014). The Puzzle of Existence: Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?, Edited by Tyron Goldschmidt. Faith and Philosophy 31 (3):341-344.
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  12. 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 (...)
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  13. 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 (...)
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  14. Kenneth L. Pearce, Omnipotence. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  15. 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 (...)
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