My Life Archives

March 10, 2022

Moving to James Madison University

On July 1, I’ll be starting a new job as Professor of Philosophy and Academic Unit Head for the Department of Philosophy and Religion at James Madison University in Virginia. Trinity College Dublin has been a fantastic place to work, and I will miss the College, Ireland, and my wonderful colleagues. I’m looking forward to working with new colleagues at JMU to bring philosophy and religious studies to a wider range of students, and I am looking forward to leaving the big city for the beautiful Shenandoah Valley....
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Topic(s): My Life
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March 24, 2017

Recent and Forthcoming Publications and Lecture

There's been a lot of exciting stuff going on recently! Here are a few things: The official UK release of Language and Structure was yesterday! This means that if you are in Europe and ordered direct from OUP, your copy should be on the way. Also, it means that e-book versions are now available from Amazon UK, Amazon US, Google, and Barnes and Noble. The paper book will be available in the rest of the world in May. "How Berkeley's Gardener Knows his Cherry Tree" will appear in Pacific Philosophical Quarterly. "Berkeley on Unperceived Objects and the Publicity of Language"...
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September 5, 2016

"Foundational Grounding" wins Sanders Prize

I was informed today that my paper "Foundational Grounding and the Argument from Contingency" (draft here) has been awarded the Sanders Prize in in Philosophy of Religion. This means (among other things) that a (lightly revised) version will appear in the forthcoming volume of Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion.

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August 26, 2016

Shipping Books Internationally

I have now arrived at my new position in Ireland, and am pleased to report that my books have also arrived more-or-less unscathed. I expended a good deal of time and energy over the summer figuring out how best to transport my books. In the end, the actual process of shipping them was not very difficult or frustrating; it was the lack of any good information on how to go about it that was the problem. Hence, this blog post. First, people may advise you to ship books by a freight service since they are so heavy. Generally, this only...
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Topic(s): My Life
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March 8, 2016

Trinity College Dublin

I am most pleased to announce that, beginning in the fall, I will be Ussher Assistant Professor in Berkeley Studies (Early Modern Philosophy) at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. I do believe I will be the only professor of Berkeley Studies in the world (fittingly at Trinity: Berkeley's alma mater.
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March 21, 2014

Dissertation Defended!

You may call me 'doctor' now.
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March 5, 2014

The Big Announcement

Beginning in August, I will be a Lilly Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at Valparaiso University, Valparaiso Indiana.
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February 21, 2014

Language and the Structure of Berkeley's World (Doctoral Dissertation)

The final draft of my doctoral dissertation, Language and the Structure of Berkeley's World is now complete, and available here. The defense is scheduled for March 21.
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November 29, 2011


I passed my qualifying exam today, which means I am officially ABD (all-but-dissertation)! The title of my dissertation will be "Language and the Structure of Berkeley's World." The adviser will be James Van Cleve.
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Topic(s): My Life
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September 14, 2011

Reid on Character in HPQ!

I have just officially received word that my paper, "Thomas Reid on Character and Freedom," will appear in the April 2012 issue of History of Philosophy Quarterly! Unfortunately, the journal has a moderately restrictive archival policy, so I have had to take down the online copy of the paper for now. (If I understand correctly, I can upload it to archives like philpapers and after one year, and post it to my own web-site after three.) I'll post a link to the official version when it comes out, so that if you are subscribed, or your university is, you can get to it.
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September 27, 2010

Joining the Prosblogion

I am pleased to announce that I have been invited to join The Prosblogion, the premier philosophy of religion blog! As the invite seems to have resulted largely from my series on Sobel's Logic and Theism, I suppose that, in addition to thanking the Prosblogion folks for inviting me, I should thank Jonathan for challenging me to engage seriously with an atheist writer on my blog, and Brandon for suggesting Logic and Theism as the text of choice. From now on, any serious, contentful posts on philosophy of religion (including the remainder of the Sobel series) will appear both here...
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September 21, 2010

"Leibnizian Miracles" in Pomona

I have just officially accepted an invitation to present "A Leibnizian Theory of Miracles" at the Southern California Philosophy Conference, to be held in Pomona Saturday, November 6.
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August 16, 2010

Ignorant Assertions in Pennsylvania

I've just heard that my paper, "In Defense of Ignorant Assertions" will be included in the program of the 64th Mountain-Plains Philosophy Conference, to be held at Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, PA October 15-16. Will any other philosophy bloggers be in attendance?
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March 29, 2009

Moving to USC

Today I accepted an offer of admission (with funding) from the University of Southern California School of Philosophy. As those who have been following this blog for a while know, USC was one of my top choices last year. I was encouraged to reapply by one of the professors there after very nearly making the cut last year. In addition to being very strong in my areas of interest and having an excellent placement record, USC will massively decrease my commute, offered me better funding, and will mean no longer depending on the unpredictable California state budget. All of these are good...
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I Exist!

Berkeley famously said that "to be is to be perceived." Quine's maxim was "to be is to be the value of a variable." We, however, know the truth: to be is to be a search result in Philosophers' Index...
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January 20, 2009

Topics of Thought for This Quarter

Although I only very rarely post life updates to this blog, it is my custom here to list the subjects I am studying each term because it generally has some bearing on what interesting philosophy I will be blogging about. This quarter I am taking courses on the following topics: Early Modern Social Contract Theory. Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. I am already considering a paper topic: grievances against the state. (A timely subject.) Hobbes seems to say that you can't sue a sovereign (whether sovereignty is held by an individual or a group) unless he/she/they intentionally set up a process...
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October 22, 2008

"Can Berkeley's God Raise the Same Body, Transformed?'

My paper "Can Berkeley's God Raise the Same Body, Transformed?", which is to be presented at the Society of Christian Philosophers, Pacific Division conference next week is now available on the conference web-site. I would greatly appreciate any comments or criticisms.
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August 24, 2008

I'm Back!

Ok. It looks like I'm finally back in action here. It also looks like, just as I predicted, the Internet got along just fine without me. A lot has happened in my life in the month or so that I have been away from blogging. The three biggest news items are, in chronological order: I got married The online version of "The Semantics of Sense Perception" was published I moved to Los Angeles Now that the major life changes have more or less settled down (we've been married for three weeks and in our new apartment in LA for one...
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Topic(s): My Life
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April 18, 2008

Reflections on the Philosophy Graduate Admissions Process

Well, I'm glad that's over. On Wednesday, I accepted an offer of almost full funding from the UC Irvine philosophy department. By "almost" I mean that I was waitlisted for funding and the spot I got was actually a California resident spot, so what would have been my stipend is being used to pay for the out of state tuition. This only affects the first year, since it only takes a year to establish residency in California. When I was applying and waiting anxiously and so forth, I wasn't able to find many resources online that were helpful, so I thought that I would post what I have learned...
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November 6, 2007

Official Xebra Launch Announcement

Today my employer, Hx Technologies (which, of course, does not endorse this blog in any way, shape, or form), officially announced the launch of Xebra as a free open source project available on SourceForge. Xebra is a complete platform for distributing and viewing DICOM medical images. It is written in pure Java and hence platform independent (well, at least it runs on any platform that can run Java 1.6 which unfortunately at present does not include Mac OS X). I have been working on the Xebra project on and off with one other developer for about a year and a half now...
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July 5, 2007

Paper #2: For Real This Time

Before I left last week, I sent in to Religious Studies the final draft of my paper "The Semantics of Sense Perception in Berkeley," which they have accepted for publication. The paper discusses the meaning of the "universal language of the Author of Nature" Berkeley argues for in the Essay Toward a New Theory of Vision and elsewhere. Essentially, the question I try to begin to answer is "if sense perception is a language by which God speaks to us, then what is he saying?" (I say "begin" because I have not developed a detailed semantic theory, but only offered...
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June 28, 2007

Introducing Guest-Blogger Lauren!

So, now that I've started blogging regularly again (at least for the last three days or so), I'm leaving town and going to be away from the computer for about five days. However, there is good news! This, I think, will be an excellent opportunity to hand over the reins to my lovely fiance, Lauren. (I expect she will continue to blog occasionally after I come back, but I figured this was a good time to start.) Lauren is entering her senior year at Penn, majoring in physics, math, and philosophy. She's been instructed to stick roughly to the general subject areas ordinarily discussed on this blog...
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May 22, 2007

Kenneth L. Pearce, BA BAS

You may have noticed that posting has been extremely light lately. I haven't been busy so much as disoriented. Graduation was last week (whence the title of this post!), my assorted housemates have been moving out, I've done some moving myself already, and am going to finish moving this evening. However, I'm not starting work for another few weeks, so once I get settled down in my new place and my head stops spinning, I expect there to be a flurry of postings. Here are some things you can look for over the next few weeks: I've already started writing...
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Topic(s): My Life
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April 16, 2007

Important Announcement!

So, I normally make it a rule not to post anything of a personal nature on this blog and, likewise, with one notable exception (it was snowing on the Parthenon!), not to post photos. However, as we all know, rules were made to be broken.

This is a picture of a diamond ring. The beautiful woman wearing the diamond ring is Lauren. We haven't set a date yet.
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Topic(s): My Life
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December 10, 2006

"The Life and Death of Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare

Tonight, my proposal to direct Shakespeare's "The Life and Death of Julius Caesar" was officially approved as the Underground Shakespeare Company's 2007 main fall show. Auditions will be open to all...
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Topic(s): My Life
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September 22, 2006

My First Academic Journal Paper!

Last night I received word that a paper I wrote entitled "The Ontological Status of Dreams in Berkeleian Metaphysics" has been accepted for publication by The Dualist! The paper argues that the characteristics of dream perceptions by which we, in practice, distinguish them from waking perceptions prevent dream perceptions from functioning as a language in the way Berkeley believes waking perceptions do and thus provide a principled grounding for an ontological distinction between dreams and waking life...
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May 17, 2006

The Evangelical Libertarian Classicist?

It's official! Ok, so actually it's not official, but it's true: having just submitted my last assignment for my Attic tragedy class, I have completed all of my major requirements for classical studies (Greek language and literature emphasis). One down, two to go... This is also my last assignment for my semester in Greece. On Friday I'll be heading back to Philadelphia where I will be working as a 'software engineer' for Hx Technologies this summer, then back to Penn for another year to finish up my other two majors in computer science and philosophy. There may be lighter blogging...
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Topic(s): My Life
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January 25, 2006

Greetings from Athens!

On Monday afternoon, I arrived in Athens, Greece, where I am studying this semester at DIKEMES, the International Center for Hellenic and Mediterranean Studies (the ackronym is Greek). Since "what I did to day" blogs are a pet peeve of mine, I will not be expending a great deal of effort to report my activites here. However, I do want to give my readers some idea of how this will effect my blogging. The first and most obvious result is that, as I am studying ancient Greek literature, I will be quite likely to blog a great deal more about...
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Topic(s): My Life
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November 3, 2005


I apologize for the lack of real content on this blog recently. I've been very busy working on the Underground Shakespeare Company's production of "Titus Andronicus", which opens tonight! Those of you who are at Penn (or otherwise in the Philly area) should come out and see it. Details here. Once the show is over at the end of this weekend I should hopefully have more time for everything, including blogging (once I catch up on the school work I'm getting behind on during this show). In particular, look for a post on "Creation science" in the near future.
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Topic(s): My Life
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May 7, 2005

The Future of This Blog

In case you hadn't noticed, this blog has been awefully sparse for the past few months. I had an extremely busy semester and not much time for blogging. It is now summer (that is, the spring semester of school is over), and working 40 hours a week and having Saturdays and Sundays off and not taking work home in the evenings is sounding restful. So, in this post I'd like to give some idea on what sorts of things will be influencing my topics over the course of the summer, and then comment briefly on a few issues I missed.
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December 15, 2004

Ever Wondered What Things are Like Where I Come From?

You can read about it in the Times today. This is an excellent and accurate description of what things are like in Eastern Washington (in the context of a discussion of the Washington gubernatorial election, in which, according to the Secretary of State's office, Republican Dino Rossi won the machine recount by a mere 42 votes, the closest election in Washington's history, and a manual recount is now underway). Enjoy!...
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Topic(s): My Life , Politics
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October 31, 2004

Underground Marlowe Company?

The Underground Shakespeare Company's main fall production, Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, featuring yours truly, opens this Thursday at 8PM in the rooftop lounge of Harnwell College House here at Penn. Click here for more info.
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Topic(s): My Life
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September 27, 2004

Penn HumanitiesForum/Class Schedule

A long overdue update on factors which will determine the content of my non-political postings over the next semester/year:
  1. The first meeting of the Penn Undergraduate Humanities Forum was today. I was awarded a year-long research fellowship with the Humanities Forum last spring after submitting a research proposal. This year's theme is "Sleep and Dreams" and I will be doing research on my favorite philosopher, George Berkeley to determine how his philosophy of immaterialism can deal with the fact that we perceive things in dreams which we would like to say are not real....
  2. My class schedule. I should have posted this sooner but didn't. I'm taking two philosophy class, Intro to Ancient Philosophy, and Formal Logic II. I'm also taking Greek and two courses in computer science, but it is unlikely (though not impossible) that these will inspire anything posted here...

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April 30, 2004

Penn Humanities Forum

Good news! I've been selected as an Undergraduate Fellow of the Penn Humanities Forum. As part o the humanities forum, I will be doing research on metaphysical idealism generally and George Berkeley specifically to determine how such theories can deal with dreams, and whether or not an idealist must consent that dreams have some degree of reality. I'll be working on this beginning next fall and presenting my research next spring.
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March 1, 2004

So the Underground Shakespeare Company's "Merchant of Venice" which I performed in this past weekend was decidedly successful and a lot of fun. Somewhere along the way I found myself becoming the company's webmaster. I can't take credit for the site, as most of it was already in place when I got it, but I am now working on some updates, upgrades, and revisions. Check it out at
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Topic(s): My Life
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January 2, 2004

Status Report

The Northwest is covered in massive snow! We measured the snow on the ground in our yard at seven inches this afternoon, and it is supposed to continue to fall for quite a while. I was in the Tri-Cities the last couple of days, and made it back alive. Tons of snow there too. Yesterday (Jan. 1) evening I was driving down I-82 from Richland to Pasco (going less than 35 MPH on the 70 MPH freeway) and hit black ice and spun around in circles and hit the cement dividing wall. Bent up my bumper a bit, knocked off...
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Topic(s): My Life
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December 19, 2003

Latest News

As of 3:30 yesterday (Thursday 12/18) afternoon, I am all done with finals. Hurray! The classes I just finished are Greek, Calculus, Physics, and Jewish Law and Ethics. I'll be getting home for break around 11 or 12 tomorrow (Saturday 12/20) night. I was just cast to play Lorenzo in the Underground Shakespeare Company's production of "The Merchant of Venice" next semester. Exciting! I'm flying back here to Philadelphia on January 11th. The classes I am taking next semester are History of Modern Philosophy, Aesthetics, Computer Science, and more Greek and Calculus. Merry Christmas!...
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Topic(s): My Life
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September 8, 2003

Up and Running and in Philadelphia!

So this site is finally back up again, after about two weeks fo downtime. During that time I've moved to the other side of the country, and am now up and running on my brand new computer from my dorm room at the University of Pennsylvania. I moved in on August 28 and classes started on September 3. It's great to be here, and good to have this site up and running again!...
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Topic(s): My Life
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August 18, 2003

Site Downtime/College/etc.

This site is going to go down sometime soon, probably Friday, and it may not come back up for a while. I am leaving next Tuesday (August 26th) for the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where I hope to enter the Computer and Cognitive Science program, through which I would get a degree from the School of Engineering and Applied Science in computer science and a degree in philosophy from "The College" (the arts and sciences school). I'm getting a new (much faster) computer when I get there, and it may be a little while before I get everything transferred. I'll move in and get my computer and stuff on the 28th, so look for the site to be available again any time after that. Hopefully it won't be too long.
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