New faculty member joins Philosophy Department

The Philosophy Department is pleased to welcome Patrick Connolly, who joined the Philosophy faculty this fall as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy. He was hired after an international search for a philosopher with a specialization in early modern philosophy and competence in at least one other historical period of philosophy.  Professor Connolly's primary research interests are in the history of philosophy with specific focus on John Locke, Isaac Newton, and questions about the relationship between philosophy and science in early modern Britain. In particular, his work on Locke focuses primarily on Locke's theory of ideas and on the way in which his scientific commitments were governed by a particular form of epistemic humility. Professor Connolly's work on Newton focuses primarily on his metaphysics and his views on the ontological status of absolute space and finite substances.  In addition to early modern philosophy, Connolly lists medieval philosophy, Kant, and applied ethics as areas of research and teaching interest. Connolly, who is currently an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Iowa State University, earned his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013 with a dissertation entitled "Causation and Scientific Explanation in Locke," and his MA at UNC with a thesis on "Locke's Ideational Account of Causation." He received his B.A. from Georgetown University in 2007, graduating magna cum laude with honors in Philosophy and in History.

Professor Connolly has an impressive list of publications.  Among his recent articles are “The Idea of Power and Locke’s Taxonomy of Ideas,” forthcoming in Australasian Journal of Philosophy; “Locke and the Methodology of Newton’s Principia,” forthcoming in Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie;  “Locke, Pyrard, and Coconuts: Travel Literature as Natural History,” forthcoming in Rebuilding Babel: Constructing Evidence in the Age of the New Sciences, eds. J.T.A. Lancaster and R. Raiswell (Leiden: Brill); “Maclaurin on Occasionalism: A Reply to Ablondi” Journal of Scottish Philosophy (2016) 14(1): 125-135; “Locke and the Laws of Nature,” Philosophical Studies (2015) 172(10): 2551-2564; “Lockean Superaddition and Lockean Humility,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science (2015) 51: 53-6; and “Space Before God? A Problem in Newton’s Metaphysics” Philosophy (2015)  90(1): 83-106. Connolly has also presented academic papes at nearly 30 national and international conferences, workshops, colloquia, and seminars. Of particular note are presentations at each of the three divisional meetings of the American Philosophical Association.

Professor Connolly is currently co-President of the Iowa Philosophical Society and is a founding member of the newly created John Locke Society. He is the recipient of a number of research grants, including a UNC Medieval and Early Modern Studies Research Award for research on Locke manuscripts in the Bodleian Library of Oxford University, and a Mellon Fellowship for Early Modern English Paleography Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library .

Professor Connolly, whose teaching at Iowa State and UNC has included courses in medieval philosophy, moral theory and practice, mathematetical logic, the ethics of peace, war, and defense, philoosphy or religion, and bioethics, will be teaching PHIL 105 Ethics and PHIL 116 Bioethics in the fall, and PHIL 135 Modern Philosophy in the spring.

The Lehigh Philosophy faculty is delighted that Professor Connolly has joined the Department!