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Deborah Boyle


Address: 16 Glebe Street, Room 200
Phone: 843.953.5687

Deborah Boyle’s primary research interests are in the history of modern philosophy.  She has published articles on Descartes and Hume, and has recently been researching the work of seventeenth-century women philosophers, including Mary Astell, Anne Conway, and Margaret Cavendish. Currently on sabbatical, she is now finishing up a book manuscript on Margaret Cavendish, as well as writing about the relationship between Hume's theory of probability and his arguments concerning the existence of God and miracles.


1999 - Ph.D., Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh
1993 - M.A., Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh
1989 - B.A., Philosophy, Wellesley College
1987-88 - Oxford University, Somerville College (junior year abroad)

Research Interests

  • History of modern philosophy
  • Descartes and Hume
  • 17th century women philosophers, Anne Conway and Margaret Cavendish


"Margaret Cavendish on Perception, Self-Knowledge, and Probable Opinion."  Philosophy Compass 10 (2015), pp. 438-450.

“Margaret Cavendish on Gender, Nature, and Freedom.”  Hypatia 28, no. 3 (Summer 2013): 516-32.

“The Ways of the Wise: Hume’s Rules of Causal Reasoning.”  Hume Studies 38, no. 2 (April 2012).

"Mary Astell and Cartesian 'Scientia.'"  In The New Science and Women's Literary Discourse: Prefiguring Frankenstein, ed. Judy Hayden (Palgrave Press).

Descartes on Innate Ideas.  London: Continuum, 2009.

"Spontaneous and Sexual Generation in Conway's Principles." In The Problem of Animal Generation in Modern Philosophy, ed. Justin E. H. Smith, 175-193.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

"Fame, Virtue, and Government: Margaret Cavendish on Ethics and Politics." Journal of the History of Ideas 67, no. 2 (April 2006).

"Margaret Cavendish's Nonfeminist Natural Philosophy." Configurations 12  (2004): 195-227.

"Hume on Animal Reason." Hume Studies 29, no.1 (April 2003): 3-28.

"Decartes on Innate Ideas." The Modern Schoolman 78 (November 2000): 35-50.

"Descartes' Natural Light Reconsidered." Journal of the History of Philosophy 37, no. 4 (October 1999).