Deborah Boyle


Address: 16 Glebe Street, Room 200
Phone: 843.953.5687

Deborah Boyle's CV

My research focuses on women philosophers in the history of early modern and modern philosophy. I am the author of Mary Shepherd: A Guide (Oxford University Press, 2023), The Well-Ordered Universe: The Philosophy of Margaret Cavendish (Oxford University Press, 2018), and Descartes on Innate Ideas (Continuum, 2009), as well as the editor of Lady Mary Shepherd: Selected Writings (Imprint, 2018) and of Margaret Cavendish's Philosophical Letters, Abridged (Hackett, 2021). I have also published articles and book chapters on Cavendish, Shepherd, Elizabeth Hamilton, Anne Conway, and Mary Astell. I am currently researching the work of Scottish women novelists and playwrights who have not previously been characterized as philosophers but whose works contain significant philosophical content: Jean Marischall, Elizabeth Hamilton, and Joanna Baillie.

I also do research on the work of David Hume, particulary on his views regarding human and animal reasoning and animal ethics.

I have been the editor of the Journal of the History of Philosophy since July 2020.

In 2022, I was awarded the College of Charleston's Distinguished Research Award.




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)


 "Elizabeth Hamilton's Memoirs of Philophers as a Philosophical Text." British Journal for the History of Philosophy (2021),

“Mary Shepherd on the Meaning of 'Life'." British Journal for the History of Philosophy, special issue on Women Philosophers of the Nineteeth Century (2020),

"A Mistaken Attribution to Lady Mary Shepherd." Journal of Modern Philosophy 2, no.1 (June 2020),

"Mary Shepherd on Mind, Soul, and Self." Journal of the History of Philosophy 58, no. 1 (January 2020): 93-112.

“Feminism and Early Modern Philosophy.” Forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Philosophy, ed. Ásta Sveinsdottir and Kim Q. Hall.

“Informed by ‘Sense and Reason’: Margaret Cavendish’s Theorizing about Perception.” The Senses and the History of Philosophy, ed. Brian R. Glenney and Filipe Pereira da Silva. Routledge, 2019.

 “Hume and Animal Ethics.”  The Humean Mind, ed. Angela Coventry and Alex Sager, pp. 470-480. London: Routledge, 2019.

“Margaret Cavendish.” Oxford Bibliographies Online. (September 2018).

 Mary Shepherd: Selected Writings (Library of Scottish Philosophy Series). Exeter: Imprint Academic, 2018.

“Expanding the Canon of Scottish Philosophy: The Case for Adding Mary Shepherd.” The Journal of Scottish Philosophy 15 no. 3 (2017): 275-93.

 “Margaret Cavendish on the Eternity of Created Matter.” In Early Modern Women on Metaphysics, ed. Emily Thomas, pp. 111-130. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

 “Freedom and Necessity in the Work of Margaret Cavendish.” In Women and Liberty 1600-1800, ed. Jacqueline Broad and Karen Detlefsen, pp. 141-162. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

 "Margaret Cavendish on Perception, Self-Knowledge, and Probable Opinion.” Philosophy Compass 10, no. 7 (July 2015): 438-450.

 The Well-Ordered Universe: The Philosophy of Margaret Cavendish. New York: Oxford Univeristy Press. (2018)

“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).