Nancy Kendrick

Professor of Philosophy


Phone: 508-286-3678

Fax: 508-286-3640


Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
M.A., B.A. University of South Florida


My scholarly work has focused primarily on epistemological and metaphysical issues of the early modern period. I’ve been particularly interested in theories of causation and conceptions of human freedom and agency. Lately I’ve turned my attention to broader social and political concerns, for example, to the theories of friendship advanced by Mary Astell and Mary Wollstonecraft, and to George Berkeley’s educational projects and political theories.

I am the President of the International Berkeley Society, an academic society supporting scholars who work on George Berkeley’s philosophy. The Society hosts international conferences, provides travel grants for young scholars to participate in conferences and meetings, and assists with the Resident Scholar Program at Whitehall Museum House in Middletown, RI, Berkeley’s home from 1729-1731.

At Wheaton, I am the Faculty Director of a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation on integrative learning in the arts and humanities. The grant has funded domestic study-away programs in Honolulu, New York, Miami Beach, and Ponce, Puerto Rico. It has also supported new and transformed courses on the Wheaton campus. Read more about the programs supported by the Mellon grant.

I’m an avid cyclist and enjoy spending the summers biking in beautiful New England.


“The Visible and the Invisible: Feminist Recovery in the History of Philosophy,” co-authored with Jessica Gordon-Roth. Women and Gender Series, edited by Séverine Genieys-Kirk and Suzanne Trill (University of Nebraska Press, forthcoming 2020).

“Berkeley on Political Obligation,” in The Oxford Handbook of Berkeley, edited by Samuel Rickless (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2020).

“Marriage, Love, and Friendship,” in The Wollstonecraftian Mind, edited by Sandrine Bergès, Eileen Hunt Botting, and Alan Coffee (London and New York: Routledge, 2019), pp. 381-390.

“Recovering Early Modern Women Writers: Some Tensions,” co-authored with Jessica Gordon-Roth, Metaphilosophy, Vol. 50, No. 3 (April, 2019), pp. 268-85.

“Mary Astell’s Theory of Spiritual Friendship.” British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Vol. 26, No. 1 (January, 2018), pp. 46-65.

“Berkeley’s Bermuda Project in Context,” in B. Belfrage and R. Brooks (eds.) A New Companion to Berkeley (New York and London: Bloomsbury, 2017), pp. 21-48.

“Wollstonecraft on Marriage as Virtue Friendship,” in S. Bergès and A. Coffee (eds.) Wollstonecraft’s Social and Political Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 34-49.

“Including Early Modern Women Writers in Survey Courses: A Call to Action,” co-authored with Jessica Gordon-Roth, Metaphilosophy, Vol. 46, No. 3 (July 2015), pp. 364-79.

“Berkeley’s Bermuda Project and The Ladies Library,” in S. Charles (ed.), Berkeley Revisited: Moral, Social and Political Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2015), pp. 243-57.

“The ‘Empty Amusement’ of Willing: Berkeley on Agent Causation,” Berkeley Studies, 25 (2014), pp. 3-15. (Winner of 2015 Colin and Ailsa Turbayne International Berkeley Essay Prize).

“The Non-Christian Influence on Anselm’s Proslogion Argument,” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Vol. 69, No. 2 (2011), pp. 73-89.

“Why Hume’s Counterexample is Insignificant and Why It is Not,” British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Vol. 17, No. 5 (December 2009), pp. 955-979.

“‘Presence’ and ‘Likeness’ in Arnauld’s Critique of Malebranche.” Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Vol. XXVI (2002), pp. 205-212.

“Why Cartesian Ideas of Sense are Innate.” The Southern Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 38, No. 3 (September 2000), pp. 413-428.

“Uniqueness in Descartes’ ‘Infinite’ and ‘Indefinite’,” History of Philosophy Quarterly Vol. 15, No. 1  (January 1998), pp. 23-35.


“Critical Thinking in Times of Madness.” Invited lecture, New School for Social Research, New York, October 2019.

“Arendt and Astell on Evil and Ignorance.” Invited lecture, New School for Social Research, New York, March 2019.

“Is Mary Astell a Virtue Epistemologist?” Invited lecture at the New School for Social Research, New York, October 2018.

“Berkeley and Astell on Passive Obedience and Locke’s Social Contract.” International Berkeley Conference, Newport RI, June 2018.

“Mary Astell’s ‘female seminary’: an 18th-century City of Ladies.” Invited lecture at the New School for Social Research, New York, April 2018.

“Berkeley and Astell on Passive Obedience.” University of Minnesota, Early Modern Interest Group, March 2018.

“Astell’s Serious Proposal in Berkeley’s Ladies Library.” Invited lecture at University of Minnesota, March 2018.

“Mary Astell’s Theory of Spiritual Friendship.” Conference on Women in Early Modern Philosophy, Lehigh University, PA, October 2017.

“Friendship and Family Bonds in Wollstonecraft’s Philosophy.” Annual Conference of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, September 2017.

Panel participant: The New Historia: Digital Archive on Groundbreaking Women, The New School for Social Research, April 2017.

“Bishop Berkeley in Paradise.” Invited Lecture, Paradise Valley Lecture Series, Newport, RI, November 2016.

“Wollstonecraft on Marriage as Virtue Friendship.” Invited lecture at the New School for Social Research, New York, November 2016.

“The Visible and the Invisible: Feminist Recovery in the History of Philosophy,” Conference on Recovering Women’s Past, University of Edinburgh, September 2016.        

 “Astell and Berkeley on Passive Obedience and the Social Contract.” Invited lecture at the Locke Workshop, CUNY Graduate Center, New York, April 2016.

“Theories of Friendship: Reclaiming Women Writers,” Women’s Intellectual History, New School for Social Research, New York, September 2015.

“Berkeley’s Doctrine of Passive Disobedience,” Whitehall Museum House, Middletown, RI, August 2015.


Research Interests

  • Early Modern Philosophy
  • Metaphysics
  • Feminist History of Philosophy
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