Lewis Powell: Research

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curriculum vitae

Current Research

Hume's Account of Cognition

Building on the work done in my Dissertation, "Just Imagining Things: Hume's Conception-Based Account of Cognition", I am working to determine what tasks we might have for an account of cognition that genuinely require resources beyond those available to Hume. In his Treatise of Human Nature, Hume ambitiously seeks to reduce all activities of the understanding to different manners of conceiving of objects. My interpretive strategy is to begin with Thomas Reid's criticisms of Hume's system, aiming towards a qualified defense of Hume's account of cognition.

Early Modern Philosophy of Language

The period from Hobbes through Mill witnessed an impressive array of developments in the philosophy of language, despite the fact that few figures treated such issues as central to their philosophical thinking. My immediate focus is John Locke's communication-oriented view of Language, from book III ("Of Words") in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, but I am also interested in the views on language developed by George Berkeley, Thomas Reid, and Adam Smith.

Other Research Interests

As noted, my primary areas of interest are in the history of early modern philosophy (especially David Hume, but also Nicolas Malebranche, John Locke, George Berkeley, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, and Thomas Reid). I also have substantial interests in contemporary issues pertaining to philosophy of language, epistemology, and metaethics.

I also have a recent interest in learning a great deal more about early modern women, such as Anne Conway, Margaret Cavendish, and Damaris Masham, Lady Cudworth.

My Publications

Additional Links

Visit: Horseless Telegraph, my personal philosophy blog

Visit: The Mod Squad, the group blog in Modern Philosophy

Visit: My PhilPapers Profile

Visit: My Academia.edu site

Download: My Curriculum Vitae (pdf)