Professor of Philosophy

Lynn Joy

A.B., Harvard University
A.M., Harvard University
Ph.D., Harvard University (1982)

Areas of Expertise: Modern Philosophy, Early Modern Science and Its Relations to Ancient Greek Natural Philosophy, History of Philosophy of Science


  • Gassendi the Atomist: Advocate of History in an Age of Science (1987/2002)
  • Dispositions and Intentionality in the Humean Tradition (in progress). This book analyzes changing concepts of dispositions in the history of science and philosophy, focusing on key episodes in which both Hume's own and certain more recent neo-Humeans' relational accounts of natural and moral dispositions have competed with rival causal power accounts of dispositions.  These rival accounts include the causal power accounts of Boyle, Locke, and Newton, as well as those of contemporary theorists like Nancy Cartwright, Brian Ellis, and George Molnar.  This study also investigates how Hume as well as the neo-Humeans have developed standpoints in the philosophy of mind and ethics that focus on both the dispositional and intentional aspects of beliefs, motives, and actions.

Recent Articles:

  • "Necessity, Contingency, and the Natural in Modern Science" (1997)
  • "Did Natural Law and Equal Expectation Guarantee the Rationality of Belief?" (1998)
  • "Scientific Explanation from Formal Causes to Laws of Nature" (2006)
  • "Dispositional Explanations: Boyle's Problem, Newton's Solution, Hume's Response" (2012)
  • "The Ineliminability of Dispositions in Hume's Rejection of Causal Powers" (2013)

Office: 306 Malloy