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Lisa Downing

Lisa Downing

Lisa Downing




364 University Hall
230 North Oval Mall
Columbus, OH 43210

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Areas of Expertise

  • History of Modern Philosophy
  • 17th and 18th Century Natural Philosophy
  • History of Philosophy of Science


  • Ph.D. Princeton University
  • B.A. Washington University, St. Louis

How to pronounce my name: 


Prof. Downing's PhilPapers page, Academia.edu page, 3AM Magazine interview

My primary area of interest is early modern philosophy, especially the intersection between philosophy and natural philosophy in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. I have worked on early modern debates concerning mechanist conceptions of body and their justification, the status of gravity/attraction, the structure of efficient causation, and changing views of scientific explanation, among other topics. Before joining OSU, I taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, and was a fellow of the Dibner Institute for the History of Science.

Selected Publications:

  • “Locke's Metaphysics and Newtonian Metaphysics,” in Newton and Empiricism, eds. Zvi Biener and Eric Schliesser (Oxford 2014), 97-118.
  •  “Sensible qualities and material bodies in Descartes and Boyle,” in Primary and Secondary Qualities: the Historical and Ongoing Debate, ed. Larry Nolan (Oxford 2011), 109-135.
  •  “Locke’s Ontology,” in The Cambridge Companion to Locke’s Essay, ed. Lex Newman (Cambridge 2007), 352-380.
  • "Berkeley's Natural Philosophy and Philosophy of Science," in The Cambridge Companion to   Berkeley, ed. Kenneth Winkler (Cambridge 2005), 230-265.
  • "The Status of Mechanism in Locke's Essay," The Philosophical Review 107 (1998), 381-414.