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

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Prof. Downing's PhilPapers page, 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.