Alan Nelson works primarily in early modern philosophy. This year he is teaching a graduate course on Leibniz and co-teaching another on classics of analytic philosophy. In recent years, Nelson has directed dissertations on Leibniz, Spinoza, Newton, Berkeley, Hume, Mental Causation, Descartes, and Locke.
Representative publications include: “Cartesian Actualism in the Leibniz-Arnauld Correspondence,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy(1993); “How Could Scientific Facts be Socially Constructed?” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science (1994); “Micro-chaos and Idealization in Cartesian Physics,” Philosophical Studies (1995); “The Falsity in Sensory Ideas: Descartes and Arnauld,” Interpreting Arnauld,ed. by Kremer (1996. U. of Toronto Press); “Descartes’ Ontology of Thought,” Topoi (1997); “Circumventing Cartesian Circles,” (with Lex Newman) Noûs (1999); “Cognition and Modality in Descartes,” (with David Cunning) Acta Philosophica Fennica (1999); “Cartesian Innateness,” A Companion to Descartes ed. by Broughton and Carriero (2008, Blackwell); “Divisibility and Cartesian Extension,” (with Kurt Smith) Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, 2010: 1-24; “Qualities and Simple Ideas: Hume and his Debt to Berkeley” (with David Landy) in Primary and Secondary Qualities ed by Nolan (2011, Oxford UP); “How ManyWorlds?,” British Journal for History of Philosophy (2011); “The Structure of Cartesian Sensations,” Analytic Philosophy, (2013); “Philosophical Systems and their History” in Philosophy and its History, ed. by Laerke, Smith, and Schliesser, (2013, Oxford UP); “Descartes’ Dualism and its Relation to Spinoza’s Metaphysics,” The Cambridge Companion to Descartes’ Meditations,(2014, Cambridge UP; “The Problem of True Ideas in Spinoza’s Treatise,” (2015) in The Young Spinoza. Y. Melamed, (ed.) OUP; “Cartesian Circle” and “Ideas” forthcoming 2015 inThe Cambridge Descartes Lexicon, L. Nolan, ed., Cambridge UP; “Early Modern Theories of Truth,” forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Truth. M. Glanzberg (ed.) OUP.