Sydney Penner, Ph.D. – Asbury University
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Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Department: Christian Studies & Philosophy

Office: Morrison 109

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Biographical Information

I came to Asbury in 2013 after doctoral work at Cornell University and postdoctoral research at Merton College, Oxford. My research focuses on late medieval and early modern philosophy, especially the rather neglected philosopher of the Spanish Golden Age, Francisco Suárez. My philosophical interests range widely from ethics to epistemology to philosophical theology to metaphysics.

Nor are my interests limited to philosophy. As a farmer-scholar, I will also happily talk about the virtues of southern peas or about which varieties of peppers taste best. Or about what’s wrong with the agricultural economy (slightly less happily about that one). Or about birds (if we include the cross country trails, I’ve seen over a hundred species on campus). Or about God’s “inordinate fondness for beetles.”


  • Ph.D., Philosophy, Cornell University
  • B.A., History and Philosophy, Yale University
  • A.A., Biblical Studies, Rosedale Bible College

Courses Recently Taught at Asbury

  • LA 100: Liberal Arts Seminar
  • PHL 200: Introduction to Philosophy
  • PHL 211: Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
  • PHL 212: Modern Philosophy
  • PHL 231: Ethics
  • PHL 293: Ethics Seminar with Lab
  • PHL 343: Political and Social Philosophy
  • PHL 393: Believing Responsibly
  • PHL 411: Philosophical Theology

Selected Publications

  • “Making Use of the Testimonies: Suárez and Grotius on Natural Law,” Grotiana 41 (2020): 108-36
  • “Debates about the Will and Its Freedom,” in Philosophy of Mind in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance, edited by Stephan Schmid (London: Routledge, 2019), 144-64
  • “Early Modern Scotists and Eudaimonism: The Affection for Advantage and the Affection for Justice,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 93.2 (2019): 227-50
  • “Suárez on Substantial Forms: A Heroic Last Stand?,” in Francisco Suárez (1548-1617): Jesuits and the Complexities of Modernity, edited by Robert Aleksander Maryks and Juan Antonio Senent de Frutos (Leiden: Brill, 2019), 46-71
  • “Four Kinds of Intention: Actual, Habitual, Virtual, and Interpretative,” Pensamiento 74 (2018): 91-121
  • “Free Will,” in The Routledge Companion to Sixteenth Century Philosophy, edited by Benjamin Hill and Henrik Lagerlund (New York: Routledge, 2017), 493-515
  • “Why Do Medieval Philosophers Reject Polyadic Accidents?,” in The Metaphysics of Relations, edited by Anna Marmodoro and David Yates (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 55-79
  • “Final Causality: Suárez on the Priority of Final Causation,” in Suárez on Aristotelian Causality, edited by Jakob Leth Fink (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 121-48
  • “Francisco Suárez (1548-1617),” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by James Fieser and Bradley Dowden (2015)
  • “Free and Rational: Suárez on the Will,” Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 95, no. 1 (2013): 1-35
  • “Suárez on the Reduction of Categorical Relations,” Philosophers’ Imprint, 13, no. 2 (2013): 1-24
  • “Rodrigo de Arriaga on Relations,” The Modern Schoolman 89, no. 1-2 (2012): 25-46
  • “Swiss Anabaptists and the Miraculous,” Mennonite Quarterly Review 80 (2006): 207-28

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