We’re pleased to see the announcement of an upcoming conference on William Molyneux of Dublin (1656-98). William Molyneux was a very good friend of Locke’s. Locke considered him the best person to discussion philosophy with, and it was “the Learned and Worthy Mr. Molineux” who gave Locke the famous Molyneux problem reported in the 2nd edition of the Essay (II.ix.8). It is no surprise to see that discussion of the Molyneux problem will occur. But so too will Molyneux and Locke’s views of Toland. (See the schedule and description below.) It looks like an interesting conference and if you are near St Audoen’s Church, Dublin you should check it out.


10.00 am Welcome
Darrell Jones (Trinity College Dublin)

10.15 am Guided Tour
Neil Moxham (Office of Public Works)

11.00 am Panel 1
Sue Hemmens (Marsh’s Library Dublin), ‘“The Dimensions of Furnaces”: The Chymical Explorations of the Molyneux Brothers’
Kenneth Pearce (Trinity College Dublin), ‘Molyneux’s Problem in the History of Philosophy’
Louise Richardson (University of York), ‘Molyneux’s Question in Contemporary Philosophy and Psychology’
Chair: Daniel Carey (NUI Galway)

1.45 pm Panel 2
Ian Leask (Dublin City University), ‘“A Matter of Dangerous Consequence”: Molyneux and Locke on Toland’
James Wood (University of East Anglia), TBC
Marie Léoutre (University College Dublin), ‘An Answer to Molyneux’s Case of Ireland’
Chair: Ruth Boeker (University College Dublin)

3.15 pm Keynote Lecture
Patrick Kelly (Trinity College Dublin), ‘Ambivalent Patriot: William Molyneux and the Art of Rhetoric’
Chair: Ivar McGrath (University College Dublin)

4.45 pm Close
Darrell Jones (Trinity College Dublin)


William Molyneux of Dublin (1656-1698) left an extraordinary legacy to the Irish and European Enlightenments. He was a pioneering practitioner of observational and experimental science; the inventor of one of the seminal problems in the history of Western philosophy; and the author of one of the foundational texts on Irish parliamentary autonomy. Molyneux’s intellectual and political activity influenced the development of Irish institutions from Trinity College Dublin and the Royal Dublin Society to Henry Grattan’s ‘Patriot’ House of Commons, and shaped the imaginations of major European thinkers from Locke and Leibniz to Berkeley, Voltaire, and Diderot. This special event takes place in the beautiful surroundings of St Audoen’s Church in Dublin, where Molyneux practised his Anglican faith and is buried. It brings together for the very first time local historians and academic specialists from Ireland, Europe, and North America, in order to explore the nature and implications of Molyneux’s remarkable life and career in science, philosophy, and politics. All are invited, and interested members of the public are particularly welcome. For more information and to register free of charge, please contact Darrell Jones: jonesd4@tcd.ie. Photograph by J.-H. Janßen.