Who is kevin?

I am currently the William H. Jellema Chair of Christian Philosophy at Calvin College. I work primarily on the metaphysics of free will, philosophy of religion, virtue ethics, and philosophy of disability.

Other work

In addition to my scholarly work, I'm increasingly becoming an advocate for children with disabilities.
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Questions concerning free will are intertwined with issues in almost every area of philosophy, from metaphysics to philosophy of mind to moral philosophy, and are also informed by work in different areas of science (principally physics, neuroscience and social psychology). Free will is also a perennial concern of serious thinkers in theology and in non-western traditions. Because free will can be approached from so many different perspectives and has implications for so many debates, a comprehensive survey needs to encompass an enormous range of approaches. This book is the first to draw together leading experts on every aspect of free will, from those who are central to the current philosophical debates, to non-western perspectives, to scientific contributions and to those who know the rich history of the subject.


Concerns both about the nature of free will and about the credibility of theistic belief and commitment have long preoccupied philosophers. In addition, there can be no denying that the history of philosophical inquiry into these two issues has been dynamic and, at least to some degree, integrated. In a great many cases, classical treatments of one have influenced classical treatments of the other--and in a variety of ways. Without pretending to be able to trace all the historical integrations of these treatments, there is no real question that these philosophical interrelations exist and are worthy of further exploration. In addition, contemporary discussions contain more than a few hints of suspicion that theistic belief is adversely affecting the purity of inquiry into contours of human free will.


Virtues and Their Vices is the only extant contemporary, comprehensive treatment of specific virtues and, where applicable, their competing vices. Each of the essays, written exclusively for this volume, not only locates discussion of that virtue in its historical context, but also advances the discussion and debate concerning the understanding and role of the virtues. Each of the first four sections focuses on a particular, historically important class of virtues: the cardinal virtues, the capital vices (or 'seven deadly sins') and the corrective virtues, intellectual virtues, and the theological virtues. The final section discusses the role virtue theory and the virtues themselves play in a number of disciplines, ranging from theology and political theory to neurobiology and feminism. The treatment of the virtues in this present volume is sensitive to the historical heritage of the virtues, including their theological heritage, without paying undue attention to the historical and theological issues. Virtues and Their Vices engages contemporary philosophical scholarship as well as relevant scholarship from related disciplines throughout. It is a unique and compelling addition to the philosophical treatment of the virtues as well as their import in a wide spectrum of disciplines..


Free Will in Philosophical Theology takes the most recent philosophical work on free will and uses it to elucidate and explore theological doctrines involving free will. Rather than being a work of natural theology, it is a work in what has been called clarification—using philosophy to understand, develop, systematize, and explain theological claims without first raising the justification for holding the theological claims that one is working with. My primary aim is to show how a particular philosophical account of the nature of free will—an account known as source incompatibilism—can help us understand a range of theological doctrines.

"This is a splendid contribution to the literature on free will. Set in the borderlands between philosophy and theology, Timpe’s work shows how a substantial vision of free will can be integrated into a robust account of sin and grace. The concepts deployed are clear, the arguments articulated are felicitous, and the overall result is a book worthy of our closest attention."

— Billy Abraham (SMU)

Free Will: Sourcehood and Its Alternatives, 2nd and expanded edition
"Timpe's Free Will: Sourcehood and Its Alternatives is a very fine book that is highly recommended for anyone interested in the contemporary debates about free will and moral responsibility. Timpe is remarkably well-versed in the literature, and the book makes many intriguing and illuminating contributions."

— John Martin Fischer (University of California Riverside)

Much contemporary scholarship on free will focuses on whether it is compatible with causal determinism. According to compatibilists, it is possible for an agent to be determined in all her choices and actions and still be free. Incompatibilists, on the other hand, think that the existence of free will is incompatible with the truth of determinism. There are two dominant general conceptions of the nature of free will. According to the first of these, free will is primarily a function of being able to do otherwise than one in fact does. On this view, free will centrally depends upon alternative possibilities. The second approach focuses instead on issues of sourcehood, holding that free will is primarily a function of an agent being the source of her actions in a particular way.

"This book provides an excellent overview of key developments in the last thirty-five years of free will debates, but it is no mere history or summary.... This book is a valuable contribution to the current literature on free will; anyone interested in that topic would do well to read it."

— C. P. Ragland (Saint Louis University)

Free Will demarcates these two different conceptions free will, explores the relationship between them, and examines how they relate to the debate between compatibilists and incompatibilists. It ultimately argues for a version of Source Incompatibilism.

Arguing about Religion

Arguing about Religion (Routledge, 2009) brings together primary readings from over 40 of the world's leading contemporary philosophers of religion. Covering a broad range of issues, the volume is divided into six parts: methodological issues in philosophy of religion, God's nature and existence, evil and divine hiddenness, providence and interaction, the afterlife, and religion and contemporary life.

"This collection fits perfectly with the aim of Routledge's 'Arguing About...' series: it brings together excellent essays on central issues in the philosophy of religion, but the topics and essays are fresher and perhaps a bit edgier than those in a 'standard' philosophy of religion anthology. The book is at the same time an accurate representation of the cutting edge of the field at this point and also a challenging, probing, and provocative collection. Highly recommended!"

— John Martin Fischer (University of California Riverside)

Metaphysics and God

Metaphysics and God (Routledge, 2009) is a collection of 14 original contributions by leading scholars focusing on contemporary issues in the philosophy of religion. The essays engage and honor Eleonore Stump's seminal contributions to the discipline.

"A worthy tribute to a scholar who has given so much to the field."

— Travis Dumsday (European Journal of Philosophy of Religion)

"Eleonore Stump is one of the most penetrating, creative, humanly sensitive, and rigorous philosophers of religion on the current scene. She deserves the very best of honors for her labors; this collection of essays is fully worthy of her stature and work."

— William Abraham (Notre Dame Philosophical Review)

"A worthy tribute to a scholar who has given so much to the field."

— Travis Dumsday (European Journal of Philosophy of Religion)

Select Articles/Book Chapters

"Leeway vs. Sourcehood Approaches," in the Routledge Companion to Free Will, ed. Meghan Griffith, Neil Levy, and Kevin Timpe (PDF)

"Introduction to Free Will and Theism" (with Dan Speak), forthcoming in Free Will and Theism: Connections, Contingencies, and Concerns, ed. Kevin Timpe and Dan Speak (PDF)

“God’s Freedom, God’s Character,"  in Free Will and Theism: Connections, Contingencies, and Concerns, ed. Kevin Timpe and Dan Speak (PDF)

"Free Will and Naturalism: How to be a Libertarian and a Naturalist Too" (with Jon Jacobs), forthcoming in The Blackwell Companion to Naturalism, ed. by Kelly James Clark (PDF)

“Freedom and the Incarnation” (with Timothy Pawl), Philosophy Compass 11.11 (2016) (PDF)

"An Argument for Limbo,” Journal of Ethics 19 (2015): 277–292 (PDF)

"Free Will and the Stages of Theological Anthropology" (with Audra Jenson), in Ashgate Research Companion to Theological Anthropology, ed. by Joshua Farris and Charles Taliaferro (PDF)

"The Best Thing in Life is Free: The Compatibility of Divine Freedom and God’s Essential Moral Perfection” in Free Will and Classical Theism: The Significance of Freedom in Perfect Being Theology, ed. Hugh McCann (PDF)

"Cooperative Grace, Cooperative Agency," European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 7.3 (2015): 225-247 (PDF)

"On Analytic Theology," Scientia et Fides 3.2 (2015:1-13) (PDF)

"'This is Water' and Religious Self-deception," in Gesturing Towards Reality: David Foster Wallace and Philosophy, ed. by Robert Bolger and Scott Korb (Continuum, 2014): 53-69 (PDF)

"Trust, Silence, and Liturgical Acts," in Skeptical Theism: New Essays, ed. by Trent Dougherty and Justin McBrayer (OUP, 2014): 264-275 (PDF)

"Envy and Its Discontents" (with Timothy Perrine) in Virtues and Their Vices, ed. by Kevin Timpe and Craig Boyd (OUP, 2014) (PDF)

"Heavenly Freedom: A Reply to Cowan" (with Tim Pawl), Faith and Philosophy 30.2 (2013): 188-197. (PDF)

“The Arbitrariness of the Primal Sin,” in Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion, volume 5, ed. Jonathan Kvanvig (Oxford University Press, 2013) (PDF)

"An Introduction to Neo-Classical Theism," in Models of God and Other Ultimate Realities, ed. by Jeanine Diller and Asa Kasher (Springer, 2013) (PDF)

"An Analogical Approach to Divine Freedom," Proceedings of the Irish Philosophical Society (2012) (PDF)

"Tracing and the Epistemic Condition on Moral Responsibility," Modern Schoolman (2011) (PDF)

"Free Will," in The Continuum Companion to Metaphysics, ed. by Neil A. Manson and Bob Barnard (Continuum, 2011). (PDF)

"Demotivating Semicompatibilism," Ideas y Valores 141 (2009): 5-20. (PDF)

"Incompatibilism, Sin, and Free Will in Heaven" (with Tim Pawl), Faith and Philosophy 26.4 (2009): 398-419. (PDF)

"Causal History Matters, but not for Individuation," Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39.1 (2009): 77-91. (PDF)

"Truthmaking and Divine Eternity," Religious Studies 43.3 (2007): 299-315. (PDF)

"Grace and Controlling what We Do Not Cause," Faith and Philosophy 24.3 (2007): 284-299. (PDF)

"Source Incompatibilism and its Alternatives," American Philosophical Quarterly 44.2 (2007): 143-155. (PDF)

"Moral Character," Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2007). (online here)

"The Dialectic Role of the Flickers of Freedom," Philosophical Studies 131.2 (2006): 337-368. (PDF)

"A Critique of Frankfurt-Libertarianism," Philosophia 34.2 (2006): 189-202. (PDF)

"Free Will," Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2006). (online here)

"Prayers for the Past," Religious Studies 41.3 (2005): 305-322. (PDF)

“Executive Function, Disability, and Agency,” Res Philosophica, special issue on “Philosophy of Disability,” 93.4 (forthcoming in 2016) (PDF)

Select Book Reviews

Review of Manuel Vargas's Building Better Beings, in Ethics 124.4 (2014): 926-931. (PDF)

Review of Meghan Griffith's Free Will: the basics, in Philosophy in Review 33.5 (2013): 378-80. (PDF)

Review of Stewart Goetz''s Freedom, Teleology, and Evil, in European Journal for Philosophy of Religion. (PDF)

Review of Michael Zimmerman's Living with Uncertainty: The Moral Significance of Ignorance, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. Review of Michael Rea, ed., Analytic Theology: New Essays in the Philosophy of Theology, in Religious Studies 46 (2010): 16-23. (online here)

Review of Fischer, Kane, Pereboom, and Vargas's Four Views on Free Will, in Social Theory and Practice 35.2 (2009): 319-326. (PDF)

Select Works in Progress

"Disability and Moral Agency" (PDF)

"Well-being, Agency, & Disability" (online here)

Disability, Virtue, and Happiness" (PDF)


Videos and Lectures

Here are links to a few videos (or sound files) of a few lectures, presentations, and other talks I've given in public:

Jellema Chair Inaugural Lecture (Calvin College, 2016)

Some videos I recorded for the PBS show "Closer to Truth":

Tips for Doing Well in Classes


Download my CV here          |          Phone: 616.526.6488          |          Email:

Mailing Address:
Department of Philosophy
Calvin College
Hiemenga Hall 341
1845 Knollcrest Circle SE
Grand Rapids, MI, 49546-4402
Download my CV here

Phone: 208.467.8848


Mailing Address:
Department of Philosophy
Northwest Nazarene University
Williams Hall
623 S. University Avenue
Nampa, ID 83686

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