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Irish Philosophy in the Age of Berkeley

The Irish Philosophy in the Age of Berkeley conference will take place in the Trinity Long Room Hub Neill Lecture Theatre on 5 and 6 April, 2019.

George Berkeley’s Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710) and Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous (1713) are standard texts in the philosophy curricula of most European and American universities. No other Irish philosopher, and no other work of Berkeley’s, has achieved this ‘canonical’ status. However, there was a vibrant philosophical scene in Ireland in Berkeley’s lifetime, to which Berkeley was far from the only contributor. Studying this broader Irish philosophical discussion will improve our understanding of Berkeley and also of early modern philosophy more generally.

The Irish Philosophy in the Age of Berkeley conference will include general exploration of the intellectual culture of early modern Ireland as well as examination of specific thinkers with significant connections to Ireland active during Berkeley’s lifetime (1685–1753). Such figures include Katherine Jones, Lady Ranelagh (1615–1691); Robert Boyle (1627–1691); Michael Moore (c. 1639-1726); William King (1650–1729); William Molyneux (1656–1698); Edward Synge (1659–1741); Jonathan Swift (1667–1745); John Toland (1670–1722); Peter Browne (d. 1735); and Francis Hutcheson (1694–1746).

The conference hopes to include papers addressing:

  • The Irish context of Berkeley’s philosophy.
  • The philosophical work of other Irish thinkers active during Berkeley’s lifetime.
  • The reception within Ireland of other philosophical figures, ideas, and movements.
  • The reception of Irish philosophy outside Ireland.

Particular preference will be given to papers that address figures and/or topics outside the currently recognized philosophical ‘canon’, including the work of early modern women.

Papers presented at the conference will be published as part of the Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements series, Cambridge University Press.

Participants and attendees may also be interested in attending Berkeleian Minds: Will and Understanding, to be held at the University of York on 2 and 3 April.

Invited Speakers

Travel Bursaries

Some financial support is available for presenters who do not have adequate funds available through their institutions, or are currently unaffiliated. The available funds will be distributed solely on the basis of need. Child and dependent care costs incurred as a result of travel to the conference will be considered eligible travel costs.

Additionally, the International Berkeley Society will provide a travel grant in the amount of $200 (USD) to a current postgraduate student presenting at the conference.

Submit an Abstract

Scholars in any discipline are invited to submit abstracts of papers to be presented at the conference. Approximately nine papers will be selected.

Abstracts should be submitted by email to by 15 October, 2018. Abstracts should be about 750 words in length, in PDF or MS Word format and should be prepared for anonymous review. Please include the words “IPAB Submission” in the subject line, and include your full name, institutional affiliation, and academic rank in the body of your email. Scholars wishing to be considered for travel bursaries should also include a description of the travel funds (if any) available to them from other sources. Scholars who expect to encounter additional travel expenses (such as expenses for child or dependent care) should specify this as well. We expect to make decisions by December 2018 and will notify all submitters by email.

Paper sessions will be 50 minutes in length, including discussion. Papers should therefore have a reading time of 30-40 minutes.


For More Information

Contact Kenneth Pearce,


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