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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), including Robert Boyle (1627–1691); Edward Synge (1659–1741); John Toland (1670–1722); Peter Browne (d. 1735); Henry Maul (1676-1758); Mary Barber (c. 1685-1755); Francis Hutcheson (1694–1746); Constantia Grierson (1704-1732); Laetitia Pilkington (c. 1709-1750); and John Austin (1717-1784).

The papers will address:

  • 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.

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 Papers

Refereed Papers

  • Berkeley and Previous Bishops of Cloyne on Education as Means of Conversion

    Marta Szymańska-Lewoszewska, independent scholar, Poland

  • Berkeley’s Main Criticism of Shaftesbury and Hutcheson

    Samuel Rickless, Professor of Philosophy, University of California San Diego, USA

  • Francis Hutcheson on Liberty and Self-Mastery

    Ruth Boeker, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University College Dublin, Ireland

  • From Hypatia to Serena: John Toland's Women

    Ian Leask, Lecturer in Theology and Philosophy, Dublin City University, Ireland

  • The Irish Context of Berkeley’s ‘Resemblance Thesis’

    Manuel Fasko, Doktorand in Geschichte der Philosophie, Universität Zürich, Switzerland
    Peter West, Phd Candidate and Adjunct Lecturer in Philosophy, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

  • John Austin SJ (1717-84), the First Irish Catholic Cartesian?

    Jacob Schmutz, Maître de Conferénces en Philosophie, Université Paris-Sorbonne, France

  • Peter Browne on the Metaphysics of Knowledge

    Kenneth Pearce, Ussher Assistant Professor in Berkeley Studies, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

  • Poverty and Prosperity: The Irish School of Political Economics

    Marc Hight, Elliot Professor of Philosophy, Hampden-Sydney College, USA

  • What the Dublin women of the ‘Triumfeminate’ did with John Locke

    Christine Gerrard, Professor of English Literature and Tutorial Fellow, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, UK


For More Information

Contact Kenneth Pearce,


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