BISHOP GEORGE BERKELEY was born in Kilkenny, Ireland, on 12 March 1685. He made important contributions in the fields of philosophy, mathematics, and economics. He is especially famous as the author of the philosophical theory known as "immaterialism." He died in Oxford, England, on 14 January 1753.

THE INTERNATIONAL BERKELEY SOCIETY (founded in 1975) holds meetings, conferences, and symposia, and publishes the results of scholarly research on both sides of the Atlantic and brings attention and information, both old and new, about George Berkeley and his works.

President: Stephen Daniel (Texas A&M University)

Past President: Lou Alfonso (Rhode Island College, emeritus)

Vice-President: Timo Airaksinen (University of Helsinki)

Secretary-Treasurer: Nancy Kendrick (Wheaton College, Massachusetts)

Membership Secretary: Genevieve Migely (Cornell College, Iowa)

Philosophy Associations Coordinator: Margaret Atherton (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)

Archivist: Maureen Lapan (North Kingston, RI)


Forthcoming Discussion Venues and Conferences

·     28th December 2006, 5:15-7:15, Washington, D.C., American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division meeting, Marriott Wardman Hotel, McKinley Room

IBS-sponsored session: “Mind and Language in Berkeley” (Chair: Margaret Atherton, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)

·        Genevieve Migely (Cornell College, Iowa) “Berkeley’s Actively Passive Mind”

Commentator: Timo Airaksinen (University of Helsinki)

·        Seth Bordner (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), “Word and Object in Berkeley

Commentator: Marc Hight (Hampden-Sydney College, Virginia)

·     Conference: 6th-9th August 2007, Department of Philosophy, University of Helsinki, Finland

In anticipation of the 300th anniversaries of Berkeley’s Essay towards a New Theory of Vision (1709), Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710), and Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous (1713), distinguished international scholars will gather for an IBS-sponsored conference on Berkeley at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Helsinki August 6-9, 2007. For more information, please contact one of the organizers:

Timo Airaksinen

Department of Philosophy

University of Helsinki

Helsinki, Finland


Bertil Belfrage

Villan, S-57162

Bodafors, Sweden

Ville Paukkonen

Department of Philosophy

University of Helsinki

Helsinki, Finland


·     Conference: 27th-29th September 2007, Gaeta, Italy, sponsored by the University of Cassino

George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne (1685-1753), was considered “the most engaging and useful man in Ireland in the eighteenth century.” This hyperbolic statement refers both to Berkeley’s life and thought; in fact, he always felt himself a pioneer called to think and do new things. He was the author of a new theory of vision, of the celebrated “new principle” of immaterialism, of a “new argument” to prove the existence of God, of a bold criticism of Newtonian infinitesimals, of a “new method of indivisibles,” of new proposals to improve Irish economy, of a novel panacea (i.e., tar-water). Moreover, he was a very active Christian, one of the most progressive landowners in Southern Ireland, a zealous bishop always residing in his diocese. He planned the foundation of St. Paul’s College in Bermuda for the religious and philosophical education of the natives. Berkeley was an empiricist well versed in the sciences, an amateur of the mechanical arts, spending many hours in the foundries learning metallurgical techniques.


The University of Cassino is organizing a three-day international conference (27-29 September 2007) on Berkeley’s contributions to various scientific disciplines, in the context of eighteenth-century science, philosophy and religion.


Junior scholars without home institutional funding whose papers are accepted for presentation will have their travel and lodging costs covered by the University of Cassino. Senior scholars will be asked to have their home institutions contribute their travel and lodging costs. There will, however, be a fund in order to provide subventions for those whose home institutions cannot cover the full amount.


Those involved in the scholarly study of the subject are welcome to submit abstracts for proposed 30-minute presentations. The deadline for the receipt of abstracts is 31 August 2006. Send abstracts or questions to the conference organizer:


Silvia Parigi

University of Cassino



Recent conferences

  • 5th-8th September 2005 , Department of Philosophy, University of Tartu, Estonia


The conference, organised by Bertil Belfrage and Roomet Jakapi, brought together scholars from around the world in anticipation of the 300th anniversary of Berkeley’s Essay towards A New Theory of Vision (1709), The Principles of Human Knowledge (1710), Passive Obedience (1712), and Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous (1713). Presentations included the following:


·        Bertil Belfrage, Bodafors, Sweden, “The Biased Presentation of Berkeley’s Works

·        Tom Jones, Saint Andrews, “Towards a New Biography of Berkeley”

·        Geneviève Brykman, Paris X-Nanterre, “Evil and God’s Providence in Berkeley”

·        Roomet Jakapi, Tartu, “Passive Obedience and the Law of Nature”

·        Timo Airaksinen, Helsinki, “Berkeley’s Corpuscular Theories in Siris

·        Talia Bettcher, California State/Los Angeles, “Berkeley on the Privacy of Sensible Ideas”

·        Marc Hight, Hampden-Sydney, “Berkeley on Ideas, ‘Fleeting, indeed, and changeable’ ”

·        Jørgen Huggler, Copenhagen, “‘I refute it thus!’: An Account of Zinkernagel’s and Favrholdt’s Reception of Berkeley”

·        Margaret Atherton, Wisconsin/Milwaukee, “Berkeley and Locke on Real Knowledge”

·        Wolfgang Breidert, Karlsruhe, “Prejudice and Suggestion”

·        Robert Schwartz, Wisconsin/Milwaukee, “What Berkeley Sees in the Man Born Blind”

·        Michael Allers, Michigan, “A Worry About Divine Perception in Berkeley”

·        Stephen Daniel, Texas A&M, “The Berkeley-Leibniz Relation”

·        Charles McCracken, Michigan State (emeritus), “Leibniz and Berkeley on ‘Body’”

·        Laurent Jaffro, Blaise Pascal, “Ferrier’s Reading of Berkeley: A Reappraisal of Reidian Historiography”

·        Tom Stoneham, York, “Berkeley’s ‘Esse is Percipi’ and Collier’s ‘Simple’ Argument”

·        Georges Dicker, SUNY Brockport, “Anti-Berkeley”

·        Miles MacLeod, Utrecht, “The Formalist Interpretation of Berkeley’s Philosophy of Mathematics”

·        Richard Brook, Bloomsburg (emeritus), “Berkeley and Husserl on Geometrical Demonstrations”

·        Luc Peterschmitt, Lille III, “Berkeley and Natural Philosophy: The ‘Problem’ of Chemistry”


·        7th-9th November 2003, Irish Philosophical Society/Kilkenny Berkeley Society, Kilkenny, Ireland

“Celebrating Berkeley, Kilkenny’s World Philosopher” consisted of a series of talks and excursions in and around Kilkenny city and county. Events included slide shows on excavations at Dysart Castle (Berkeley’s boyhood home) and Berkeley's stay in the Rhode Island, two presentations on Berkeley’s philosophy, readings from his works at Saint John’s Church, a banquet, and trips to Dysart Castle and Dunmore Cave.

  • 20th-23rd October 2003, Department of Philosophy at the University of Rennes


An event to mark the 250th anniversary of Berkeley's death took place at the University of Rennes, from 20th-23rd October 2003. The organisers received distinguished scholars from many countries and universities, who gave, between them, a diversified account of the relevance today of Berkeley’s various contributions within a wide range of disciplines--from philosophy to mathematics and empirical psychology and from theology to political economy and monetary policy. The organisers, of course, had the full cooperation of the IBS. The Conference took place at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Rennes, in collaboration with the Department of Philosophy of the University of Nantes and it was organized by Dominique Berlioz and Bertil Belfrage.


Back row, left to right: Ray Houghton, Georges Dicker, Steve Daniel, George Pappas, David Raynor, Luc Peterschmitt, Bertil Belfrage, Wolfgang Briedert, Richard Glauser, Roomet Jakapi. Middle row, left to right: Alvina Dicker, Laura Berchielli, Roselyne Le François (adjunct mayor of Rennes in charge of international affairs), Margaret Atherton, Dominique Berlioz, Genevieve Brykman, Marc Hight, Maureen Lapan, Susan Brook, Richard Brook, Marlene Briedert. Front row: Ken Williford, Sébastien Charles, Mark Kulstad, Ralph Schumacher, Robert Muehlmann, Robert Schwartz


·     April 3rd-5th 2003, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas


Texas A&M University, in collaboration with the International Berkeley Society, hosted the world’s foremost conference commemorating the 250th anniversary of the death of George Berkeley. Like the previous Berkeley commemorations in 1953 and 1985, the College Station conference brought together scholars from around the world. For full details, please see the Texas A&M Berkeley conference website.

Front row left to right: George Pappas, Daniel Flage, Costica Bradatan, Stephen Daniel (seated), Ralph Schumacher, Roomet Jakapi, Laurent Jaffro, Sébastien Charles. Back row left to right: Martha Bolton, Ian Tipton, Richard Glauser, Timo Airaksinen, Phillip Cummins,  Robert Muehlmann, Douglas Jesseph, Margaret Atherton, Michael Ayers, Bertil Belfrage, Charles McCracken, Jeffrey Barnouw, Marc Hight, Talia Mae Bettcher, Geneviève Brykman, Wolfgang Breidert, John Rogers.



You are cordially invited to become a member of the Society, which was founded to enable its members to share their interest in George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, the eminent philosopher and theologian and to be aware of his impact on philosophy, theology, science, and culture of western civilisation, both past and present.

The annual dues are US $15. Money should be sent in US dollars only, together with your address and institutional affiliation (if any) to the IBS at Texas A&M University, at the address below. For your convenience, you may wish to pay your dues online using a major credit card (Visa, Master Card, Discover, American Express), or you may use the attached Membership Form.

The International Berkeley Society
Department of Philosophy
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-4237

It is at present difficult and expensive for us to process checks in other than American dollars and it is hoped that people from other countries will make an arrangement to pay in dollars or pay online using a credit card.


You are also invited to add a voluntary donation of $5 to your subscription to support the valued but impoverished Berkeley library (click for holdings) in our Study Center at the Berkeley Museum House in Whitehall. Please send your donation with the annual subscription to Texas A&M; at the above address. Whitehall was built by Berkeley as his home while he and his family lived in Rhode Island, and is shown on the right. It is open for visitors throughout the year.


Whitehall Museum House
311 Berkeley Avenue,
Rhode Island RI 02840,

Whitehall, Rhode Island (click for enlargement)
Click on picture
for enlargement
and details.
(Photo: I.C. Tipton.)

The Berkeley Briefs and the Berkeley Newsletter

The Berkeley Briefs is a semi-annual publication of the IBS. It includes news items and other announcements of interest to the Society and its members. Click here for the latest issue.

The Berkeley Newsletter is an annual on-line journal. It contains scholarly articles, short research notes, abstracts of conference papers, book reviews, and bibliographic updates of the latest work on Berkeley. Click here to go to the Newsletter website.

Although the Berkeley Newsletter receives occasional assistance from the IBS, its editorial operations are independent from the Society.

1. History of the Society





A short narrative of the IBS from its foundation in 1975 to the present day, compiled by Ian C. Tipton (at left, at the Texas A&M conference), and Maureen Lapan and Raymond W. Houghton (at right, at the Rennes conference).


2. Bookshop

An online 'bookshop' for books by, or about, George Berkeley. These pages have links to external web sites that can take orders for books via the internet. The main file lists all Berkeleian books that are believed to be in print, or at least still available, in English. A second file lists Berkeleian books in other languages. This file is initially rather limited, but will be expanding. A third file, for reference, lists recent books that are currently out of print.

3. Bulletin board

The bulletin board of the International Berkeley Society exists for the following aims:

  • To display announcements of the Society
  • To display any other announcements that may be relevant to anyone with an interest in George Berkeley
  • Open discussion on topics pertaining to George Berkeley


Click here to check for the most recent messages. (After it opened up in February 2000, the bulletin board took a while to overcome the chicken-and-egg problem: nobody wants to make contributions to a discussion in which there are not yet any other discussants! Now, however, there is a growing number of ongoing conversations, and you are encouraged to join in!)

4. Geographical sites

Berkeley travelled widely from his home town of Kilkenny, Ireland: he lived in Dublin, Cloyne, London, and Oxford at different times; he travelled through Europe, with extended stays in Italy and France; and he spent four seminal years in Rhode Island, U.S.A. On this page, we are accumulating information about sites that are of significance in Berkeley's life.

You may like to know that Whitehall, Berkeley's house in Rhode Island (1729-1731), is open to the public at the following times:

·    1st July until the end of August

·    six days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Whitehall, Rhode Island (click for enlargement)
(Click on picture for enlargement.)

See our Whitehall page for more details on the times of opening.

5. External links

On this page we list hypertext links to:

  • General introductions to Berkeley and his work
  • Scholarly papers and articles.
  • Historical web sites
  • Online texts of Berkeley's writings


You may also be interested in our web rings page.

6. Turbayne Essay Prize

Berkeley scholars may like to be aware of the Turbayne essay prize, which is run by the Philosophy Department at the University of Rochester. The page at this site provides some background information, whereas official details have been placed by John Bennett at the following address:

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: see modification history.
Maintained by sdaniel@philosophy.tamu.edu .