Back to overview

Berkeley and the principles of human knowledge (International tercentenary conference)

Applicant Glauser Richard
Number 123257
Funding scheme Scientific Conferences
Research institution Institut de philosophie Faculté des lettres Université Neuchâtel
Institution of higher education University of Neuchatel - NE
Main discipline Philosophy
Start/End 01.04.2010 - 30.06.2010
Approved amount 8'000.00
Show all

Keywords (19)

abstraction; bundle-theory of physical objects; common sense; corpuscular theory; empiricism; esse est percipi; existence; George Berkeley; God; idealism; ideas; immaterialism; language; matter; nominalism; perception; perceptual knowledge; scepticism; theory of vision

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
The Tercentenary Conference on George Berkeley's A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, sponsored by the Swiss FNS, the University of Neuchâtel and the International Berkeley Society, and organised by Richard Glauser, was held at the University of Neuchâtel from 6 to 9 April 2010. Thirty-three papers were given, in general by some of the most internationally acknowledged Berkeley and Early Modern scholars from ten countries, on all of the important areas of Berkeley's philosophy. Berkeley's philosophy stems from a number of disparate, yet converging 17th-century influences, and from the author's numerous and very bold metaphysical and epistemological innovations within empiricism, which can be found for the most part in his A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710) and many of his other main works. The papers delivered at the conference explored both Berkeley's influences and his more radically innovative aspects. The papers were at the cutting edge of Berkeley scholarship, focusing both on Berkeley's philosophical context and present-day philosophical problems. The speakers discussed issues and confronted contemporary interpretive debates relating to a great number of often inter-related topics, such as : 1. Berkeley's theory of vision, and its relation to the Principles; 2. his philosophy of language and nominalism; 3. his theory of abstraction (both negative and positive); 4. the arguments in favour of immaterialism (the non-existence of material substances); 5. the arguments for the 'esse est percipi' principle and for idealism (the claim that the existence of sensible qualities and physical bodies depends on minds, or spiritual substances); 6. the arguments for a "bundle-theory" of physical objects (the claim that physical bodies are nothing over and above collections of inter-connected sensible qualities); 7. Berkeley's theory of knowledge, notably his theory of perceptual knowledge and its relation to common sense; his relation to 17th-century and contemporary sceptical positions; 8. Berkeley's philosophy of science, in particular his philosophy of mathematics and philosophy of physics (the question of 'empirical causation', causal explanation in physics, and the theory of corpuscles); 9. the ontological and epistemological status of sensible ideas or qualities (in particular the arguments for their being causally inert, and the question whether they are private or public); 10. the nature and ontological status of spiritual substances; their agency, the respects in which they are both active and passive; 11. Berkeley's moral philosophy and the problem of evil; 12. the role of God in Berkeley's
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants