Mathematician:George Berkeley

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Also known under the name Bishop Berkeley.

Anglo-Irish mathematician and philosopher best known nowadays for his critique of the philosophical underpinnings of calculus as it had been developed by Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz and Isaac Newton.

Incisive intellectual, noted humanitarian, and, by all accounts, all-round good guy.




  • Born: 12 March 1685 in Kilkenny, County Kilkenny, Ireland
  • 1734: Appointed Bishop of Cloyne in Ireland
  • Died: 14 January 1753 in Oxford, England


  • 1707: Arithmetica
  • 1707: Miscellanea Mathematica
  • 1709: An Essay towards a New Theory of Vision
  • 1710: A Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge
  • 1713: Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous
  • 1721: De Motu: a precursor to the philosophies of Ernst Mach and Albert Einstein
  • 1732: Alciphron
  • 1734: The Analyst, a critique of the foundations of calculus
  • 1744: Siris
  • 1749: A Word to the Wise
  • 1752: Further Thoughts on Tar-water

Notable Quotes

And what are these fluxions? The velocities of evanescent increments. And what are these same evanescent increments? They are neither finite quantities, nor quantities infinitely small, nor yet nothing. May we not call them ghosts of departed quantities?
-- The Analyst (1734)

... Whether mathematicians ... have not their mysteries, and, what is more, their repugnances and contradictions?
-- Query $64$
-- Quoted in 1937: Eric Temple Bell: Men of Mathematics: They Say: What Say They? : Let Them Say