The Unbearable Wrongness of George Berkeley

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The Bermuda Group (Dean Berkely and His Entourage) by John Smibert, 1728 – 1739

 

by Peter Dreyer (January 2022)

“We cannot in our good conscience support [the] City of Berkeley and [the] associated institution of fine learning [i.e., the University of California at Berkeley] being named after a former slave owner, and demand that they be renamed.”—petition at www.change.org

“The town of Berkeley, now the city of Berkeley, was born on the first day of September, 1864. She was not, however, christened until May 24, 1866—when she was nearly two years old,” William Warren Ferrier writes. Frederick Billings, a native of Woodstock, Vermont, claimed to have come up with the name. His own surname had been passed over as a possible choice, as had the names Bushnell, El Verano, La Cuinza, and Peralta, among others. “Berkeley came to me as a sort of inspiration,” Billings says, “and I knew it was the name, proposed it and they all saw its fitness.”

“The Hon. Frederick Billings, Ira P. Rankin, Sherman Day, Dr Horatio Stebbins, Dr Joseph A. Benton, Dr Willey, Edward McLean and others were gathered upon or around a rock on the north side of the campus looking out upon the Golden Gate,” Professor Willard B. Rising recalled. “Some one had facetiously called out ‘Billingsgate’: then one of the company repeated the words, ‘Westward the course of empire takes its way,’ and all with one accord responded, ‘Berkeley’!”

They all knew the line, penned by the immaterialist philosopher George Berkeley, in advertisement of his scheme to found a college in Bermuda: it appeared (albeit misquoted as “Westward the Star of Empire Takes its Way”) on the masthead, typeset in letters carved out of quartz, seventeen pennyweight of gold to the pound, of The Golden Era, the leading San Francisco literary magazine of the day,[1] beneath a portrayal of an Indian brave on a promontory, hand to brow, gazing toward the setting sun.

In his inaugural address in 1872, the new university’s president Daniel Coit Gilman—who had himself been the recipient of one of the three scholarships that Bishop Berkeley endowed at Yale—hailed the name “as a good omen for both religion and learning. Reverend Samuel Willey wrote to Gilman in January 1874: “It was a place too choice for any common name. Young parents never pondered so long over the name of their first baby.”

“My sons,” said Don Luis Peralta, whose ranch of five leagues of land in the East Bay, a grant from the Spanish Crown, comprehended the site of the future college town, “God gave that gold to the Americans. If he had wanted the Spaniards to have it, he would have let them discover it before now. You had better not go after it, but let the Americans go. You can go to your ranch and raise grain, and that will be your best gold field, because we all must eat while we live.” Did his sons heed this advice? Presumably not, because when the College of California came to purchase the land, it bought it from five men whose names were Blake, Hillegas, Leonard, Simmons, and Shattuck.

***

George Berkeley (1685–1753) “Ireland’s most celebrated philosopher. . . . is synonymous with Trinity College Dublin (TCD), where his name is lent to a college library as well as the annual George Berkeley Gold Medals for top students and researchers,” the Irish Times notes. “[H]e is one of the few theologians of his time who is taken seriously by scientists and mathematicians. . . . the man behind the old conundrum: if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? ”[2]

Berkeley was also, albeit in a small way, a slave owner, however, and a petition has now been launched to “cancel” him and strip his name from both the city and the university, so as to “cleanse the City of Berkeley of slavery past completely.”[3] This proposal has had scant success so far, but it may nonetheless serve as an example of the kind of thinking that is leads into a realm of unreason congenial to angry authoritarian demagogues, who, as someone said of another case, “make a little holiday in their hearts” when they encounter such stuff.

Berkeley’s philosophy has been discussed in a great many books and is far too complex to examine in any detail here, but we may briefly cite the opinion of G. W. Leibniz, the co-discoverer with Isaac Newton of the infinitesimal calculus, to whom Berkeley has been compared. In the margin of his copy of Berkeley’s Principles of Human Knowledge, Leibniz noted:

Much of this is right . . . but it is expressed paradoxically. We need not say that matter is nothing; rather it is enough to say that it is a phenomenon, like the rainbow—not a substance, but what results from substances. Nor need we say that space is no more real than time; it is sufficient to say that space is nothing but the order of co-existing things, just like time is the order of subsisting things [subexistentiarum]. . . . Most unfortunately, he rejects the division of extension to infinity, even though he might be correct in rejecting infinitesimal quantities.[4]

Dr Johnson’s “refutation” of Berkeley’s ideas is famous. James Boswell, his subsequent biographer, having remarked that even if it were untrue (as they thought), Berkeley’s “ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal” could not be disproved, and “striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it,” Boswell says, Johnson replied, “I refute it thus.”

That did it for the eighteenth century, but it is now clear that Berkeley and Leibniz were both groping toward an understanding of the fantastic nature of our world that the twentieth century, and the twenty-first, would elaborate. Like the great mathematician Kurt Gödel (1906–78), Berkeley and Leibniz contradicted the scientific consensus of their age. On a visit to Princeton’s Institute of Advanced Study in the 1970s, knowing that “for him Leibniz was the great philosopher,” the Harvard logician Gerald Sacks asked Gödel what he thought of Leibniz’s concept of a universe composed of entirely self-contained “monads” existing in a God-given state of “pre-established harmony.”

He said, “Leibniz was wrong. It’s obvious, everything that happens affects everything else. . . . Furthermore, Leibniz was wrong about everything.”

Then he paused and said, “But it’s just as hard to be wrong about everything as to be right about everything.”

He didn’t crack a smile. . . . And I thought, Wow, he cracked a joke. Or did he?[5]

***

So who was Gödel—and was it indeed a joke? As for Gödel, he was “a mathematician of the very first order, and his work is regarded as epoch-making,” Moritz Schlick (1882–1936) says. He was “the epitome of a genius” and “regarded as the foremost authority on foundational issues” (i.e., the logical foundations of mathematics),[6] “the greatest logician since Aristotle,” in Einstein’s opinion. (At Princeton in the 1940s and early 1950s, Gödel was “by far Einstein’s closest companion. Einstein said his own work by then did not amount to much, but he came into the office, ‘just to have the privilege of being permitted to walk home with Kurt Gödel.’”)[7] We may assume, too, that Gödel’s enigmatic remark wasn’t a joke; rather, he thought that Leibniz had been in error foundationally speaking, and that as a result he was “wrong about everything.” As Niels Bohr contended, the opposite of a profound truth may be another profound truth.[8]

In 1956, based on Voltaire’s notorious parody of Leibniz as the crackpot Doctor Pangloss in his novel Candide, Leonard Bernstein concocted a comic operetta of that title, with a libretto by Lillian Hellman. Gödel riposted: “Who ever became more intelligent by reading the writings of Voltaire?”[9]

What Gödel might have thought about Berkeley is unknown, but the latter was no doubt just as capable of being “wrong about everything” in his opinion as Leibniz was. The three men had a lot in common. “My theory is rationalistic, idealistic, optimistic, and theological,” Gödel said, and these adjectives can all be equally applied as well to the theories of Berkeley and Leibniz.

“Nothing, Gödel believed, happened without a reason,” his biographer Stephen Budiansky observes, calling this simultaneously “an affirmation of ultrarationalism, and a recipe for utter paranoia.” There was a limit to human understanding, Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem showed—a point at which mathematical logic can take us no further.[10] Berkeley was a cheerful Anglican bishop, and Leibniz a very deliberate Lutheran, but Gödel had no such guard rails. “Religions are for the most part bad, but not religion,” he thought.[11] A hypochondriac who rejected medical advice, he committed suicide by self-starvation.

Two things we should note apropos of George Berkeley before we look briefly at his life. First, he was, like almost all of his contemporaries, a believer in divine Providence (aka God) and frequently quoted Saint Paul to that effect: “For in him we live, and move, and have our being . . . we are also his offspring” (Acts 17:28).[12] Berkeley saw all of human society as part of a providential order, in a sense that is now difficult for us to grasp. Second, in Berkeley’s lifetime, slavery was virtually everywhere accepted; there were no democracies in the modern sense, and what’s more, there never had been any. States like the Dutch and Swiss republics, Venice and Genoa, were oligarchies, and ancient Athenian democracy was a democracy exclusively for adult male Athenian citizens, shutting out not only women but the myriad slaves that supported it and numerous permanent foreign (i.e., mostly non-Athenian Greek) residents. Unlike slaves and “barbarians,” citizens could not legally be subjected to torture, but there is reason to think that noncitizen Greeks could be. One acquired citizenship, moreover, just as one acquires “whiteness,” by the accident of birth—you had to be born into a citizen family. On this score, even apartheid South Africa was at least 100 percent more democratic than ancient Athens—for one thing, (“white”) women voted in the old South Africa, a political innovation mooted in Antiquity only in the comedies of Aristophanes, as far as I can tell, and not introduced anywhere until the short-lived Corsican Republic adopted female suffrage in 1755, which the French revoked when they took over the island a few years later. New Jersey briefly gave votes for women a shot in the late eighteenth century, but reneged in 1807.

***

On his entry at the age of eleven to Kilkenny College—the school, previously of Swift and Congreve—the opinion formed of the young George Berkeley, the Scottish theologian and philosopher Alexander Campbell Fraser observes, “came to be that he was either the greatest genius or the greatest dunce in the college. Those who looked at him on the surface took him for a foolish dreamer; his intimates thought him to be a miracle of intellectual subtlety and goodness of heart. A mild and ingenuous youth, inexperienced in the ways of men, he was also full of humor and even eccentric inquisitiveness.” He was said to exhibit “a brave indifference to life in the service of knowledge.”[13] While at Trinity College, he witnessed the execution on the gallows of a criminal and, declaring himself eager to test the sensation, he experimentally hanged himself in his rooms, with a friend named Contarini[14] standing by the cut him down on a signal. Saved just in time, Berkeley’s celebrated remark on recovering was a reproachful, “Bless my heart, Contarine, you have rumpled my band!” (Annual Register, 1763).

Although almost universally liked, Berkeley thought of himself as proud and contrary. “I am young,” he wrote. “I am an upstart. I am a pretender. Very well, I shall endeavour to bear up under the most vilifying appellations the pride and envy of man can devise.” In 1709, when he was twenty-five, he published an Essay towards a New Theory of Vision, and the next year the first part of A Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (the MS of the second part he lost in Italy and said afterward that he had “never had leisure since to do so disagreeable a thing as writing twice on the same subject”). Then, in 1712, he published his Passive Obedience: or, the Christian doctrine of not resisting the supreme power, with an epigraph from Cicero: “Nec vero aut per Senatum aut per Populum salvi hac Lege possumus” (“Neither by the Senate nor by the People can we be dispensed from this law”),[15] saying: “I shall endeavour to prove that there is an absolute unlimited non-resistance, or passive obedience, due to the supreme civil power, wherever placed in any nation.”[16] This idea of “passive obedience,” which he hedged with qualifications, led some to call him a Jacobite and others a Williamite, depending on which king was favored. It would cost Berkeley a good preferment.

In 1713, Berkeley went to England for the first time, taking with him the MS of a new book, Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous. Jonathan Swift was there to meet him. “Mr Berkeley [Swift writes in his Journal to Stella] is a very ingenious man and a great philosopher, and I have mentioned him to all the ministers, and I have given them some of his writings, and I will favour him as much as I can. This, I think, I am bound to do—in honour and conscience to use all my little credit in helping forward men of worth in the world.”

Swift also introduced the self-proclaimed upstart to Lord Berkeley of Stratton, saying, “My Lord, here is a fine young gentleman of your family. I can assure your lordship, it is a much greater honour to you to be related to him, than it is for him to be related to you.” The great man took no offense and became one of young George Berkeley’s “best acquaintances.” Arbuthnot, Steele, Gay, Addison, and Pope were also on hand to befriend him. Steele admitted him to write for the Guardian, rewarding him with a guinea and a dinner for each essay; though they appeared anonymously, it is reckoned that he must have dined as many as fifteen times at Steele’s expense. These papers consisted mainly of attacks on free-thinking (i.e., materialism or atheism) and include Berkeley’s fanciful accounts of visits to the Pineal Gland—believed by Cartesians to be “the immediate receptacle of the soul”—through the use of a magical snuff obtained from France. “You may imagine,” says the author, “it was no small improvement and diversion to pass my time in the Pineal Glands of philosophers, poets, beaux, mathematicians, ladies and statesmen.” Inevitably, a visit is also paid to the Pineal Gland of “a certain eminent Free-thinker,” where the adventurer meets with an army of “Talopoins [Buddhist monks, but also a species of monkey], Faquirs, Bramines and Bonzes,” with Atheism in the center, all led by Vanity, in the process of storming the castle of the Imagination, giving no quarter.”

On a visit to Italy, Berkeley wrote an interesting journal, in which he observed that “Italians, living in towns, makes ‘em polite, the contrary observable in Englishmen.” At Taranto, in Apulia, he was obliged, according to some biographers, to explain that Ireland was not, as the local priests supposed it to be, a large town—this even though the city’s patron, the seventh-century Saint Cataldus, had been a ship-wrecked Irishman. Berkeley examined the saint’s remains, his tongue appropriately uncorrupted in his skull in the silver head of his silver statue in the cathedral.

However, it seems likely that this error as to the construction of Ireland was corrected in fact in Castalneta, a place belonging to the prince of Acquaviva not far away, where Berkeley notes, “one of the most knowing fathers asked whether Ireland were a large town.” Thus even the most admirable of biographers may err, out of zeal for the exotic; and just as well, too, or there would be nothing left for later generations to correct and, in correcting, remark on. Or perhaps Berkeley met with this error more than once in his Italian travels, and the belief that Ireland was a large town may be supposed to have been general in Italy, or at least in the Mezzogiorno, at that time.

***

Back in Ireland, Berkeley lectured variously in Greek, Divinity, and Hebrew at Trinity College. Around this time, he came up with the idea of establishing a college in Bermuda, with himself as president, that would propagate the Gospel among “the American savages.” Then, in 1723, he was bequeathed £4,000 by Esther Vanhomrigh, Swift’s “Vanessa,” to whom, he said, he was a “perfect stranger,” on condition that he publish Swift’s poem Cadenus and Vanessa, along with their correspondence. This, it is inferred, was aimed at discomfiting Swift’s other love, “Stella.” (Berkeley published only the poem, suppressing the letters, thus protecting his friend at the expense of disobliging the ghost of his benefactress.) In 1724, he was appointed dean of Derry, the richest deanery in Ireland, with tithe-lands he was able to farm out for £1,250. He paid Londonderry a visit, wrote an enthusiastic description of the town and the house he was to have, and shortly afterward went back to London to promote his Bermuda project. He does not seem ever to have ever visited his Londonderry deanery again.

He made such good friends in England, including Caroline, princess of Wales, later queen, that not long after the publication of his Proposal for a College in Bermuda, he was given a patent of permission to establish it, with himself as principal. It only remained to find the money, which, as every promoter of philanthropic works knows, is the hardest part. A public subscription was opened and reached £3,400, a lot in those days, but not nearly enough. It was proposed in Parliament that the island of St. Christopher (St. Kitts), which had been acquired by Britain under the terms of the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht ending the War of the Spanish Succession, be sold for the purpose. St. Kitts was sold for £70,000, but most of this was given as a wedding present to one of the royal princesses, and Berkeley got none.

Sir Robert Walpole, Britain’s de facto first prime minister, was apparently opposed to Berkeley’s scheme, which in the era of what was eponymously called after him a “Robinocracy,” prevented it from being realized. Practical men in any case viewed it skeptically. It was pointed out that Bermuda is over six hundred miles from the American continent, lacked a proper food supply, and was without natives in need of education. Did Berkeley and his professors propose to descend annually on the coast of Florida, enquired the scoffers, and carry off by force a suitable number of young “savages” for their purposes? It was hard to imagine that Amerindians could be got to Bermuda in any other way!

Just then another event occurred that might have embittered Berkeley, though he kept it a deep secret, as he did almost everything concerning his family. He had four brothers, and one of them, twenty-five-year-old Thomas, was condemned to death at Kilkenny for the crime of bigamy, by a judge who by bad luck was a cousin of one of the brother’s wives. In those days the gallows were regarded as an appropriate solution for almost every kind of crime. It is not clear, however, that Thomas Berkeley was hanged. Perhaps the intercession of his brother, the well-connected dean of Derry, saved him. There is evidence of a secret journey to Ireland that may have been for this purpose.

In 1728, whether in shame or in anguish, the philosopher quietly took ship for America, albeit without the funds he had hoped for. He had recently married (a Miss Forster), and his new wife accompanied him. They sailed from Greenwich, not for Bermuda, but for the colony of Rhode Island, and landed at Newport.

***

He liked America very much. Apart from his wife, he had taken agreeable friends with him, among them the artist John Smibert, who had painted his portrait, and presently painted a group portrait of Berkeley with his entourage, Dean George Berkeley and His Family, aka The Bermuda Group, now in the Yale University Art Gallery. In the London Daily Courant on April 14, 1730, the Massachusetts clergyman and wit Mather Byles wrote:

Ages our Land a Barb’rous Desert stood
And Savage Nations howl’d in every Wood
No heav’nly Pencil the free Stroke could give
Nor the warm Canvas felt its Colors Live.

 

Smibert put that right and became the model for a generation of American artists. His “heav’nly Pencil” found profitable employment among the Puritans of Boston, a surprising number of whom admitted the vanity of wanting their pictures made.

There were some famous American names among Berkeley’s friends in Newport. They included the Honeymans, the Updikes, and the Mumfords. Like anyone else who could, once settled, he also acquired a few slaves, and not entirely, we may suppose, in a fit of absentmindedness, for he bestowed his own name on them and saw to their baptism. The records of Trinity Church at Newport for June 11, 1731, record “Philip Berkeley, Anthony Berkeley, Agnes Berkeley, negroes, received into the church.”

The metaphysical truant bought a farm and had a house built on it. It was a pleasant time, in surroundings congenial to fox-hunting immaterialists. As regards the life of the mind, he had brought with him a library of some two thousand volumes, the largest collection ever yet conveyed to America. But alas, he was abruptly ordered back to Ireland by his bishop, who asked, Were not the Irish Papists on his conscience?

When he left in 1731, Berkeley bequeathed his library in part to Yale and in part to Harvard. To Yale, he also left his farm, the rent dedicated to three classical scholarships, which were the beginning of graduate studies in America. This property was very unwisely leased in 1769 for 999 years, however, on the basis of the estimated market value at the time.

In 1732, Berkeley published a new set of dialogues, titled Alciphron: Or, the Minute Philosopher, a blast against the free-thinkers whom he suspected of having foiled his plan to establish a college in Bermuda, and in 1734 followed this up with The Analyst: A Discourse Addressed to an Infidel Mathematician, an attack on the infinitesimal calculus, in which he challenged the right of mathematicians and scientists to decide on philosophical questions. The “infidel mathematician” in question has been supposed perhaps to be Newton, deceased a few years earlier. Mathematicians rushed to the defense, but Berkeley now had for patrons none other than King George II and Queen Caroline, and early in 1734 he was in receipt of the information that he was to be appointed bishop of Cloyne.

His diocese was one of the largest in Ireland, its bishopric founded by Saint Colman in 600 CE on a site thought sacred from pagan times: there are druidical hieroglyphs on the threshold of the north porch of the cathedral church and the remains of ancient monuments in the yard. It was, Berkeley said, “a region of dreams and of trifles of no consequence”—a perfect refuge from the furor of the Newtonians and the sarcasm of Lord Shaftesbury. The new bishop lived elegantly: there was a Rubens among the paintings in his palace. His domestics wore yellow and green coats with royal blue waistcoats, the livery of the Berkeleys of Stratton and Berkeley Castle. His sons, Henry, George, and William, were taught music by a notable Italian cellist, Pasqualino de Marzis, called Peter Pasqualino. Eliza Berkeley, a daughter-in-law of the bishop, recalled,

Berkeley was esteemed the finest gentleman-performer on the violincello [sic] in England. . . . [He] had a fine concert at his own house every evening in winter when he did not dine from home. Signior Pasquilino was to have a very fine concert at Cork. One day at dinner the Bishop said, “Well, Pasquilino, I have got rid of a great many tickets for you among my neighbours, to Lord Inchiquin, Lord Shannon, Mr. Lumley, &c.” To which Pasquilino bowing, said, “May God PICKLE your Lordship, I pray him.” All the company laughed immoderately. The poor Italian said, “Vell, in de grammar that my Lord gave me to teach me Inglish, it is printed, Pickle, to keep from decay.”[17]

In the terrible famine years of 1739, 1740, and 1741, Berkeley devoted himself to good works. It is said that 300,000 Irish starved to death, and he acquired “a personal reputation for great generosity . . . among both Protestants and Catholics,” denouncing absentee landlords and demanding, “whether it would not be better for this island” if the nobility “were shipped off to remain in foreign countries, rather than that they should spend their estates at home in foreign luxury, and spread the contagion thereof throughout their native land?” You are free, of course, to say that he might have done more, but one may reasonably ask, of those who argue this, what exactly are they doing, or have they done, to alleviate the condition of the hundreds of thousands of people currently starving throughout the world? It is true that he called the Irish perhaps “the most indolent and supine people in Christendom” and wondered whether they were not “partly Spaniards and partly Tartars.”[18] But he said it as an Irishman, for he regarded himself as such.

It was at this time that in endeavoring to treat the epidemic dysentery raging in the country, Berkeley came up with his famous panacea, tar-water, an infusion of pine resin, used medicinally by Amerindians. He came to believe it a cure not only for dysentery but for every ailment. He even thought it good for plants and used it to water his garden. The most famous book he ever wrote was Siris: A Chain of Philosophical Reflexions and Inquiries Concerning the Virtues of Tarwater, And divers other Subjects connected together and arising one from another (1744), which he followed up with Further Thoughts on Tar-water (1752). Tar-water was soon tout la rage in London.

Berkeley was never a man who could stay very long in one place, and in 1752, he sought to resign his bishopric and move to Oxford, but the king intervened and refused to accept his resignation, decreeing that he could live where he pleased: Queen Caroline would never have allowed that Berkeley not be a bishop. So it was.

He expired at Oxford, aged 67. On the evening of January 14, 1753, while listening to his wife reading from First Corinthians, with the magisterial assertion: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15:52), he drank some tea. His daughter Julia went to offer him a second cup, but found him dead.[19] George Berkeley always did have good luck, “wrong about everything” though he may have been!

A final note: since Amerigo Vespucci’s estate included five household slaves, according to his will, written in April 1511, should America not now be renamed in order to “cleanse it of slavery past completely”? Any suggestions for a new name for the continent if so?


[1] In the 1850s, there were fifty printers at work in San Francisco, which boasted that it published not only more newspapers than London but “more books than did all the rest of the United States west of the Mississippi” (Franklin Walker, San Francisco’s Literary Frontier [New York: Knopf, 1939]). Local writers included Ambrose Bierce, Brett Harte, Henry George, and Mark Twain.
[2] Joe Humphreys, “What to do about George Berkeley, Trinity figurehead and slave owner?” Irish Times, November 6, 2021.  Since I have not yet read the newest biography of Berkeley, Tom Jones’s George Berkeley: A Philosophical Life (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2021), it is not discussed in this essay.
[3] https://www.change.org/p/mayor-of-berkeley-rename-city-of-berkeley-and-uc-berkeley-named-after-slave-owner (accessed December 1, 2021).
[4] Cited in Stephen H. Daniel, George Berkeley and Early Modern Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021), 197.
[5] Cited in Stephen Budiansky, Journey to the Edge of Reason: The Life of Kurt Gödel (New York: Norton, 2021), 105–6.
[6] Schlick cited ibid., 173.
[7] Ibid., Budiansky, Journey, 3–4.
[8] Note also the cognitive psychologist Donald Hoffman’s very clear exposition of the fact that our perceptions do not equate with reality: www.ted.com/talks/donald_hoffman_do_we_see_reality_as_it_is.
[9] Budiansky, Journey,  245. One might note too that Voltaire was an antisemite racist who worshipped at the bloodstained thrones of the Sun King, Louis XIV, and King Frederick II of Prussia (called Frederick the Great), the greatest warmongers of his era, who between them were probably responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths.  See Nabila Ramdani, “Voltaire Spread Darkness, Not Enlightenment. France Should Stop Worshipping Him,” Foreign Policy, August 31, 2020.
[10] Ibid., 242–43.
[11] “Die Religionen sind zum größten Teil schlecht, aber nicht die Religion.” Gabriella Crocco and Eva-Maria Engelen, “Kurt Gödel’s Philosophical Remarks,” in Kurt Gödel: Philosopher–Scientist, ed. id. (Marseille: Presses universitaires de Provence, 2016), 36, cited in Budiansky, Journey, 243, 309n18.
[12] Daniel, George Berkeley and Early Modern Philosophy, 237, refers to “at least nine occasions” where Berkeley does so.
[13] The Works of George Berkeley, D.D., formerly Bishop of Cloyne, including many of his writings hitherto unpublished, ed. Alexander Campbell Fraser (Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1871).
[14] The Reverend Thomas Contarine (ca. 1684–1758), grandson of a family named Contarini, whose members had included several Doges of the Venetian Republic. He was an uncle by marriage of Oliver Goldsmith’s.
[15] Cicero, De Re Publica [Of the Republic], 3.22.
[16] Scott Breuninger, Recovering Bishop Berkeley: Virtue and Society in the Anglo-Irish Context (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 16.
[17] David Hunter, “Peter Pasqualino, a Cellist In Handel Bands,” Newsletter of the American Handel Society, 32, no. 3 (Winter 2017), https://americanhandelsociety.org/assets/newsletter/Handel_Winter_2017.pdf.
[18] Breuninger, Recovering Bishop Berkeley, 134,
[19] Adapted from Joseph M. Hone, Mario Manlio Rossi, and W. B. Yeats, Bishop Berkeley: His Life, Writings, and Philosophy (London: Faber & Faber, 1931).

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Peter Richard Dreyer is a South African American writer. He is the author of A Beast in View (London: André Deutsch), The Future of Treason (New York: Ballantine), A Gardener Touched with Genius: The Life of Luther Burbank (New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan; rev. ed., Berkeley: University of California Press; new, expanded ed., Santa Rosa, CA: Luther Burbank Home & Gardens), Martyrs and Fanatics: South Africa and Human Destiny (New York: Simon & Schuster; London: Secker & Warburg), and most recently the novel Isacq (Charlottesville, VA: Hardware River Press, 2017).

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast

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