George Berkeley's Two Ways of Representing: Berkeley on Language and Likeness

October 8, 2020 - October 10, 2020
University of Basel

Alte Unversität, Rheinsrpung 9

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  • International Berkeley Society
  • University of Basel


University of Basel
Durham University

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CfP – George Berkeley’s Two Ways of Representing: Berkeley on Language and Likeness


From October 8th to 10th 2020, the International Berkeley Society will convene at the University of Basel for a three-day conference focusing on George Berkeley’s views on representation, broadly construed. In his 1989 monograph, Berkeley: An Interpretation, Kenneth Winkler argues that Berkeley sees representation as working in one of two ways: either in the same way that a word signifies an idea or by means of resemblance. The aim of this conference is to explore that distinction, the role it plays in Berkeley’s own philosophy, and the extent to which it was accepted by other Early Modern thinkers.

We are interested in papers that look at Berkeley’s views on language, his theory of resemblance, and the role that representation plays in his philosophy more widely. We would also be interested in papers that consider whether Berkeley’s predecessors (e.g., Descartes, Locke), his contemporaries (e.g., William King, Anthony Collins), and subsequent thinkers (e.g. Hume, Shepherd) accepted this distinction – and their connection to Berkeley’s thought. We are especially interested in papers connecting Berkeley to non-canonical figures or those which defend novel interpretations of Berkeley’s own thought. Papers might address questions such as:

· What is Berkeley’s view on the connection between representation and resemblance?

· Is Winkler right to attribute two types of representation to Berkeley?

· Do Berkeley’s contemporaries accept the distinction between signification and representation?

The total time allocated for each paper will be 50 minutes, with 30 minutes presentation and 20 minutes for a Q&A. There will be no parallel sessions. We especially encourage those from underrepresented backgrounds to apply. We will also reserve a certain number of spaces for graduate students.

Please submit an abstract of no more than 350 words suitable for blind review to ( The deadline for abstract submissions is May 31st, 2020 (amended). We encourage individuals to identify if they are graduate students or a member of a traditionally underrepresented group at the end of their abstract.

While we cannot cover accommodation, thanks to the generous support of the International Berkeley Society some limited travel funding may be available for graduate students.

Any questions should be directed to either Manuel Fasko ( or Peter West (

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October 1, 2020, 9:00am CET

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