[FOM] The ghost of Berkeley

Mark Bridger mark_bridger at yahoo.com
Sat Feb 18 12:53:46 EST 2006

Gabriel Stolzenberg wrote: 

"Wasn't he (Bishop Berkeley) just offering an intellectual defense of
religion by pointing out that, conceptually, religious belief was in no
worse shape than the calculus?" 

Berkeley said: "he who can digest a second or third fluxion, a second
or third difference, need not, methinks, be squeamish about any point
in divinity." (From "The Analyst") 

This suggests that Stolzenberg was correct, at least about "no worse
shape than the calculus." I wonder if a modern avatar of the good
Bishop might not take a similar stance with respect to neo-Platonism in
modern foundations? Perhaps the belief in the actual existence of (say)
infinite sets is no different from the non-departed "ghost" still
central to the religious experience? 

Mark Bridger

Mark Bridger
Associate Professor, Mathematics
Northeastern University, Boston MA

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