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Title: Berkeley's 'Analyst' : rigour and rhetoric
Author: Moriarty, Clare Marie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7656 4208
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis argues for a new interpretation of The Analyst based on Berkeley’s mature theory of meaning and its role in his views on religion and mathematics. I argue that we should read the Body of The Analyst as consisting in an argumentum ad hominem against ‘freethinkers’ who alleged that a mathematical/logicist criterion of intelligibility showed significant parts of religion to be unintelligible and irrational. By showing that the same standards (standards inspired by mathematics and logic) demonstrate the logical instability of calculus, he provides a reductio argument against this freethinking methodology. The text has typically been read as constituting a significant change in Berkeley’s position on the philosophy of mathematics—one involving a newly conciliatory outlook on the foundations and axioms of classical mathematics and an abandonment of the sweeping semantic pragmatism advanced by Euphranor at the end of Alciphron and the instrumentalism that defines much of his previous approach to mathematics and science. I argue that this ostensible endorsement of the foundations of traditional mathematics is merely a necessary condition of an internal argument Berkeley wishes to use to demonstrate that the calculus fails its own discipline’s tests of rigour. Further, by reading the text as I suggest, we can reconcile the arguments of The Analyst with the pragmatic theory of word meaning endorsed in the decisive argument of the final dialogue of Alciphron.
Supervisor: Reid, Jasper William ; Papineau, David Calder Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available