Berkeley Essay Prize Competition

The Competition

The next deadline for submitting papers is November 1, 2024.

For the 2024 competition, submitted papers should address some aspect of Berkeley’s philosophy. Essays should be new and unpublished and should be written in English and not exceed 5,000 words in length. All references to Berkeley should be to Luce/Jessop, and a MLA or similar standard for notes should be followed.

Submissions are blind reviewed and will be judged by members of a review board selected by the Department of Philosophy at the University of Rochester.

The winner will be announced March 1, 2025 and will receive a prize of $4,000 USD. Copies of the winning essays are to be sent to the George Berkeley Library Study Center located in Berkeley's home in Whitehall, Newport, RI.  The winning essay will be published in the following issue of Berkeley Studies.

2023 Winner

David Bartha, Humboldt University of Berlin, "Why Cannot Animals Imagine?" Berkeley on Imagination and the Animal-human Divide

See past Berkeley prize winners.


Submissions can be sent electronically to or by post mail to:

Chair, Department of Philosophy
University of Rochester
P.O. Box 270078
Lattimore 532
Rochester, NY 14627-0078

History of the Prize

Some years before their deaths, Professor and Mrs. Colin Turbayne established an International Berkeley Essay Prize competition in cooperation with the philosophy department at the University of Rochester.

A highly popular teacher of philosophy, the late Professor Turbayne is often described by former students as a "consummate teacher" who made a lasting impression on them. He was also one of the most prolific and influential scholars of George Berkeley, the 18th Century Irish philosopher.

He is perhaps best known as the author of the classic treatise, The Myth of Metaphor, first published by Yale University Press in 1962. An original and highly imaginative criticism of the Newtonian view of the universe as a machine, in it he suggests that the modern mind has been victimized by a powerful metaphor that has been taken literally, and that alternative models of explanation, notably the language model, can serve as beneficial approaches to an understanding of the world, knowledge and science.

He published his last work, Metaphors for the Mind: The Creative Mind and Its Origins in 1990, in which he shows how modern theories of human thought and language arose from historical traditions of philosophy.

Professor Turbayne's devotion to advancing understanding of Berkeley is reflected in the numerous articles he authored, his producing six major editions of Berkeley's works, and the creation and funding of the International Berkeley Essay Prize.