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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-05-12
  • Publisher: Polity

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Irish philosopher George Bishop Berkeley was one of the greatest philosophers of the early modern period. Along with David Hume and John Locke he is considered one of the fathers of British Empiricism. Berkeley is a clear, concise, and sympathetic introduction to George Berkeley’s philosophy, and a thorough review of his most important texts. Daniel E. Flage explores his works on vision, metaphysics, morality, and economics in an attempt to develop a philosophically plausible interpretation of Berkeley’s oeuvre as whole.

Many scholars blur the rejection of material substance (immaterialism) with the claim that only minds and things dependent upon minds exist (idealism). However Flage shows how, by distinguishing idealism from immaterialism and arguing that Berkeley’s account of what there is (metaphysics) is dependent upon what is known (epistemology), a careful and plausible philosophy emerges.

The author sets out the implications of this valuable insight for Berkeley’s moral and economic works, showing how they are a natural outgrowth of his metaphysics, casting new light on the appreciation of these and other lesser-known areas of Berkeley’s thought.

Daniel E. Flage’s Berkeley presents the student and general reader with a clear and eminently readable introduction to Berkeley’s works which also challenges standard interpretations of Berkeley’s philosophy.

Author Biography

Daniel Flage is Professor of Philosophy at James Madison university.

Table of Contents

  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Citations
  • Chapter 1: Berkeley’s Life and Writings
  • Why Study Berkeley Today?
  • Early Life
  • Bermuda and Rhode Island
  • Bishop of Cloyne
  • On Reading Berkeley
  • Further Reading
  • Chapter 2: Vision
  • The Historical Context: Methods of Inquiry and Theories of Vision
  • Berkeley on Seeing Distance (NTV §§2-51)
  • Perception of Magnitude (NTV §§52-87)
  • Situation and Numerical Heterogeneity (NTV §§88-120)
  • Heterogeneity and the Universal Language of Vision (NTV §§121-158)
  • A Look Back; A Look Ahead
  • Further Reading
  • Chapter 3: Abstraction
  • Historical Context
  • The Principal Arguments
  • Language
  • A Look Back; A Look Ahead
  • Further Reading
  • Chapter 4: The Case for Idealism and Immaterialism in the Principles
  • The Case for Idealism (Sections 1-7)
  • The Attack on Matter (Sections 8-24)
  • Onward to Ordinary Objects (Sections 25-33)
  • A Look Back; A Look Ahead
  • Further Reading
  • Chapter 5: Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous
  • Background
  • Dialogue One
  • Dialogue Two
  • Dialogue Three
  • A Look Back; A Look Ahead
  • Further Reading
  • Chapter 6: Minds: Yours, Mine, and God’s
  • The Principles
  • Knowing Minds: Dialogue Three
  • Your Mind and God’s
  • A Look Back; A Look Ahead
  • Further Reading
  • Chapter 7: Moral Philosophy
  • Moral Theories
  • The Egoistic Notebooks
  • Passive Obedience
  • Alciphron
  • A Look Back; A Look Ahead
  • Further Reading
  • Chapter 8: Economics and the Irish Condition
  • Eighteenth Century Ireland and the South Sea Bubble
  • An Essay towards preventing of the Ruin of Great Britain
  • The Querist
  • Further Reading
  • Chapter 9: Concluding Remarks
  • Bibliography

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