Berkeley and Shaftesbury

  • Paul J. Olscamp
Part of the Archives Internationales D’histoire Des Idées / International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 33)


Anthony Ashley Cooper, third Earl of Shaftesbury, was the man with whom Berkeley disagreed more than any other in his writings. In many ways, he misunderstood Shaftesbury, taking him as a representative of the free-thinking and deistic movement of the time without question. In addition, he treated this amiable writer with unwarranted abuse in some of his comments, though this was the style then. But as we shall see, Berkeley and Shaftesbury actually agreed with each other more than they disagreed, though no doubt the good bishop would be surprised by that comment. A hint of its truth is given in this remark of Shaftesbury’s, which could have been made by Berkeley himself:

All Nature’s wonders serve to excite and perfect this idea of their author. ‘Tis here he suffers us to see, and even converse with him in a manner suitable to our frailty. How glorious is it to contemplate him in this noblest of his works apparent to us, the system of the bigger world! 1


Moral Decision Moral Sense Natural Affection Harmonious Relation Aesthetic Perception 
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  1. 29.
    Fowler, T., Shaftesbury and Hutcheson, London (1882), p. 88 (STF)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1969

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  • Paul J. Olscamp

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