The Early Reception Of Berkeley’s Immaterialism

  • Harry M. Bracken
Part of the Archives Internationales D’Histoire des Idees/International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 10)


’Tis incredible what prejudices can work on the best geniuses, nay and even on the lovers of novelty, for I did but name the subject matter of your book to some ingenious friends of mine and they immediately treated it with ridicule, at the same time refusing to read it … A physician … undertook to describe your person, and argued you must needs be mad, and that you ought to take remedies. A Bishop pitied you that a desire and vanity of starting something new should put you on such an undertaking, and when I justified you in that part of your character, and added the other deserving qualities you have, he said he could not tell what to think of you.1


Eighteenth Century Early Reception Secondary Quality Italian Translation Universal Reason 
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  1. 3.
    Jean Pierre de Crousaz, Examen du Pyrrhonisme (La Haye: 1733), p. 97. The substance of these remarks reportedly also appeared in Crousaz’ A New Treatise of the Art of Thinking (London: 1724). See Richard H. Popkin, “ Berkeley and Pyrrhonism,” Review of Metaphysics, V (1951), 245n.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Saint-Hyacinthe, Recherches Philosophiques (La Haye: 1743), p. cf. pp. 94–6.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Jessop, “George Berkeley, 1685–1753,”Hermathena, LXXII(1953), 7. See also his Editor’s Introduction to Bakekeley’s Principles, in Works II, 4. “Berkeley’s philosophy did not become a subject of written attention and controversy until he published Alciphron (1732).” In his Editor’s Introduction to Berkeley’s Three Dialoques he notes: “Our scanty records suggest that the Dialogues attracted almost as the Priciples had done.” (Works II 149). However see Jessop’s comments in Works IX, 154f. See also A. A. Luce Berkeley and Malebranche, p. 47; A. C. Fraser’s edition of the Works of George Berkeley (Oxford: 1901) Vol. III, Appendix D.Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    Richard H. Popkin “Berkeley and Pyrrhonism,” Review of Metaphysics, V (1951), 223–246.Google Scholar
  5. 1.
    Andrew Baxter, An Enquiry into the Nature of the Human Soul (2nd ed.; london 1737), II, 284. First edition appeared in 1733.Google Scholar
  6. 1.
    Cf. Malebrache, Dialogues on Metaphysics and on Religion. transl. Morris Ginsberg, (London: 1923),p. 75.Google Scholar
  7. 3.
    Cf. Emmy Allard, Die Angrife Gegen Descartes Und Malebranche Im Journal De Trévoux:1701–1715. (Halle: 1941), in Abhandlungen Zur Philosophie Und Ihrer Geschichte. (XLIII). See also Gaston Sortais, “ Le Cartésianisme chez les Jésuites Francais au XVIIe et au XLIIe Siècle,” Archives de Philosophie, VI (1929); Alfred R. Desautels, Les Mémores de Trévoux et le mouvement des idées au XVIIe siécle: 1701–1734 (Rome: 1956); and Gustave Dumas, Historie du Journal de trevoux depuis 1701 jusqu’en 1762 (Paris: 1936).Google Scholar
  8. 2.
    Cf. Henri Gouhier, La philosophie de Malebranche et son expérience religieuse (2nd ed., paris 1948), pp. 368f. Martial Gueroult, Malebranche (Paris: 1955), I, 159f. Geneviève Rodis-Lewis, Nicolas Malebrache (Paris: 1963), esp. pp. 96f.Google Scholar
  9. 1.
    Wolff, Vernünftige Gedanken von Gott, der Welt und der Seele des Menschen (Halle: 1720), § 2. (The Preface is dated Dec. 23, 1719)Google Scholar
  10. 5.
    Chastaing, “Berkeley, défenseur du sens commun..” Revue Philosophie, CXLIII (1953), 22m. See also André Leroy, “ Influence de la philosophie Berkeleyenne sur la pensée continentale.” Hermathea, LXXXII (1953), 29n. Berkeley is also called idealist in the Bibliothéque Italique, XIII (1732), (review of the Italian translation of the New Theory of Vision), cf. p. 184.Google Scholar
  11. 6.
    Leroy, op. cit., p. 28. Pfaff’s short Latin work, Oratio de Egoismo, nova philosophica haeresi (Tübingen: 1722), was an academic address.Google Scholar
  12. 1.
    Buffier, Oeuvres Philosophiques (Paris: 1853), p. 292. This passage is from his Eléments de métaphysique, which the Catalogue of the Bibliothèque Nationale indicates was first published in 1725. For a detailed discussion of Buffier’s philosophy and its considerable influence, see Juan A. Ventosa Aguilar. El Sentido Común En Las Obras Filosópicas Del P. Claude Buffer, S. I. (Barcelona: 1957). The cited passage is discussed at p. 57 f.Google Scholar
  13. 2.
    Andrew Michael Ramsay. Les Voyages de Cyrus, avec un Discours sur la Mythologie (Paris:1727), II, 90, in the Discours section. An English translation appreared the same year.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1965

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  • Harry M. Bracken

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