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A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge Paperback – June 1, 2013


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A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge + An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding: with Hume's Abstract of A Treatise of Human Nature and A Letter from a Gentleman to His Friend in Edinburgh (Hackett Classics) + Meditations on First Philosophy (Hackett Classics)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 82 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1490323988
  • ISBN-13: 978-1490323985
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

George Berkeley (12 March 1685 – 14 January 1753), also known as Bishop Berkeley (Bishop of Cloyne), was an Anglo-Irish philosopher whose primary achievement was the advancement of a theory he called "immaterialism" (later referred to as "subjective idealism" by others). This theory denies the existence of material substance and instead contends that familiar objects like tables and chairs are only ideas in the minds of perceivers, and as a result cannot exist without being perceived. Berkeley is also known for his critique of abstraction, an important premise in his argument for immaterialism.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Warren Legg on October 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is not the place for a philosophical analysis of Berkeley's original text, and its content of argument. The review concerns the specific book edited by Dancy, and its worth in respect of its further contribution to understanding the Treatise.
This book is to be strongly recommended as it provides a multitude of resources that contextualise, criticise, and clarify, the positions put forward by Berkeley in this work.
The most substantial contribution is the extensive introduction comprised of 15 punchy sections, covering Berkeley's life, his academic heritage, and analysis of his thought (both internal and external to that given in the Treatise). Dancy is fair to Berkeley in setting forth the most robust defences of his position, and marshalling critical arguments against the Berkelian stance. This is supplemented by an extremely thorough set of endnotes that are continually present in the background of the text, offering detailed guidance whenever necessary, or desired.
Additionally, the book offers a summarised concise overview of the arguments provided in the Treatise, a glossary of archaic terms(!), and a very helpful short section entitled "How to use this book" (why don't more books include this sort of thing?). There is also a manageable annotated bibliography of further reading to trail a path for academic expansion.
Overall, I found that this book provided a systematic treatment of the text and provided a solid structure of support surrounding the subject. Also included, the letters between Berkeley and Johnson, provide an unexpected bonus. This book is relatively cheap, considering its breadth and depth. In my opinion, it is an ideal text through which to study (and enjoy) Berkeley's Treatise.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a very important work of George Berkeley. On of its most interesting topics is that about the existence of matter. As, for human beings, the "existence" of something is related to its perception, there is a very close link between "things" and ideas. Both cannot have their existence completely proved. The arguments place the book among the most interesting on the top issues discussed in its time (empiricism, materialism, etc.)
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a very important work of George Berkeley. On of its most interesting topics is that about the existence of matter. As, for human beings, the "existence" of something is related to its perception, there is a very close link between "things" and ideas. Both cannot have their existence completely proved. The arguments place the book among the most interesting on the top issues discussed in its time (empiricism, materialism, etc.)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This work was the first I’d ever read by George Berkeley.

In this treatise, Berkeley expounds on his theory of immaterialism. This basically states that no material thing exists outside of that which perceives it and bears no relation whatsoever to solipsism—the belief that only the self exists.

Berkeley was a deeply religious man who believed that nature and matter did not exist without being perceived in consciousness; that this perception was an idea instilled in the spirits of men through the infinite all-perceiving mind of God. Therefore, the revelation of God as the very originator of creation is available to anyone not bound by the notion of material existence outside of consciousness.

From a materialist, purely Cartesian, Newtonian perspective, his ingenious works might seem ludicrous. There were no physicists at the time to chime in with theories of quantum physics that so readily collapse the foundations of materialism. Berkeley stood his ground alone.

The prose is bloated and bombastic, but let’s not forget the text was written in 1710, and compared to other writings of his time, his was simple and straight to the point.

A TREATISE CONCERNING THE PRINCIPLES OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE is a treasure to anyone with a spiritual or religious inclination. The message is as deep as it is subtle, and can be quite transformative if you allow its transcendental logic the benefit of a truly open mind.
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