The Works of George Berkeley - Vol. 1

By George Berkeley; Alexander Campbell Fraser | Go to book overview

THE PREFACE

WHAT I here make public has, after a long and scrupulous inquiry1, seemed to me evidently true and not unuseful to be known; particularly to those who are tainted with Scepticism, or want a demonstration of the existence and immateriality of God, or the natural immortality of the Soul. Whether it be so or no I am content the reader should impartially examine; since I do not think myself any farther concerned for the success of what I have written than as it is agreeable to truth. But, to the end this may not suffer, I make it my request that the reader suspend his judgment till he has once at least read the whole through, with that degree of attention and thought which the subject-matter shall seem to deserve. For, as there are some passages that, taken by themselves, are very liable (nor could it be remedied) to gross misinterpretation, and to be charged with most absurd consequences, which, nevertheless, upon an entire perusal will appear not to follow from them; so likewise, though the whole should be read over, yet, if this be done transiently, it is very probable my sense may be mistaken: but to a thinking reader, I flatter myself it will be throughout clear and obvious.

As for the characters of novelty and singularity2 which

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1
In his Commonplace Book Berkeley seems to refer his speculations to his boyhood. The conception of the material world propounded in the following Treatise was in his view before the publication of the New Theory of Vision, which was intended to prepare the way for it.
2
Cf. Locke, in the "'Epistle Dedicatory'" of his Essay. Not- withstanding the 'novelty' of the New Principles, viz. negation of abstract or unperceived Matter, Space, Time, Substance, and Power; and affirmation of Mind, as the Synthesis, Substance, and Cause of all--much in best preceding

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