Berkeley and spiritual realism
Spinoza and Berkeley: a coincidence.— Among modern philosophers Spinoza and Berkeley rank together in the manner of their reception.
For more than a century after they died both were misinterpreted or neglected. Within the last century, each in his way has become an influential factor in the excitement and formation of philosophical thought. Both tardily recognised.— Spinoza died in 1677, and for more than a hundred years after was vaguely regarded as an impious atheist, under the ban of civil and ecclesiastical authority. Berkeley died in 1753, and for a century was ridiculed as an eccentric visionary, who denied the reality of the earth on which he trod, and of the human beings by whom he was surrounded.
Each is now an influential philosophical factor. — Today the contemplative reverence of Spinoza's temper is freely acknowledged, and his works are accepted as classics in the philosophical literature of Europe, the productions of one who devoted his short life to reasoned meditation about God, or the Universe which he identified with God. And the philosophy of Berkeley is now interpreted as a serious endeavour to vindicate the ultimate spirituality of the universe, and the moral or supernatural agency constantly at work in nature.
Within the last forty years (in 1871 and 1901) two large editions of his Collected Works have been issued from the Oxford Clarendon Press, besides about ten thousand copies of annotated ' Selections from Berkeley,' much used as a textbook in the colleges and universities of Britain and America. Within the same period, too, Berkeley has been the subject of numerous criticisms in the periodical literature of France, Italy, Germany, and America, as well as in this country.
Questions common to both, but differently answered by each.— Spinoza and Berkeley had this in common, that they found their supreme interest in the final problem of the universe into which we are all ushered as strangers at birth, and in which we now find ourselves, transitory visitors, trying to forecast our final destiny. Is Matter or Mind, Body or Spirit, or Something that transcends both, at the root of all?
Is the Reality with which we have constantly to do blind, uninterpretable, meaningless; or is it the revelation of perfect reason and goodness? Is the world, underneath its continuous transformations, a settled Cosmos, and thus trustworthy and interpretable; or is it ultimately a Chaos, which for a time takes the appearance of Cosmos, but which may become a chaotic enigma, unfit to yield science, or to enable us to regulate our actions for the benefit of life? Must I regard myself as a transitory bubble on the endless stream, or as destined for continuous personal or morally responsible life, after this embodied self loses its present embodiment in death? Is Pessimism or Optimism the final goal of the evolution in which I find my embodied self involved? Spinoza and Berkeley: a coincidence.
George Berkeley – known as Bishop Berkeley – was an Anglo-Irish philosopher whose primary achievement was the advancement of a theory he called "immaterialism"
the book details :
Author: Alexander Campbell Fraser
Company: London: Constable