David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
British Journal for the History of Philosophy 3 (2):279 – 300 (1995)
I. Introduction Siris, Berkeley's last major work, is undeniably a rather odd book. It could hardly be otherwise, given Berkeley's aims in writing it, which are three-fold: 'to communicate to the public the salutary virtues of tar-water,'1 to provide scientific background supporting the efficacy of tar-water as a medicine, and to lead the mind of the reader, via gradual steps, toward contemplation of God.2 The latter two aims shape Berkeley's extensive use of contemporary natural science in Siris. In particular, Berkeley's focus on what he calls fire (or aether or light) as a quasiuniversal 'cause' of natural change3 serves these purposes, for the 'activity' of the aether, in his view, can both explain the miraculous virtues of a certain medicine, i.e. tar-water, and reveal God's action and his divine order.4 Berkeley's corpuscular speculations, including his use of fire-theory, are not especially idiosyncratic as natural philosophy. In his theorizing, as Jessop and other have noted, he is heavily indebted to the work of Hermann Boerhaave, the Dutch chemist, botanist, and physician whose teachings were highly influential in mid-eighteenth century Britain.5 Boerhaave, along with other Dutch natural philosophers cited by Berkeley, assigned a central role in accounting for physio-chemical activity to fire, a subtle, insensible particulate substance, sometimes identified with light.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Marc A. Hight (2007). Berkeley and Bodily Resurrection. Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (3):443-458.
Lisa Downing (1995). Berkeley's Case Against Realism About Dynamics. In Robert G. Muehlmann (ed.), Berkeley's Metaphysics: Structural, Interpretive, and Critical Essays. The Pennsylvania State University Press. 197--214.
David Berman (1994). George Berkeley: Idealism and the Man. Oxford University Press.
Leonard M. Trawick (1967). Backgrounds of Romanticism. Bloomington, Indiana University Press.
David R. Hilbert (2007). Drink on, the Jolly Prelate Cries. In Steven Hales (ed.), Philosophy and Beer. Routledge.
Peter Walmsley (1990). The Rhetoric of Berkeley's Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
George Berkeley (2008/1969). Philosophical Writings. Cambridge University Press.
Gabriel Moked (1988). Particles And Ideas: Bishop Berkeley's Corpuscularian Philosophy. Clarendon Press.
Timo Airaksinen (2008). The Path of Fire : The Meaning and Interpretation of Berkeley's Siris. In Stephen H. Daniel (ed.), New Interpretations of Berkeley's Thought. Humanity Books.
Lisa Downing (2005). Berkeley's Natural Philosophy and Philosophy of Science. In Kenneth Winkler (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Berkeley. Cambridge University Press. 230--265.
Added to index2009-02-01
Total downloads22 ( #92,044 of 1,692,220 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #78,120 of 1,692,220 )
How can I increase my downloads?