The Problem of Divine Ideas in Eighteenth-Century Immaterialism: A Comparative Study of the Philosophies of George Berkeley, Samuel Johnson, Arthur Collier, and Jonathan Edwards

Dissertation, Emory University (1999)
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Immaterialism is typically associated with George Berkeley, but Berkeley's philosophy is one of four distinct versions of immaterialism that developed in the early eighteenth century. To the extent that attention has been given to the lesser known proponents of immaterialism, the basic differences in their views have not been adequately explicated and appreciated. I show that one of the most important differences between the several proponents of immaterialism is found in their different approaches to the problem of divine ideas, the question of the nature of God's ideas and their relation to human perception. My study of the problem of divine ideas in the philosophies of George Berkeley, Samuel Johnson, Arthur Collier and Jonathan Edwards provides the basis for an informed interpretation of eighteenth century immaterialism, its essential tenets, its sources, its cultural significance, its flexibility and its philosophical strengths and weaknesses.



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