Berkeley's Theory of Radical Dependence
Gavan Jennings, Author

This work traces the theory of Radical Dependence through its various forms in Berkeley's philosophical works. It shows that a desire to establish a theory of Radical Dependence underlies all of these works and that this theory unifies Berkeley's various phases of philosophical development.The work begins by establishing the meaning of “Radical Dependence” and examining the influence of Greek, Early Christian and Mediaeval philosophers and theologians on the development of the concept. Subsequently, the deism of the seventeenth-century philosophers is examined; the influence of science and rationalism on the development of deism is traced, with particular attention being given to Berkeley's personal milieu.With a view to showing that Berkeley wishes to re-establish the waning Christian cosmology, his philosophical works are examined in chronological order, particular attention being paid to his final work Siris. It is shown that, although Berkeley moves from a philosophy based on the immaterialist hypothesis in his early works, to one based on the doctrine of participation in his last work, each phase is a variation of the doctrine of Radical Dependence.In the final chapter some of the shortcomings of Berkeley's various philosophical systems are discussed and alternatives are examined. The direction of his thought is found to be guided more by piety than by common-sense and reason: he suffers from a pious pragmatism which leads him to hold doctrines as true on the grounds that they corroborate Christian doctrines. His firm belief in the providence of God leads him to affirm an almost pantheistic worldview which he never fully manages to reconcile with traditional Christian theology, and the doctrine of creation ex nihilo in particular.

Cambridge Scholars Publishing
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