Berkeley's Christian neoplatonism, archetypes, and divine ideas

Journal of the History of Philosophy 39 (2):239-258 (2001)
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Berkeley's doctrine of archetypes explains how God perceives and can have the same ideas as finite minds. His appeal of Christian neo-Platonism opens up a way to understand how the relation of mind, ideas, and their union is modeled on the Cappadocian church fathers' account of the persons of the trinity. This way of understanding Berkeley indicates why he, in contrast to Descartes or Locke, thinks that mind (spiritual substance) and ideas (the object of mind) cannot exist or be thought of apart from one another. It also hints at why Gregory of Nyssa's immaterialism sounds so much like Berkeley's.

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Stephen H. Daniel
Texas A&M University


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