The ramist context of Berkeley's philosophy

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 9 (3):487 – 505 (2001)
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Abstract

Berkeley's doctrines about mind, the language of nature, substance, minima sensibilia, notions, abstract ideas, inference, and freedom appropriate principles developed by the 16th-century logician Peter Ramus and his 17th-century followers (e.g., Alexander Richardson, William Ames, John Milton). Even though Berkeley expresses himself in Cartesian or Lockean terms, he relies on a Ramist way of thinking that is not a form of mere rhetoric or pedagogy but a logic and ontology grounded in Stoicism. This article summarizes the central features of Ramism, indicates how Berkeley adapts Ramist concepts and strategies, and chronicles Ramism's pervasiveness in Berkeley's education, especially at Trinity College Dublin.

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Stephen H. Daniel
Texas A&M University

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