Questioning Authority: Anthony Collins’ Challenge to Orthodox Anglican Authority Figures & George Berkeley’s Reply

Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 2022:1-26 (2022)
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My goal in this paper is to reconstruct Anthony Collins’ challenge to the authority of orthodox Anglican figures, which arises due to arguments Collins develops in his Vindication of the Divine Attributes (1710) and Discourse on Free-Thinking (1713). In addition to shedding light on a hitherto underappreciated argument by Collins, my reconstruction allows me to propose a solution to the interpretive problem posed by §§16–22 of the fourth dialogue of Berkeley’s Alciphron (1732). While it has been acknowledged that Collins looms large in the background of these sections, Berkeley’s argumentative strategy has remained perplexing to commentators, particularly his references to several Scholastic thinkers. I argue that we can make sense of Berkeley’s strategy and references if we appreciate that these sections are intended to evade Collins’ challenge.

Author's Profile

Manuel Fasko
University of Basel


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