Thursday, August 18, 2011

Berkeley on Reading Berkeley

What you have seen of mine was published when I was very young, and without doubt hath many defects. For though the notions should be true (as I verily think they are), yet it is difficult to express them clearly and consistently, language being framed to common use and received prejudices. I do not therefore pretend that my books can teach truth. All I hope for is, that they may be an occasion to inquisitive men of discovering truth, by consulting their own minds, and looking into their own thoughts.

George Berkeley, letter to Samuel Johnson, 25 November 1729. (This is the American Samuel Johnson, who would later become the first president of Columbia University, which at the time was called King's College; the correspondence occurred while Johnson was in Connecticut and Berkeley was in Rhode Island.)

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