The Querist and the Development of George Berkeley’s Understanding of Society

Adam Grzeliński



The late editions of the Querist (1737–1750) appeared almost 40 years after George Berkeley published his Passive Obedience (1712) and almost 30 after An Essay Preventing the Ruin of Great Britain (1721), the first of his writings dealing with the problems of Ireland’s economy. During the period similar issues were raised in at least two of Berkeley’s writings, namely A Proposal for the better Supplying of Churches in our Foreign Plantations (1724), and the Alciphron (1732). The differences between the earlier writings and the Querist, as well as between the earlier and the later editions of the latter work, allow posing a thesis concerning the development of Berkeley’s understanding of the society and its relation to morality and religion. The change refers to an organistic conception of the society, a deeper understanding of non-rational factors shaping human behaviour, and a greater tolerance for Catholics. This new position is seconded by a new approach to nature which no longer is a perfect whole.

Słowa kluczowe

George Berkeley; the Querist; British empiricism; 18th-century Ireland; social philosophy

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