Alciphron, or the Minute Philosopher. in Seven Dialogues. Containing an Apology for the Christian Religion, Against Those Who Are Called Free-Thinkers. in Two Volumes.
London: Printed for J. Tonson in the Strand. 1732. Second Edition. Full-Leather. Good / No Jacket. Item #2329641
Second edition. Neatly rebacked with new gilt titles, original boards and endsheets retained. Discolored 2 inch declivity on front board, boards rubbed with corners exposed, ink owner stamps on front endpapers (William Harris Mar 1944), light stain to marginal edges of first gathering in volume two, front and end matter lightly foxed, rear free endpaper of first volume loosening.
xiii, 388,  pp. Alciphron is a Christian apologetic in answer to the 'minute philosophers' of Berkeley's day, who sought to minimize the the dignity of man. Berkeley is known as an advocate of subjective idealism (which he called immaterialism), which states that objects do not exist unless they are perceived. "A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710) is the classic exposition of his philosophy of immaterialism as an antidote to infidelity, prefaced with an influential essay in the philosophy of language; part two was later lost in manuscript, with other papers, in Italy." - Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Perhaps his most well-known work is Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, in which two characters representing himself and John Locke discuss various philosophical questions. Berkeley was a fellow at Trinity College, and in the 1720s turned his attention to the project of opening St. Paul's College in Bermuda, though skepticism about the chances of success in this endeavor caused the funding to come into question. "To prevent a threatening decline in private support, Berkeley sailed for Newport, Rhode Island, with a small advance party on 6 September 1728; this included Smibert, who painted several well-known portraits of Berkeley and of his party before settling for life in Boston. The journey was hazardous and protracted. They made an unscheduled landfall on the Virginia coast about the turn of the year and were officially received at Williamsburg before reaching Rhode Island on 23 January 1729. By the spring Berkeley had bought a farm of 96 acres at Middletown 'with two fine groves and winding rivulet upon it' (Works, 8.194), whose produce would support the college. He employed slaves and was apparently indifferent to the institution of slavery provided that it was humane, seeing the moral need rather as one of conversion and baptism. He built a new house, Whitehall, which is now maintained as a historic site although the adjoining farmland has given way to urban development. Berkeley often preached at Newport [Rhode Island] in the winter and in remoter outposts in the summer. The strongest and longest friendship he established among New England churchmen was with Samuel Johnson (1696–1772) of Stratford, Connecticut, a refugee from Calvinism who later became first president of King's College, New York (later Columbia University), and lent support to Berkeley's philosophy through his Elementa philosophica (1752) and other writings. Throughout his career Berkeley had little time for dissenters, although he abhorred the use of violence against them. The religious tolerance characteristic of Rhode Island induced a degree of ecumenicism in his social practice that was not always maintained in the pulpit. Reports of growing infidelity in English society, to which he was always liable to give credence, were fuelled by the continuing bad faith of the government in failing to lodge the funds he considered legally his. This was a factor in his writing Alciphron, a set of dialogues located notionally in England, but drawing much of the landscape description from Rhode Island, which was to sell well and stimulate controversy after his return. In this, theist and immaterialist combine their defences against a medley of intellectual trends (derived primarily but not exclusively from Locke, Bernard Mandeville, and the third earl of Shaftesbury) that Berkeley regarded as obstructive to religion. The work includes Berkeley's second foray into moral philosophy." - Oxford Dictionary of National Biography