- Early American Immaterialism: Samuel Johnson's Emendations of Berkeley
- Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 54, Number 4, Fall 2018
- pp. 441-456
- View Citation
- Additional Information
This paper analyzes Berkeley's correspondence during his American sojourn of 1729–31 with the Connecticut philosopher and theologian Samuel Johnson, an early and influential convert to Berkeleianism. Although these letters have been examined by eminent Berkeley scholars including Jessop, Luce, and Popkin, their treatments of Johnson are not charitable. Contrary to Luce, who asserts that Johnson is "muddled" on several points, and "strikes at the root" of Berkeley's philosophy, I maintain that Johnson offers plausible and friendly amendments to Berkeley's system—concerning (i) archetypes; (ii) space and duration; (iii) the esse of finite spirits—which would help to reconcile Berkeley with Newtonian natural philosophy and with common sense.