In his last major book, Siris (1744), the philosopher George Berkeley proposed tar-water as a universal medicine, suggesting that he had found a panacea. Shortly after its publication, Siris became immensely popular and tar-water spread all around Europe and even reached America. The aim of this article is to present Berkeley's ideas about tar-water as a medicine with a particular focus on the origins of tar-water in Berkeley's thinking and its alleged medical effects. Berkeley conceived of tar-water as at one end of a chain, with God at the other end. I reconstruct this chain, excluding from the examination the last parts, related to metaphysics and theology. Furthermore, relying on eighteenth-century letters, books and pamphlets, I briefly introduce the conditions leading Berkeley to start experimenting with tar-water as well as the context and the so called “pamphlet war” following the publication of Siris.

George Berkeley's tar-water medicine

Hošman Mirek Tobiáš
2020

Abstract

In his last major book, Siris (1744), the philosopher George Berkeley proposed tar-water as a universal medicine, suggesting that he had found a panacea. Shortly after its publication, Siris became immensely popular and tar-water spread all around Europe and even reached America. The aim of this article is to present Berkeley's ideas about tar-water as a medicine with a particular focus on the origins of tar-water in Berkeley's thinking and its alleged medical effects. Berkeley conceived of tar-water as at one end of a chain, with God at the other end. I reconstruct this chain, excluding from the examination the last parts, related to metaphysics and theology. Furthermore, relying on eighteenth-century letters, books and pamphlets, I briefly introduce the conditions leading Berkeley to start experimenting with tar-water as well as the context and the so called “pamphlet war” following the publication of Siris.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/798657
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