In this treatise, Berkeley expounds on his theory of immaterialism. This basically states that no material thing exists outside of that which perceives it and bears no relation whatsoever to solipsism—the belief that only the self exists.
Berkeley was a deeply religious man who believed that nature and matter did not exist without being perceived in consciousness; that this perception was an idea instilled in the spirits of men through the infinite all-perceiving mind of God. Therefore, the revelation of God as the very originator of creation is available to anyone not bound by the notion of material existence outside of consciousness.
From a materialist, purely Cartesian, Newtonian perspective, his ingenious works might seem ludicrous. There were no physicists at the time to chime in with theories of quantum physics that so readily collapse the foundations of materialism. Berkeley stood his ground alone.
The prose is bloated and bombastic, but let’s not forget the text was written in 1710, and compared to other writings of his time, his was simple and straight to the point.
A TREATISE CONCERNING THE PRINCIPLES OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE is a treasure to anyone with a spiritual or religious inclination. The message is as deep as it is subtle, and can be quite transformative if you allow its transcendental logic the benefit of a truly open mind.
eBook A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge