The earliest example I can discover of an academic work whose title included the phrase towards a new is George Berkeley's An essay towards a new theory of vision, published in 1709. However, this seems to be a general instance of 17th–19th century authors who started their publications with the phrase An essay towards.
Berkeley's first important published work, An Essay Towards a NewTheory of Vision (1709), was an influential contribution to thepsychology of vision and also developed doctrines relevant to hisidealist project. In his mid-twenties, he published his most enduringworks, the Treatise concerning the Principles of HumanKnowledge (1710) and the Three Dialogues between Hylas andPhilonous (1713), whose central doctrines we will examinebelow.
1. An Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision 1709
In An Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision George Berkeley weaves a theory that depends on God's existence, and is shockingly difficult to refute. The problems he poses are immensely difficult, and still being answered. George Berkeley was an Anglo-Irish philosopher whose primary achievement was the advancement of a theory he called "immaterialism". This theory…
An Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision (4th ed.) is an e-text version of the classic work by the 18th century Irish empiricist philosopher George Berkeley. (Berkeley's most famous works are A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, and Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous). The Essay was first published in 1709, with further editions published later in 1732. Whilst of seminal importance in the history of psychology, the Essay is also a key text in the study of Berkeley's philosophy. Much of the Essay takes the form of philosophical argument, and Berkeley in this work introduces his theses that the things we genuinely perceive by sight do not exist beyond the mind, and that the things we perceive by sight differ in kind from the things we perceive by touch. Berkeley here also investigates the perceptual processes involved in our apprehension by sight of objects at a distance. He rejects the received view of his day, and presents an alternative theory (that we learn by experience to associate certain cues within our 'flat' visual field with tactual experiences of objects existing at a distance from us). Berkeley's theory in turn became the received view in psychology for at least 150 years after the first publication of the Essay. The e-text version itself is presented in plain type, without hyperlink facilities, and it is not stated whether the text is taken from an original copy of the 4th edition, or from a more recent preparation.George Berkeley, An Essay towards a New Theory of Vision. 2nd ed. Dublin: Printed by Aaron Rhames, for Jeremy Pepyat, 1709 [i.e.1710]. Hewitson Library, Knox College. Eb 1709 B