http://global.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/61987/George-Berkeley George Berkeley, (born March 12, 1685, near Dysert Castle, near Thomastown?, County Kilkenny, Ireland—died January 14, 1753, Oxford, England), Anglo-Irish Anglican bishop, philosopher, and scientist, best known for his empiricist and idealist philosophy, which holds that everything save the spiritual exists only insofar as it is perceived by the senses.
Berkeley's Theory of Reality
George Berkeley 1685-1753
George Berkeley (Template:IPAc-en; 12 March 1685Template:Spaced ndash14 January 1753), also known as Bishop Berkeley (Bishop of Cloyne), was an Anglo-Irish philosopher whose primary achievement was the advancement of a theory he called "immaterialism" (later referred to as "subjective idealism" by others). This theory denies the existence of material substance and instead contends that familiar objects like tables and chairs are only ideas in the minds of perceivers, and as a result cannot exist without being perceived. Berkeley is also known for his critique of abstraction, an important premise in his argument for immaterialism.
http://www.philosophybasics.com/philosophers_berkeley.html In 1710, still only 25 years old, his "Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge" was published, his first exposition of the then revolutionary theory that objects exist only as perception and not as matter separate from perception, summed up in his dictum "Esse est percipi" ("To be is to be perceived"). The work is beautifully written and dense with cogent arguments, no matter how counter-intuitive the system may appear at first sight .
Number exists only in the mind. The same thing is described by different numbers according to the mind's viewpoint. An object can have an extension of one, three, and thirty six, according to its measurement in yards, feet, and inches. Number is relative and does not exist separately from a mind
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Treatise_Concerning_the_Principles_of_Human_Knowledge Berkeley sought to prove that the outside world was also composed solely of ideas. Berkeley did this by suggesting that "Ideas can only resemble Ideas" - the mental ideas that we possessed could only resemble other ideas (not physical objects) and thus the external world consisted not of physical form, but rather of ideas. This world was given logic and regularity by some other force, which Berkeley concluded was God.
George Berkeley was born at Kilcrene near Kilkenny on the 12th March 1685. In the year 1700 he entered Trinity College Dublin, and graduated four years later with a B.A. degree. He became a Fellow of the College in 1707, and was ordained as a priest of the Protestant Church in 1710. In 1724 he was appointed Dean of Derry, and became Bishop of Cloyne ten years later. He served faithfully and competently in that position for eighteen years, refusing an offer of the more prestigious Bishopric of Clogher, and retired in 1752. He settled at Oxford with his wife and family, and died suddenly on 14th January 1753.
This brief chronicle of Berkeley's ostensibly uneventful life tells us nothing about the character of the man himself, nor does it indicate why the individual concerned was to become firmly established, with John Scotus Erugena, as one of the two truly great and original philosophers which this country has ever produced. In this regard, therefore, it may be as well to begin by observing that Berkeley's literary and artistic talents were almost as great as his philosophical ones: his prose style is fluent, lucid, precise, cogent and witty, end he is one of the very few great masters of the dialogue-form in the English language.
Unlike his predecessor Locke, therefore, whose philosophical writings were for the most part disinterested and detached, in the sense that they played no direct part in his daily life or his duties as a statesman and physician, Berkeley's interest in philosophy was motivated principally by his concern with the defence of orthodox Christianity against the dangers of materialism, scepticism, and ultimately, atheism, which he was convinced were inherent in the philosophical and scientific theories dominant in his day. Consequently the central thrust of his two major works, The Principles of Human Knowledge and Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, is unashamedly apologetic, and this is reflected strongly in the subtitles which he appended to them:
The Principles: 'Wherein the Chief Causes of error and Difficulty in the Sciences, with the Grounds of Scepticism, Atheism, and Irreligion are inquired into.' Three Dialogues: 'The design of which is plainly to demonstrate the reality and perfection of human knowledge, and the incorporeal nature of the soul, and the immediate providence of a Deity: in opposition to Sceptics and Atheists. Also to open a method for rendering the Sciences more easy, useful and compendious.' (Berkeley - Philosophical Works, ed. M. R. Ayers).
Berkeley was justified to a large extent, in my view, in thinking that the philosophical systems of Descartes and Locke - the latter of whom bears the brunt of Berkeley's attack - lead ultimately to scepticism, particularly in view of their perceptual representationalism, and this was one of the many theories which he determined to controvert.
First published in The Journal of the Limerick Philosophical Society in 1987.
Peter B. Lloyd
http://www.peterblloyd.org/publications.htm Consciousness and Berkeley's Metaphysics written by Peter B Lloyd. An intensive defence of George Berkeley's theory of immaterialism, in the context of the mind-body problem and modern consciousness studies.
The mind-body problem in philosophy poses the question: how does the conscious mind relate to the material body? Traditionally, there have been three main responses: physical monism, which maintains that the conscious mind is an illusion; dualism, which says that mind and matter are both equally real; and mental monism, which insists that the physical world is a convenient fiction, This book provides a sustained defence of mental monism.
Published by: author under Ursa Software imprint, 267 pages, July 1999, ISBN 1902987004. Origins: I started sketching out notes for this book (and the accompanying book on the paranormal) when I was an undergraduate student in Cardiff in 1981. I worked on it, on and off, for a number of years. I eventually had a big push on it when I was working in Luxembourg in 1998 and 1999, and had a lot of free time in the evenings and weekends. I self-published the two books in July 1999. Purchase: Copies can be bought from the author. Secondhand copies can sometimes be obtained from www.amazon.co.uk. (Amazon used to have a full description of the book plus reviews, and they used to process orders by sending them to me. Alas, they have deleted all their information on the book, including the fact that I published it, so it is now an orphaned book entry on their database.)
102. One great inducement to our pronouncing ourselves ignorant of the nature of things is the opinion—which is popular these days—that every thing contains within itself the cause of its own properties: or in other words that there is in each object an inner essence that is the source from which its perceptible qualities flow and on which they depend. Some have claimed to account for appearances by an essence consisting of secret and mysterious qualities, but recently they are mostly explained in terms of mechanical causes, that is, the shape, motion, weight, etc. of imperceptible particles. But really the only agent or cause is spirit , because obviously motion and all the other ideas are perfectly inert. See 25 . Hence, to try to explain the production of colours or sounds by shape, motion, size etc. has to be wasted labour. That’s why attempts of that kind can always be seen to be unsatisfactory. (The same can be said in general, of any ‘explanation’ that assigns one idea or quality as the cause of another.) I needn’t say how many hypotheses and speculations we are spared by my doctrine, and how much simpler it makes the study of nature.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_argument made in this journal paper https://archive.org/details/BerkeleysMasterArgument
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