George Berkeley

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George Berkeley (pronounced /ˈbɑrkliː/ [1]) (12 March 1685 – 14 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 contends that individuals can only know sensations and ideas of objects, not abstractions such as "matter", and that ideas depend on perceiving minds for their very existence. This belief later became immortalized in the dictum, "esse est percipi" ("to be is to be perceived").

In 1709, Berkeley published his first major work, An Essay towards a New Theory of Vision in which he discussed the limitations of human vision and advanced the theory that proper objects of sight are not material objects but light and color. This foreshadowed his chief philosophical works A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge in 1710 which, after its poor reception, he rewrote in dialogue form and published under the title Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous in 1713.[2] In this book, Berkeley’s views were represented by Philonous, Hylas being an embodiment of the Irish thinker’s opponents, in particular John Locke. Berkeley argued against Sir Isaac Newton's absolute space, time and motion in De Motu [3] (on Motion), published 1721. His arguments were a precursor to the views of Leibniz, Mach and Einstein.[4] In 1734, he published The Analyst, a critique of the foundations of infinitesimal calculus, which was influential in the development of mathematics.


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