George Berkeley

George Berkeley was one of the three most famous eighteenth century British Empiricists (see LOCKE, JOHN and HUME, DAVID). He is best known for his motto, esse is percipi, to be is to be perceived. He was an idealist: everything that exists is either a mind or depends for its existence upon a mind. He was an immaterialist: matter does not exist. He accepted the seemingly outrageous position that ordinary physical objects are composed solely of ideas, which are inherently mental. He wrote on vision, mathematics, Newtonian mechanics, economics, and medicine as well as philosophy. In his own time, his most often-read works concerned the medicinal value of tar-water. And in a curious sense, he was the first great American philosopher.
In 1713, he published Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous.

Berkeley's attack on the doctrine of abstract ideas follows three tracks. (1) There is the "I can't do it" argument in Intro.

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