A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge

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Cosimo, Inc., Oct 1, 2005 - Philosophy - 104 pages
It is indeed an opinion strangely prevailing amongst men that houses, mountains, rivers, and, in a word, all sensible objects have an existence, natural or real, distinct from their being perceived by the understanding.-from "On the Principles ofHuman Knowledge"Forming a triangle of British empiricism with Locke and Hume, George Berkeley's direct influence on modern thought cannot be overstated. From the American Founding Fathers, who looked to him as the pioneer of their idealism, to the reality-questioning motives of quantum physics, Berkeley's odd, profound view of the nature of human perception, a sense he trusted implicitly, has in turn shaped our perception of the universe at large.Dismissed as an impractical dreamer, a disaffected anti-authoritarian, even a madman in his time, Berkeley here shifts the ground under the feet of humanity, questioning everything and finding fundamental freedom in human will and action. His conclusions remain as wise and inspiring as they were almost three hundred years ago, when he first shared them with the world in 1710.Irish scientist, philosopher, and writer GEORGE BERKELEY (1685-1753) also wrote An Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision (1709).
 

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About the author (2005)

Born and reared in Ireland, George Berkeley studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and then taught as a fellow there, eventually becoming Dean of Derry (1724) and Bishop of Cloyne (1734) in the Irish branch of the Anglican church. His primary philosophical interests included metaphysics and epistemology, the psychology of perception, philosophy of science, and natural theology. But he is best known for his defense of metaphysical idealism and denial of the existence of matter. Berkeley's best-known writings were produced relatively early in his life, between the ages of 24 and 28: They included Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision (1709), Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710), and Three Dialogues (1713). In 1728 Berkeley made a voyage to the United States in an unsuccessful attempt to found a college in Bermuda. He lived for two years at Newport, Rhode Island, and had a significant influence on American education, chiefly through his association with and donation of books to Yale University and his correspondence with Samuel Johnson, the first president of what is now Columbia University.

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