Berkeley, George (1685–1753)

George Berkeley

George Berkeley was an Irish bishop and philosopher of the idealist school (see idealism) who, rejecting the views of Locke as to the nature of material substance, substituted the esse-percipi principle: to be is to be perceived (or to be capable of perception).


In his Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous (1713) and Alciphron, or the Minute Philosopher (1732), Berkeley for the existence of numerous worlds inhabited by different degrees of intelligence. He countered the anti-Christian objection that there is more bad in the world than good, by suggesting that the Earth and its sinners might bear "no greater proportion to the universe of intelligences than a dungeon doth to a kingdom."


His visit to Rhode Island (1728–1731) is commemorated in the name Berkeley, California.