George Berkeley and John Locke RelationshipJune 27, 2021
Berkeley is a priest and missionary. As such, it fell to him to develop Locke’s philosophy in a mystical direction.
Locke suggested that we can derive universal concepts thanks to the ability of abstraction in the soul. Berkeley opposes this and does not even admit that universal concepts are found in the soul. According to him, we cannot establish new designs that show what is common between objects. For example, when a stone is considered, we do not have a separate stone concept that covers all stones, we only have a single stone concept that meets and represents the stone in question.
Berkeley also ignores the general and abstract qualities of objects. There are no general qualities such as floor covering, shape, condition. All our knowledge of objects consists of our perceptions. There is nothing of an object other than what we perceive. For example, the color, shape, size, etc. of a stone. It does not have an existence other than its qualities or an essence bearing these qualities. Stone is what we perceive. People accept what they perceive to exist. Philosophers invented the idea that there is an object that meets a perception and caused the perceived object and the existing object dilemma.
However, if there is a perception, there must be a reason other than our own. Because people cannot create these designs. The vitality, order and irresistibility of our perceptions prove this. Since the cause of these perceptions is not material, they are spiritual, that is, God. Thus, human perceptions became a creation of God and it was accepted that the external world did not have a separate existence. Right designs are also found in God, and the right designs of man are those that fit them. Errors and errors are also those that do not conform to God’s designs.
Locke had left two doors open. The first to materialism, the second to mysticism. Berkeley walked through the latter to the end and denied the existence of objects. He believed that these designs, which consist of our perceptions, are the creation of the infinitely powerful God and that miracles can happen. This is the exact opposite of the principles of mechanical necessity and causality in nature put forward by Newton at that time.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook