To Exist Is To Be Perceived, To Exist Is To Be Perceived (esse est per jepi) What Does It Mean?

To Exist Is To Be Perceived, To Exist Is To Be Perceived (esse est per jepi) What Does It Mean?

June 27, 2021 Off By Felso

Many philosophers will forever be remembered with phrases unique to them. For Rene Descartes, “I think, therefore I am” (or cogito ergo sum) is a starting point for metaphysics and epistemology. John Locke says that each of us is a “blank slate” (or tabula rasa) before we can sense it. For Berkeley, this expression became “to be is to be perceived” (or esse es percipi).

Berkeley’s philosophy is called idealism, because Berkeley, in fact, argued that only “ideas exist”. His philosophy and other philosophies that adopt the view that the external world is somehow produced by the mind are also known as idealism.

According to Berkeley philosophy, there are only two kinds of things: souls and ideas. Souls are perceivers, ideas are perceived. Ideas are passive, but spirits are active and capable of causing ideas.

Humans are finite souls, whereas God is an eternal soul and is the cause of most people’s ideas. For example, when you perceive a rose, your idea or idea of ​​the rose exists. But the rose does not exist apart from your idea of ​​it.

Berkeley’s frightening and provocative formula—”To be is to be perceived”—means that things exist only if they are perceived or can be perceived. This means that if something is not perceived, it cannot exist. The only way the word existing can make any sense is through the perception of that thing.

“To be is to be perceived” is Berkeley’s most famous phrase.

Berkeley wrote:

“This chorus of heavenly and earthly bodies, in short, the immense structure of the world, has no existence without a mind to perceive or know of their existence. Therefore, unless they are perceived by me, or exist in the mind of me or another created spirit, it either does not exist at all. they cannot exist, or they exist in the mind of an eternal soul.”

And yet, to those who argue that material things have some sort of absolute existence regardless of whether they are perceived or not, Berkeley’s answer is that “it is vague and incomprehensible.” Berkeley explains:

“It is nonsense to speak of the absolute existence of unthinking things (without a mind that thinks for themselves), such as matter.” It is said here that sensuous things exist only to the degree that they can be perceived. “The only thing we deny the existence of is what philosophers call matter or material substance.”

The bottom line is that when philosophers like Locke call certain things substance, or others use terms like matter, the words they use don’t refer to anything. If by substance and matter you mean something that exists independently outside the world, then you are talking about something that does not exist.

Berkeley also rejects so-called abstract objects—or what the Middle Ages called “universals” and Plato “ideas.”

In addition, Locke’s distinction between primary and secondary qualities (structural qualities such as rigidity, motion, and form, as well as those in color, odor, and sound) and asserting that those in the first group are objective and those in the second group are subjective; primary qualifications depend on secondary qualifications; all are equally subjective.

Berkeley also rejects so-called abstract objects—or what the Middle Ages called “universals” and Plato “ideas.” For example, if someone says that redness is separate from any red object or goodness from any good deed or person, then he is saying that redness or goodness exist as independent elements.

For Berkeley this is impossible; because anything that cannot be perceived cannot exist. It is absurd to have the idea of ​​red without something red and the idea of ​​good without something good. Just as matter could not exist without its sensation.

So, is Berkeley saying that the moment you leave your room and stop perceiving your furniture or computer, these objects cease to exist?

No. Because another mind is still perceiving these objects, even when you leave the building. For even if you do not perceive these objects, God perceives them. Berkeley explains:

“When I deny the existence of sensory things outside my mind, I am not specifically talking about my own mind, I am talking about all minds. Of course, it is clear that things also exist outside of my mind, because through experience I see that they are independent of my mind. there must also be another mind in which they exist between intervals. mind is present.”

So the existence of things depends on the existence of God, and God is the cause of the regularity of beings in nature. The order in nature was created by God