What Is George Berkeley’s Idealistic Theory?June 27, 2021
Berkeley, the founder of the doctrine that asserts that existence is not material, tried to explain the formation of the concept of space in his book The Theory of Vision, which he wrote at a young age. The following year, in his Treotise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge.
He developed the essence of his philosophy. He criticized Locke’s empiricism, which he considered overly reliant on the old theories of abstraction. In particular, he tried to refute the concept of matter, which exists on its own and grounds the reality of our perceptions. The idealist theory, which Berkeley put forward clearly and firmly, is based on the principle: “The essence of things is nothing else than they are perceived”. According to Berkeley, we recognize objects as thoughts. Objects cannot be other than thoughts, for sensations are pure thoughts. Objects are thoughts, even in the God who created them. There is no such thing as matter, except the thoughts we have about it. To get a general idea, we compare specific ideas with each other: Abstraction.
The whole value of science, free of false abstractions, is based on sensory precision. Putting forward an original proof of God’s existence based on sensory certainty, Berkeley wrote: “I think it is obvious that sensuous things cannot exist anywhere else than in an understanding. From this I do not conclude that they have a real existence, but that there must be a spiritual being in which they must exist, if they do not depend on my opinion and have a existence distinct from the quality of being perceived by me. So the more certain it is that the sensuous world exists. It is equally certain that there is an eternal and omnipresent spiritual being that contains and supports them”. Therefore, for Berkeley, the world is God’s. It is nothing but all the thoughts it evokes in people. But God to people. If he thus conveys his own thought or anything from his thought, its purpose is to attract people’s hearts to him. So the world is essentially God’s language for humans. It is the word thought by God.
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