A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge

Dover Publications (1940)
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is present to hear it, does it make a sound? It does not, according to George Berkeley. Originally published in 1710, this landmark of Western philosophy introduced a revolutionary concept: immaterialism, which asserts that to be is to perceive or be perceived. The treatise opens with an assault on Locke's theory of abstract ideas and proceeds with arguments that sensible qualities exist only when perceived as ideas. Physical objects, he claims, are no more than collections of qualities, and these sensible objects, too, are merely ideas. Berkeley relates his position to the achievements of eighteenth-century science, and proclaims the compatibility of immaterialism with traditional religion.
Keywords Knowledge, Theory of
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Call number B1331.M33 2003
ISBN(s) 048643253X   9780486432533  
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E. J. Green (forthcoming). A Layered View of Shape Perception. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv042.

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