One of the greatest British philosophers, Bishop Berkeley (1685-1753) was the founder of the influential doctrine of Immaterialism - the belief that there is no reality outside the mind, and that the existence of material objects depends upon their being perceived. The Principles of Human Knowledge eloquently outlines this philosophical concept, and argues forcefully that the world consists purely of finite minds and ideas, and of an infinite spirit, God. A denial of all non-spiritual reality, Berkeley's theory was at first heavily criticized by his contemporaries, who feared its ideas would lead to scepticism and atheism. The Three Dialogues provide a powerful response to these fears.
George Berkeley was an Anglo-Irish philosopher whose primary achievement was the advancement of a theory he called "immaterialism" (later referred to as "subjective idealism" by others). This theory denies the existence of material substance and instead contends that familiar objects like tables and chairs are only ideas in the minds of perceivers, and as a result cannot exist without being perceived. Berkeley is also known for his critique of abstraction, an important premise in his argument for immaterialism. His first major work, An Essay towards a New Theory of Vision, in which he discussed the limitations of human vision and advanced the theory that the proper objects of sight are not material objects, but light and color. This foreshadowed his chief philosophical work A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge.
Through reflection or introspection, is it possible to attempt to know if a sound, shape, movement, or color can exist unperceived by a mind? This book largely seeks to refute the claims made by Berkeley's contemporary John Locke about the nature of human perception. Both Locke and Berkeley agreed that there was an outside world, and it was this world which caused the ideas one has within one's mind. Berkeley sought to prove that the outside world was also composed solely of ideas.
Author name not noted above: David Hume. Originally published between 1909 and 1917 under the name "Harvard Classics," this stupendous 51-volume set-a collection of the greatest writings from literature, philosophy, history, and mythology-was assembled by American academic CHARLES WILLIAM ELIOT (1834-1926), Harvard University's longest-serving president. Also known as "Dr. Eliot's Five Foot Shelf," it represented Eliot's belief that a basic liberal education could be gleaned by reading from an anthology of works that could fit on five feet of bookshelf. Volume XXXVII features significant works by three of the most essential thinkers writing in the English language: [ "Some Thoughts Concerning Education," by English philosopher JOHN LOCKE (1632-1704), the 1693 essay that has profoundly influenced Western ideas about education [ Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous in Opposition to Sceptics and Atheists, by Irish philosopher GEORGE BERKELEY (1685-1753), published in 1713 and fancifully pitting the author against Locke, his adversary in British empiricism, on matters of skepticism, perception, and materialism [ An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, by Scottish philosopher DAVID HUME (1711-1776), the 1748 treatise that continues to be reflected in everything from modern psychology to modern science fiction.
The rise and fall of British Empiricism is philosophy's most dramatic example of pushing premises to their logical--and fatal--conclusions. Born in 1690 with the appearance of Locke's Essay, Empiricism flourished as the reigning school until 1739 when Hume's Treatise strangled it with its own cinctures after a period of Berkeley's optimistic idealism. The Empiricists collects the key writings on this important philosophy, perfect for those interested in learning about this movement with just one book.