Single Idea 5192

[catalogued under 11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 2. Phenomenalism]

Full Idea

Berkeley did not (as we are commonly told) deny the reality of material things. ..What Berkeley discovered was that material things must be defined in terms of sense-contents.

Gist of Idea

Berkeley did not deny material things; he merely said they must be defined through sensations


report of George Berkeley (Three Dialogues of Hylas and Philonous [1713]) by A.J. Ayer - Language,Truth and Logic Ch.2

Book Reference

Ayer,A.J.: 'Language, Truth and Logic' [Penguin 1974], p.70

A Reaction

This seems to be a rather debatable attempt to claim that Berkeley was a phenomenalist (like Ayer), rather than an idealist. Try ideas 3942, 3944, 3945, 3957, 3959 in this database.

Related Ideas

Idea 3942 I do not believe in the existence of anything, if I see no reason to believe it [Berkeley]

Idea 3944 It is possible that we could perceive everything as we do now, but nothing actually existed. [Berkeley]

Idea 3945 There is nothing in nature which needs the concept of matter to explain it [Berkeley]

Idea 3957 Immediate objects of perception, which some treat as appearances, I treat as the real things themselves [Berkeley]

Idea 3959 There is no other substance, in a strict sense, than spirit [Berkeley]