George Berkeley, also Bishop Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne

Berkeley, also Bishop Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne

Anglo-Irish Philosopher whose primary achievement was the advancement of a theory he called "Immaterialism" (later referred to as "Subjective Idealism" by others)

Author Quotes

I entirely agree with you, as to the ill tendency of the affected doubts of some philosophers, and fantastical conceit of others. I am even so far gone of late in this way of think that I have quitted several of the sublime notions I had got in their schools for vulgar opinions. And I give it you on my word, since this revolt from metaphysical notions to the plain dictates of nature and common sense, I find my understanding strangely enlightened, so that I can now easily comprehend a great many thing which before were all mystery and riddle.

In short, extension, figure and motion, abstracted from all other qualities, are inconceivable. Where therefore the other sensible qualities are, there must these be also, that is, in the mind and nowhere else.

It is, generally, in the season of prosperity that men discover their real temper, principles, and designs.

Must not the conduct of a parent seem very unaccountable to a child when its inclinations are thwarted; when it is put to learn letters; when it is obliged to swallow bitter physic; to part with it what it likes, and to suffer, and do, and see many things done, contrary to its own judgment? Will it not, therefore, follow from hence, by a parity of reason, that the little child man, when it takes upon itself to judge of parental providence—a thing of yesterday to criticize the economy of the Ancient of Days—will it not follow, I say, that such a judge of such matters must be apt to make very erroneous judgments, esteeming those things in themselves unaccountable which he cannot account for; and concluding of some things, from an appearance of arbitrary carriage towards him, which is suited to his infancy and ignorance, that they are in themselves capricious or absurd, and cannot proceed from a wise, just, and benevolent God?

Particularly, matter or the absolute existence of corporeal objects has been shown to be that wherein the most avowed and pernicious enemies of all knowledge, whether human or divine, have ever placed their chief strength and confidence.

Spain: A whale stranded upon the coast of Europe.

The great must submit to the dominion of prudence and of virtue, or none will long submit to the dominion of the great.

There is but one law for all, namely that law which governs all law, the law of our Creator, the law of humanity, justice, equity - the law of nature and of nations.

We are under an invincible blindness as to the true and real nature of things. .. Hence a great number of dark and ambiguous terms presumed to stand for abstract notions, have been introduced into metaphysics and morality, and from these have grown infinite distractions and disputes amongst the learned.

Whilst shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart; nor will moderation be utterly exiled from the minds of tyrants.

But, these being known to be mistakes, a man may with greater ease prevent his being imposed on by words. He that knows he has no other than particular ideas will not puzzle himself in vain to find out and conceive the abstract idea annexed to any name. And he that knows names do not always stand for ideas will spare himself the labor of looking for ideas where there are none to be had. It were, therefore, to be wished that everyone would use his utmost endeavors to obtain a clear view of the ideas he would consider, separating from them all that dress and encumbrance of words which so much contribute to blind the judgment and divide the attention.

Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver.

I had rather be an oyster than a man, the most stupid and senseless of animals. If we admit a thing so extraordinary as the creation of this world, it should seem that we admit something strange, and odd, and new to human apprehension, beyond any other miracle whatsoever.

In the groves of their academy, at the end of every vista, you see nothing but the gallows.

It is, I think, agreed by all that distance, of itself and immediately, cannot be seen. For distance being a Line directed end-wise to the eye, it projects only one point in the fund of the eye, which point remains invariably the same, whether the distance be longer or shorter.

My design is to show the manner wherein we perceive by sight the distance, magnitude, and situation of objects. Also to consider the difference there is betwixt the ideas of sight and touch, and whether there be any idea common to both senses.

Passion for fame: A passion which is the instinct of all great souls.

Superstition is the religion of feeble minds.

The imagination of a poet is a thing so nice and delicate that it is no easy matter to find out images capable of giving pleasure to one of the few who, in any age, have come up to that character.

They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance.

We have first raised a dust and then complain we cannot see

Yet so it is, we see the illiterate bulk of mankind that walk the high-road of plain common sense, and are governed by the dictates of nature, for the most part easy and undisturbed. To them nothing that is familiar appears unaccountable or difficult to comprehend. They complain not of any want of evidence in their senses, and are out of all danger of becoming Skeptics.

Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.

By gnawing through a dike, even a rat may drown a nation.

For as to the manner of the action whereby it is produced, or the cause which produces it, these are not so much aimed at.

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Berkeley, also Bishop Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne
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Anglo-Irish Philosopher whose primary achievement was the advancement of a theory he called "Immaterialism" (later referred to as "Subjective Idealism" by others)