more from George Berkeley

Single Idea 6723

[catalogued under 11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 3. Idealism / c. Empirical idealism]

Full Idea

The absolute existence of unthinking things with no relation to their being perceived is unintelligible to me; their 'esse' is 'percipi', nor is it possible they should have any existence out of the minds or thinking things which perceive them.

Gist of Idea

The 'esse' of objects is 'percipi', and they can only exist in minds


George Berkeley (The Principles of Human Knowledge [1710], 3)

Book Reference

Berkeley,George: 'The Principles of Human Knowledge etc.', ed/tr. Warnock,G.J. [Fontana 1962], p.66

A Reaction

"Esse est percipi" (to be is to be perceived) is the well-known slogan associated with Berkeley. I cannot see how Berkeley can assert that the separate existence of things is impossible. He is the classic confuser of epistemology and ontology.