Berkeley, George

(1685-1753)
   Philosopher, eldest s. of William B., a cadet of the noble family of Berkeley, b. at Kilcrin near Kilkenny, and ed. at the school of his native place and at Trinity Coll., Dublin, where he graduated and took a Fellowship in 1707. His earliest publication was a mathematical one; but the first which brought him into notice was his Essay towards a New Theory of Vision, pub. in 1709. Though giving rise to much controversy at the time, its conclusions are now accepted as an established part of the theory of optics. There next appeared in 1710 the Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, which was followed in 1713 by Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, in which he propounded his system of philosophy, the leading principle of which is that the world as represented to our senses depends for its existence on being perceived. Of this theory the Principles gives the exposition and the Dialogues the defence. One of his main objects was to combat the prevailing materialism of the time. A theory so novel was, as might be expected, received with widespread ridicule, though his genius was realised by some of the more elect spirits, such as Dr. S. Clarke. Shortly afterwards B. visited England, and was received into the circle of Addison, Pope, and Steele. He then went to the Continent in various capacities, and on his return was made Lecturer in Divinity and Greek in his university, D.D. in 1721, and Dean of Derry in 1724. In 1725 he formed the project of founding a college in Bermuda for training ministers for the colonies, and missionaries to the Indians, in pursuit of which he gave up his deanery with its income of £1100, and went to America on a salary of £100. Disappointed of promised aid from Government he returned, and was appointed Bishop of Cloyne. Soon afterwards he pub. Alciphron, or The Minute Philosopher, directed against Shaftesbury, and in 1734-37 The Querist. His last publications were Siris, a treatise on the medicinal virtues of tar-water, and Further Thoughts on Tar-water. He d. at Oxford in 1753. His affectionate disposition and genial manners made him much beloved. As a thinker his is the greatest name in English philosophy between Locke and Hume. His style is clear and dignified.
   The best ed. of B. is Prof. A.C. Fraser's, with Life (4 vols., 1871, and new, 1902); there is also a small work by the same (1881).

Short biographical dictionary of English literature . . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Berkeley, George — George Berkeley David Berman BACKGROUND AND EARLY WORK George Berkeley was born on 12 March 1685 in Co. Kilkenny, where he spent his early years. His father was from England, his mother (very probably) was born in Ireland.1 After attending… …   History of philosophy

  • Berkeley, George — known as Bishop Berkeley born March 12, 1685, near Dysert Castle, near Thomastown?, County Kilkenny, Ire. died Jan. 14, 1753, Oxford, Eng. Irish bishop, philosopher, and social activist. He worked principally at Trinity College, Dublin (to 1713) …   Universalium

  • Berkeley, George — (1685–1753)    Bishop and Philosopher.    A native of Ireland, Berkeley was educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He was appointed Dean of Derry in 1724 and, after a period as a travelling missionary in America, he was consecrated Bishop of Cloyne …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Berkeley, George — (1685–1753) Irish idealist . Born at Kilkenny in Ireland, Berkeley entered Trinity College, Dublin in 1700. In 1707 he became a Fellow of the College and two years later published An Essay towards a New Theory of Vision (his Philosophical… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Berkeley, George — (1685 1753)    An empiricist philosopher, and Bishop of Cloyne from 1734 to 1752, Berkeley is now known chiefly not for his sermons and ecclesiastical works or even for his strange writings on tar water, but rather for his philosophical works, in… …   Christian Philosophy

  • Berkeley, George — ► (1685 1753) Filósofo inglés. Sostiene que lo único real son nuestras ideas y su realidad consiste en las que percibimos. Sus obras principales son los Principios del conocimiento humano (1710) y Tres diálogos entre Hylas y Filonús (1713). * * * …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • BERKELEY, GEORGE —    bishop of Cloyne, born in Kilkenny; a philanthropic man, who conducted in a self sacrificing spirit practical schemes for the good of humanity, which failed, but the interest in whom has for long centred, and still centres, in his philosophic… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Berkeley,George — Berke·ley (bärkʹlē, bûrkʹ ), George. 1685 1753. Irish prelate and philosopher whose idealist philosophy, directed against the materialism of Thomas Hobbes, is based on the thought that to be is to perceive or to be perceived. His works include… …   Universalium

  • BERKELEY, George — (1685 1753)    Irish clergyman and philosopher. Author of A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710) …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Berkeley, George Cranfield — (1753 1818)    Entered the navy, 1766; accompanied Cook in survey of coast of Newfoundland and Gulf of St. Lawrence, 1766 1769; and was on the Victory at Ushant, 1778. In 1786 surveyor general of ordnance, 1786; and vice admiral on the Halifax… …   The makers of Canada

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.