Saturday, June 25, 2005

Idealism

For this weekend's poems I am jumping from Berkeley Square to Bishop Berkeley. George Berkeley was one of the three most famous eighteenth century British Empiricists (along with John Locke and David Hume). He was an idealist: everything that exists is either a mind or depends for its existence upon a mind. He was an immaterialist: matter does not exist. He accepted the seemingly outrageous position that ordinary physical objects are composed solely of ideas, which are inherently mental; a view neatly summarised in a limerick.

There was a young man who said, God
Must think it exceedingly odd
If he finds that this tree
Continues to be
When there's no one about in the Quad.
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