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2.15 Berkeley

George Berkeley (Kilkenny, Ireland, 1685 – Oxford, England, 1753) is an anti-metaphysical, but from a certain point of view he remains a metaphysical. He is an anti-metaphysical in that he denies the existence of objects outside our mind; what we call objects are actually only a bundle of sensations, which go to form the ideas of our mind. For Berkeley “esse est percipi”, “being means being perceived”. We have no element allowing us to establish that this bundle of sensations comes from an object, from which they should emanate. On the other hand, even about sensations we can’t establish that they come from outside our mind. In this way, for Berkeley nothing exists outside the mind. This is anti-metaphysics.
But where do sensations come from? For Berkeley both sensations and the ideas they produce come from the mind of God, who sends them directly to our mind to communicate with us; therefore the whole world is nothing but a language that flows directly from the mind of God to our mind, as if by telepathy, that is, by direct transmission of thought; what exists is only God and us, and between God and us this continuous transmission of thought and ideas takes place; outside of this there is nothing. It is as if we were in a permanent dream, whose contents are given to us by God directly into the mind. In this sense, however, Berkeley is a metaphysical, since he identifies a place external to us, in which ideas are found and from which they flow towards us, that is God, or his mind. From here it follows that what is not thought by anyone does not exist. And then, if at any given time there is no one in the world who thinks, for example, of a library, does that library not exist for the duration of that moment, and then will it return to exist as soon as someone thinks of it? No, says Berkeley, since there is always some spirit that thinks everything, at least God. According to Berkeley, however, it makes no sense to think that objects exist independently of our thinking, since, at the very moment in which we try to use this idea , we think of those objects, and therefore they are no longer objects not thought of by anyone: it is not humanly possible to imagine objects not thought of by anyone, since as soon as we imagine them there is already someone who is thinking about them, that is us.
The vision of Berkeley, as we can see, is a religious vision, and it is also interesting to consider his thesis that we must believe in miracles, since their comprehensibility is no less obscure than the foundations of the sciences: if we go back to look for the basic ideas of any science, we will discover that they are as unknown and obscure as the idea of any miracle.

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