Celebrating 20 Years on the Web
TODAY IN SCIENCE HISTORY ®
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Every body perseveres in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by forces impressed.”
more quiz questions >>
Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > George Berkeley Quotes

Thumbnail of George Berkeley (source)
George Berkeley
(12 Mar 1685 - 14 Jan 1753)

Irish philosopher of science and clergyman who considered matters in both mathematics and science. He contributed to an Empiricist philosophy, under which everything except the spiritual exists only to the extent it can be perceived by the senses. In Jan 1734, he was appointed Bishop of Cloyne.

Science Quotes by George Berkeley (6 quotes)

After what has been premised, I think we may lay down the following Conclusions. First, It is plain Philosophers amuse themselves in vain, when they inquire for any natural efficient Cause, distinct from a Mind or Spirit. Secondly, Considering the whole Creation is the Workmanship of a wise and good Agent, it should seem to become Philosophers, to employ their Thoughts (contrary to what some hold) about the final Causes of Things: And I must confess, I see no reason, why pointing out the various Ends, to which natural Things are adapted and for which they were originally with unspeakable Wisdom contrived, should not be thought one good way of accounting for them, and altogether worthy a Philosopher.
— George Berkeley
A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge [first published 1710], (1734), 126-7.
Science quotes on:  |  Adapt (66)  |  Agent (70)  |  Become (815)  |  Cause (542)  |  Conclusion (255)  |  Confess (42)  |  Contrary (142)  |  Creation (329)  |  Distinct (97)  |  Down (455)  |  Employ (113)  |  End (590)  |  Final (119)  |  First (1284)  |  Good (889)  |  Inquire (23)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Must (1526)  |  Natural (796)  |  Philosopher (259)  |  Reason (744)  |  See (1082)  |  Spirit (265)  |  Themselves (433)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Think (1086)  |  Thought (954)  |  Vain (83)  |  Various (200)  |  Way (1216)  |  Whole (738)  |  Why (491)  |  Wisdom (221)  |  Wise (132)  |  Workmanship (7)

As arithmetic and algebra are sciences of great clearness, certainty, and extent, which are immediately conversant about signs, upon the skilful use whereof they entirely depend, so a little attention to them may possibly help us to judge of the progress of the mind in other sciences, which, though differing in nature, design, and object, may yet agree in the general methods of proof and inquiry.
— George Berkeley
In Alciphron: or the Minute Philosopher, Dialogue 7, collected in The Works of George Berkeley D.D. (1784), Vol. 1, 621.
Science quotes on:  |  Agree (26)  |  Algebra (114)  |  Arithmetic (139)  |  Attention (191)  |  Certainty (174)  |  Clearness (11)  |  Conversant (6)  |  Depend (228)  |  Design (196)  |  Different (577)  |  Entire (47)  |  Extent (139)  |  General (511)  |  Great (1575)  |  Help (106)  |  Immediately (114)  |  Inquiry (79)  |  Judge (108)  |  Little (708)  |  Mathematics As A Language (20)  |  Method (506)  |  Methods (204)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Object (422)  |  Other (2236)  |  Possibly (111)  |  Progress (468)  |  Proof (289)  |  Science (3880)  |  Sign (58)  |  Skillful (14)  |  Use (766)

Colour, Figure, Motion, Extension and the like, considered only so many Sensations in the Mind, are perfectly known, there being nothing in them which is not perceived. But if they are looked on as notes or Images, referred to Things or Archetypes existing without the Mind, then are we involved all in Scepticism.
— George Berkeley
A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge [first published 1710], (1734), 109.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Archetype (5)  |  Being (1278)  |  Color (138)  |  Consider (416)  |  Extension (59)  |  Figure (160)  |  Image (96)  |  Involved (90)  |  Known (454)  |  Look (582)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Motion (312)  |  Nothing (969)  |  Scepticism (16)  |  Sensation (57)  |  Sense (770)  |  Thing (1915)

It hath been an old remark, that Geometry is an excellent Logic. And it must be owned that when the definitions are clear; when the postulata cannot be refused, nor the axioms denied; when from the distinct contemplation and comparison of figures, their properties are derived, by a perpetual well-connected chain of consequences, the objects being still kept in view, and the attention ever fixed upon them; there is acquired a habit of reasoning, close and exact and methodical; which habit strengthens and sharpens the mind, and being transferred to other subjects is of general use in the inquiry after truth.
— George Berkeley
In 'The Analyst', in The Works of George Berkeley (1898), Vol. 3, 10.
Science quotes on:  |  Acquired (78)  |  Attention (191)  |  Axiom (63)  |  Being (1278)  |  Comparison (102)  |  Connect (125)  |  Consequence (207)  |  Contemplation (73)  |  Definition (224)  |  Deny (67)  |  Distinct (97)  |  Exact (68)  |  Excellent (28)  |  Figure (160)  |  General (511)  |  Geometry (259)  |  Habit (168)  |  Inquiry (79)  |  Logic (287)  |  Methodical (8)  |  Mind (1339)  |  Must (1526)  |  Object (422)  |  Old (480)  |  Other (2236)  |  Perpetual (57)  |  Postulate (39)  |  Reasoning (207)  |  Refuse (42)  |  Sharpen (22)  |  Still (613)  |  Strengthen (23)  |  Subject (522)  |  Truth (1062)  |  Use (766)  |  Value Of Mathematics (60)  |  View (488)

It is indeed an Opinion strangely prevailing amongst Men, that Houses, Mountains, Rivers, and in a word all sensible Objects have an Existence Natural or Real, distinct from their being perceived by the Understanding. But with how great an Assurance and Acquiescence soever this Principle may be entertained in the World; yet whoever shall find in his Heart to call it in Question, may, if I mistake not, perceive it to involve a manifest Contradiction. For what are the forementioned Objects but the things we perceive by Sense, and what do we perceive besides our own Ideas or Sensations; and is it not plainly repugnant that anyone of these or any Combination of them should exist unperceived?
— George Berkeley
A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge [first published 1710], (1734),38.
Science quotes on:  |  All (4107)  |  Assurance (17)  |  Being (1278)  |  Call (769)  |  Combination (144)  |  Contradiction (68)  |  Distinct (97)  |  Do (1908)  |  Entertain (24)  |  Exist (444)  |  Existence (460)  |  Find (999)  |  Great (1575)  |  Heart (230)  |  House (140)  |  Idea (845)  |  Indeed (323)  |  Involve (90)  |  Mistake (170)  |  Mountain (187)  |  Natural (796)  |  Object (422)  |  Observation (560)  |  Opinion (281)  |  Principle (510)  |  Question (622)  |  Repugnant (8)  |  River (121)  |  Sensation (57)  |  Sense (770)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Understanding (514)  |  Whoever (42)  |  Word (622)  |  World (1778)

There are certain general Laws that run through the whole Chain of natural Effects: these are learned by the Observation and Study of Nature, and are by Men applied as well to the framing artificial things for the Use and Ornament of Life, as to the explaining the various Phænomena: Which Explication consists only in shewing the Conformity any particular Phænomenon hath to the general Laws of Nature, or, which is the same thing, in discovering the Uniformity there is in the production of natural Effects; as will be evident to whoever shall attend to the several Instances, wherin Philosophers pretend to account for Appearances.
— George Berkeley
A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge [first published 1710], (1734), 87-8.
Science quotes on:  |  Account (192)  |  Appearance (140)  |  Applied (176)  |  Attend (65)  |  Certain (550)  |  Consist (223)  |  Effect (394)  |  Evident (91)  |  General (511)  |  Law (895)  |  Learn (632)  |  Learned (235)  |  Life (1799)  |  Natural (796)  |  Nature (1928)  |  Observation (560)  |  Ornament (20)  |  Philosopher (259)  |  Production (183)  |  Run (174)  |  Study (656)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Through (849)  |  Uniformity (37)  |  Use (766)  |  Various (200)  |  Whoever (42)  |  Whole (738)  |  Will (2354)



Quotes by others about George Berkeley (1)

After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley’s ingenious sophistry to prove the non-existence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it, “I refute it thus.”
In Boswell’s Life of Johnson (1820), Vol. 1, 218.
Science quotes on:  |  Against (332)  |  Answer (366)  |  Church (57)  |  Existence (460)  |  Force (488)  |  Forget (117)  |  Ideal (100)  |  Impossible (253)  |  Ingenious (55)  |  Samuel Johnson (50)  |  Large (394)  |  Matter (801)  |  Merely (316)  |  Never (1087)  |  Observed (149)  |  Philosophy (382)  |  Prove (252)  |  Stone (162)  |  Striking (48)  |  Talking (76)  |  Thing (1915)  |  Time (1877)  |  Together (387)  |  Universe (861)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
Quotations by: • Albert Einstein • Isaac Newton • Lord Kelvin • Charles Darwin • Srinivasa Ramanujan • Carl Sagan • Florence Nightingale • Thomas Edison • Aristotle • Marie Curie • Benjamin Franklin • Winston Churchill • Galileo Galilei • Sigmund Freud • Robert Bunsen • Louis Pasteur • Theodore Roosevelt • Abraham Lincoln • Ronald Reagan • Leonardo DaVinci • Michio Kaku • Karl Popper • Johann Goethe • Robert Oppenheimer • Charles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about: • Atomic  Bomb • Biology • Chemistry • Deforestation • Engineering • Anatomy • Astronomy • Bacteria • Biochemistry • Botany • Conservation • Dinosaur • Environment • Fractal • Genetics • Geology • History of Science • Invention • Jupiter • Knowledge • Love • Mathematics • Measurement • Medicine • Natural Resource • Organic Chemistry • Physics • Physician • Quantum Theory • Research • Science and Art • Teacher • Technology • Universe • Volcano • Virus • Wind Power • Women Scientists • X-Rays • Youth • Zoology  ... (more topics)
Sitewide search within all Today In Science History pages:
Visit our Science and Scientist Quotations index for more Science Quotes from archaeologists, biologists, chemists, geologists, inventors and inventions, mathematicians, physicists, pioneers in medicine, science events and technology.

Names index: | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Categories index: | 1 | 2 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |
- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Euclid
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Bible
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton


by Ian Ellis
who invites your feedback
Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.