George Berkeley

Anglo-Irish philosopher best known for his denial of the existence of mind-independent reality.

In the Prolegomena and the second edition of the Critique, Kant characterized Berkeley's view in a most unflattering way. At B71 he characterized Berkeley as "degrading bodies to mere illusion." For a review of this characterization, see the Lexicon entry on Idealism.

There is some scholarly debate about the correctness of Kant's characterization of Berkeley. My own point of view is found in my article "Kant's Conception of Berkeley's Idealism," Kant-Studien 74 (1983), 161-175, reprinted in R. C. S. Walker, ed., The Real in the Ideal: Berkeley's Relation to Kant (New York, 1989),

Click here for Berkeley's criticism of Newton's conception of absolute space and time. There, you will find a passage from Kant, claiming that it was Berkeley's criticisms of Newtonian absolute space and time which led him to degrade bodies to illusion.

For more information on Berkeley, see my lecture notes for Philosophy 23, Eighteenth Century Philosophy.

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