Esse est percipi

Berkeley’s astounding and provocative statement was that ‘to be is to be perceived,’ or esse est percipi, which entailed that if something were not perceived, it would not exist. This most naturally raises the question whether it exists when it is not being perceived. For Berkeley the entire issue depends on how we understand or interpret the word ‘exists’. He writes, ‘The table I write on I say exists; that is, I see it and feel it: and if I were out of my study I should say it existed; meaning thereby that if I were in my study I might perceive it, or that some other spirit actually does perceive it.’ By this he means to say that there can be no imaginable situation where the term ‘exists’ is put to use without simultaneously assuming that a mind is constantly perceiving it.

 

(Source: BPY008/Block 3/Unit 2/Page 21)

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