George Berkeley was an Irish philosopher whose primary philosophical achievement was the advancement of what has come to be known as subjective idealism, summed up in his dictum, “Esse est percipi” or “To exist is to be perceived.” “
To exist is to be perceived.” – In this quote, Berkeley is stating the core principle of his philosophy. According to Berkeley, things only exist as long as they are being perceived by someone. If an object is not currently being observed, it does not exist in any meaningful way.
This notion is known as “subjective idealism” or “immaterialism,” which argues that individuals can only directly know sensations and ideas of objects, not abstractions such as “matter”. This idea rejects the existence of material substance and instead contends that familiar objects like tables and chairs are only ideas in the minds of perceivers and, as a result, cannot exist without being perceived.
This philosophical view questions the nature of reality itself and the ways in which we understand and interpret the world around us. It suggests that perception is fundamental to existence, blurring the lines between the observer and the observed. It’s an idea that’s been widely debated within philosophy, and it continues to have influence, including in fields such as psychology and the philosophy of perception.