Early Years

George Berkeley allegedly was born on March 12th, 1684 at Dysart Castle, Thomastown, Kilkenny. Other authorities claim that he was born at Kilcreene near Kilkenny City. It is generally accepted that he spent his early years at Dysart. He was educated at Kilkenny College, although there is some uncertainty as to where exactly the College was housed during this period. Early trips to Dunmore Cave are alleged to have been instrumental in shaping his later philosophical perspective.

He continued his education at Trinity College, Dublin and received a B.A. in 1704 and a M.A. and fellowship in 1707. He taught while at Trinity, mainly Greek. He rapidly became immersed in the many new ideas in the areas of philosophy, science, economics and social reform that were emerging at this time. It was during this period that he began to formulate his theory of idealism. He questioned the idea that objects had an independent existence outside our consciousness of them. In this he reflected ideas from classical philosophers like Pythagoras and Plotinus.

His ideas were also influenced by John Locke's 'Essay', but disagreed with Locke in his assertion that objects have no independent existence outside perception. Locke felt that objects has innate qualities independent of perception and secondary ones dependant on perception.

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