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Philosophy & Religious Studies   >   Berkeley: Principles of Human Knowledge

Introduction and Historical Context

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Berkeley: Principles of Human Knowledge

In this course, Professor Tom Stoneham (University of York) explores the philosophy of George Berkeley, focusing in particular on his ‘Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge’ (1710) as well as his ‘Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonaus’ (1713). The course begins by considering the social, historical and intellectual context of the late 17th century, thinking in particular about the rise of experimental science. After that, we turn to the overall aim of Berkeley’s philosophical project—expressed in the phrase “in opposition to sceptics and atheists”, which was the subtitle for both of his major works. In the third module, we describe Berkeley’s basic world-view, before moving on to two counterarguments to his views—and Berkeley’s response—in the fourth and fifth modules. In the sixth module, we think about one more defence of Berkeley’s view of the world, including the role of God.

Introduction and Historical Context

In this module, we give a brief introduction to Berkeley’s early life and education, before thinking in more detail about some of the social, political, and intellectual developments that characterised the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Stoneham, T. (2018, August 15). Berkeley: Principles of Human Knowledge - Introduction and Historical Context [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Stoneham, T. "Berkeley: Principles of Human Knowledge – Introduction and Historical Context." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,


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Prof. Tom Stoneham

York University