"To be is to be perceived."Although Berkeley's ancestors were English, he was born and educated in Kilkenny and the University of Dublin and came to consider himself Irish. He was ordained into the Anglican church in 1707, became Dean of Derry in 1724 and later, Bishop of Cloyne. He spent time in America and his house on Rhode Island is well preserved today. He attempted, unsuccessfully, to establish a university in Bermuda, to which he hoped to attract American colonists and indigenous Indians, in the hope of creating an educated missionary force. He died while introducing his son to Christ Church, Oxford, and his grave is in the cathedral there.
Berkeley became the first absolute idealist. His arguments were in response to, and in rejection of, Locke's "way of ideas". He accepted Locke's argument that where perception of objects takes place, we are never actually aware of anything but our own ideas; the properties perceived are not the real properties of the object itself. But Locke had assumed that there was indeed a material world to which we respond, and to which our ideas relate. Berkeley concluded that since perception is a matter of having sensations or ideas, only sensations or ideas can be properly said to be real. Matter does not exist except in the form of ideas in the mind or as manifestations of the mind: "To be is to be perceived". If our ideas are not responses to a material world, what is their source? Berkeley's answer to this is - God. God wills our ideas. These ideas are the language in which He speaks to us.