Are other people’s private thoughts different from ours? Or, is “existence” defined as Berkeley attempted to clarify it?
George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, was a brilliant 18th Century Metaphysician who effectively criticized Descartes, Malebranche, Locke and others; and, although he is often considered a “second-tier” philosopher, was logically sound in his defense of Idealism.
His famous precept — Esse est percipi (“To be is to be perceived”) — is often simplistically attacked by arguing thus: “So, what you are saying is that, once I leave the room, the room I left no longer exists because I am not perceiving it, anymore.” No, not quite; no more than a person’s thoughts no longer exist once the conversation ends.
Berkeley’s conception of “existence” encompasses not only the worlds we directly perceive, but also the ones which we have perceived and can potentially perceive. And his philosophical approach is more relevant today than ever before, as we insulate ourselves on computers and Smart phones, where “reality” is almost entirely encompassed by the confined universe of the surreal and virtual meta-universe of the Internet.
For many Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management under FERS, the indicators and the Berkeley Problem persist: For many, whether psychiatric conditions or chronic pain, the “reality” of such medical conditions are “subjective” — meaning, they do not exist because they cannot be perceived.
But “perception” encompasses the conceptual arena of “feelings”, as well, and while OPM may attempt to dismiss your claims for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, they are clearly unaware that this attorney — the one writing this blog piece — wrote his Masters’ Thesis on the Berkeley problem — and is well aware of how to counter OPM’s lame arguments.
Robert R. McGill, Lawyer exclusively representing Federal and Postal employees to secure their Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.