Berkeley’s ‘third place’

Bishop George Berkeley of Cloyne once said he is a Churchman first, an Irishman second, and a philosopher third.

Hume tells us, “Be a philosopher; but, amidst all your philosophy, be still a man (1737)”

For Berkeley, the deeply held convictions of his faith come first, a must for any person of Christian heritage. Then, comes identity. For Hume, too, I suppose identity (as a man) is important. Being a man (apologies for my gender-bias), is something more than a biological category. Being a man is to be a virtuous soul; to posess dignity, courage, mentorship. These are social (could I say ‘ethical’?) properties.

I am not much of a man, and not really a churchman. I do wish I joined the Society of Jesus; I would have found peace in the meditation, the studies, and the service to others; particularly in the teaching of the young. Unlike Hume, unlike Berkley; I have only philosophy first. Does that make my life empty, vacuous, meaningless?



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