Berkeley is also known for his critique of abstraction, an important premise in his argument for immaterialism.
Berkeley was the namesake of the city of Berkeley, California, which is most famous as the home of the University of California, Berkeley.
While this work raised much controversy at the time, its conclusions are now accepted as an established part of the theory of optics.
The next publication to appear was the Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge in 1710, which had great success and gave him a lasting reputation, though few accepted his theory that nothing exists outside the mind.
Berkeley was born at his family home, Dysart Castle, near Thomastown, County Kilkenny, Ireland, the eldest son of William Berkeley, a cadet of the noble family of Berkeley. He was educated at Kilkenny College and attended Trinity College Dublin, where he was elected a Scholar in 1702, earning a bachelor's degree in 1704 and completing a master's degree in 1707.
He remained at Trinity College after completion of his degree as a tutor and Greek lecturer.
In 1728, he married Anne Forster, daughter of John Forster, Chief Justice of the Irish Common Pleas, and his first wife Rebecca Monck.
He then went to America on a salary of £100 per annum.
In 1723, following her violent quarrel with Jonathan Swift, who had been her intimate friend for many years, Esther Vanhomrigh (for whom Swift had created the nickname "Vanessa") named Berkeley her co-heir along with the barrister Robert Marshall; her choice of legatees caused a good deal of surprise since she did not know either of them well, although Berkeley as a very young man had known her father.
Swift said generously that he did not grudge Berkeley his inheritance, much of which vanished in a lawsuit in any event.