George Pappas

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George Sotiros Pappas
Born 1942 (age 74–75)
Awards International Berkeley Essay Prize (1993), Emeritus Professor
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western philosophy
Main interests
Epistemology, early Modern philosophy, Berkeley scholarship

George Sotiros Pappas (born 1942) is a professor of philosophy at Ohio State University.[1] Pappas specializes in epistemology, the history of early modern philosophy, philosophy of religion, and metaphysics. He is of Greek and English origin.

He is the author of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Internalist versus Externalist conceptions of epistemic justification.[2]

He was co-editor (with Marshall Swain) of Essays on Knowledge and Justification (1978), regarded as a key anthology of essays relating to the Gettier problem[3] and used as a core text in undergraduate epistemology courses.[4]

George Pappas is an editorial consultant of Berkeley Studies.[5]

Studies in Berkeley's philosophy[edit]

George S. Pappas is known to be a leading Berkeley scholar; his essay “Berkeley and Scepticism”[6] was in 1993 awarded the International Berkeley Prize.[7] Professor Pappas is a regular participant of International Berkeley Conferences.[8] At one such conference, celebrating the 300th anniversary of George Berkeley’s birth, Mr. Pappas propounded a new approach to the relationship between Berkeley’s anti-abstractionism and "esse est percipi"[9] principle. On Pappas reading, Berkeley’s two theses — that there are no abstract ideas and that sensible objects must be perceived in order to exist — entail one another.[10]

Pappas’ formulation of the relationship between these two propositions is ingenious and merits his verdict that it is a ‘very exciting result’ … So far as I know, his thesis is original. Some writers, to be sure, have some close to suggesting that the first proposition is a necessary condition for the truth of the second, but I cannot think of a commentator who holds that it is both a necessary and sufficient condition.

— Avrum Stroll, Two lines of argumentation in Berkeley’s Principles: a reply to George Pappas. In Essays and replies 1985, p. 140

Pappas' interpretation of Berkeley's ‘esse is percipi’ thesis has sparked much discussion.[11][12] In 1989, the Garland Publishing Company brought out a 15-volume collection of major works on Berkeley; Pappas' paper “Abstract ideas and the 'esse is percipi' thesis” was included in the third volume,[13] as it was considered to be a significant contribution to Berkeley scholarship.

Pappas developed his treatment of Berkeley’s “esse est percipi” principle[14] to repudiate the "inherence interpretation of Berkeley", upon which Edwin E. Allaire, among others, elaborated[15][16][17]

“That account is put forward to answer an extremely perplexing question in the history of philosophy: Why did Berkeley embrace idealism, i. e., why did he hold that esse est percipi, that to be is to be perceived? (Hausman 1984, pp. 421–2)

After emerging in the early 1960s, the “inherence account” attracted numerous proponents and became an influential element of contemporary Berkeley scholarship. In his paper “Ideas, minds, and Berkeley”[18] Pappas revealed some discrepancies between fountain-head evidences and Allaire’s approach to a reconstruction of Berkeley’s idealism. Pappas' critical examination of the “inherence account” is greatly appreciated by Berkeley scholars. Pappas’ penetrating remarks compelled Edwin B. Allaire to revise and improve his conception.[19] Even those who share Allaire’s account of Berkeley’s idealism acknowledge Pappas’ article to be “an excellent review and critique of the IA [inherence account].”[20]

In 2000 George Pappas published his monograph Berkeley's thought in which some parts were based on earlier papers of his. While writings by A. A. Luce or Geoffrey Warnock are long out dated, the book Berkeley's thought written by Dr Pappas is often included in lists of recommended literature on Berkeley’s philosophy.[21]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Departmental profile at OSU
  2. ^ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article
  3. ^ Gettier Problem bibliography at the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  4. ^ Suggested epistemology reading list
  5. ^ "Berkeley Studies: Editorial Staff". Hampden–Sydney College. Retrieved 2011-01-16. 
  6. ^ Pappas, G.S. (1999). "Berkeley and Scepticism". Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. 59 (1): 133–149. doi:10.2307/2653461. 
  7. ^ See: Berkeley Prize Winners.
    The annual International Berkeley Essay Prize competition was established by Colin Murray Turbayne and his wife in 1990.
  8. ^ International Berkeley Conferences
  9. ^ To be is to be perceived. A core proposition of Berkeley's ontology.
  10. ^ Pappas, G.S. (1985). "Abstract ideas and the 'esse is percipi' thesis". In Berman, D. George Berkeley: Essays and replies. Proceedings of International Berkeley Conference in Dublin, 1985. Dublin: Irish Academic Press. pp. 47–62. ISBN 0-7165-2395-7. 
  11. ^ Stroll, Avrum. "Two lines of argumentation in Berkeley's Principles: a reply to George S. Pappas".  In Essays and replies 1985, pp. 139–145
  12. ^ McKim, Robert. “Abstraction and Immaterialism: Recent Interpretations” // Berkeley Newsletter 15 (1997–1998): 1–13.
  13. ^ Berkeley on abstraction and abstract ideas / Ed. by W. Doney — N.Y.; L.: Garland, 1989. — XVII, 434 p. — (Philosophy of George Berkeley; 3; A Garland series)
  14. ^ Pappas 2000, pp. 255–8. Ind.: p.257–261. (See chapter 5 Esse is percipi principle)
  15. ^ Allaire, Edwin B. (1963). "Berkeley's Idealism". Theoria. XXIX (3): 229–44. doi:10.1111/j.1755-2567.1963.tb00025.x. Archived from the original (DjVu) on 2012-03-06. Retrieved 2011-01-16. 
    The article is a classical work of Berkeley scholarship.
  16. ^ For more detail, see:
  17. ^ For up-to-date criticism of the “inherence account,” see: Bettcher, Talia Mae (Ph. D., California State University, Los Angeles) (November 2008). "Berkeley's Dualistic Ontology" (PDF). Análisis Filosófico. 28 (2): 147–174. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-19. 
  18. ^ Pappas, G.S. (1980). "Ideas, minds, and Berkeley". Am. Phil. Q. 17 (3): 181–194. Archived from the original on 2012-03-06. 
  19. ^ Allaire, Edwin B. (1982). "Berkeley's Idealism Revisited". In Turbayne, Colin M. Berkeley: Critical and Interpretive Essays. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 197–206. ISBN 978-0-8166-1066-2. 
  20. ^ Hausman 1984, p. 422 (note 2)
  21. ^ As examples, take: