Francis Hutcheson's theory of perception, as put forth in his Synopsis of Metaphysics, bears a striking similarity to that of John Locke. In particular, Hutcheson and Locke both have at the centre of their theories the notion of ideas as representational entities acting as the direct objects of all of our perceptions. On first consideration, one might find this similarity wholly unremarkable, given the popularity of Locke's Essay. But the Essay was published in 1689 and the Synopsis in 1742, and (...) during these years Berkeley had published a substantive attack on Locke's representative realism and the sceptical conclusions he saw it implying. Further, Hume had argued in 1739 that in accepting a Lockean account of perception, we (at least when thinking as philosophers in our studies) are left without any sure knowledge of external objects, even their existence. Despite this, Hutcheson apparently feels no obligation to address either Berkeley's idealism or Hume's scepticism in the Synopsis. The question addressed in this article is, Why did he not see any force to such arguments, and thus why did he feel no onus to attempt to offer an explicit refutation of Berkeley and Hume? (shrink)
I try to show that Berkeley's theory of ideas is not a variant of Locke's. We can find such an interpretation of Berkeley in Thomas Reid. So, we could call this interpretation a 'traditional interpretation'. This traditional interpretation has an influence still now, for example, Tomida interprets Berkeley in this line (Tomida2002). We will see that this traditional interpretation gives a serious problem to Berkeley (section 1). And I am going to present an argument against this traditional interpretation (section 2).
Jonathan Bennett engages with the thought of six great thinkers of the early modern period: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume. While not neglecting the historical setting of each, his chief focus is on the words they wrote. What problem is being tackled? How exactly is the solution meant to work? Does it succeed? If not, why not? What can we learn from its success or its failure? These questions reflect Bennett's dedication to engaging with philosophy as philosophy, not as (...) museum exhibit, and they require a close and demanding attention to textual details; these being two features that characterize all Bennett's work on early modern philosophy. For newcomers to the early modern scene, this clearly written work is an excellent introduction to it. Those already in the know can learn how to argue with the great philosophers of the past, treating them as colleagues, antagonists, students, teachers. -/- Volume 2: In this volume Jonathan Bennett examines the views of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume on thought and sensation, meaning, language, classification, innate ideas and knowledge, our knowledge of necessary truths (bringing in Descartes and Leibniz as well), the basis for our belief that we live in a world of material things, causation, the fundamental difference between colours and shapes, the passage of time and our ability to live through it. While finding much to criticize, Bennett shows that we can learn much about these and other topics under the guidance and inspiration of the energy, courage, and insight of these three great British philosophers. (shrink)
George Berkeley -- On missing the wrong target -- Enlightenment and counter-Enlightenment in Irish philosophy -- The culmination and causation of Irish philosophy -- Francis Hutcheson on Berkeley and the Molyneux problem -- The impact of Irish philosophy on the American Enlightenment -- Irish ideology and philosophy -- An early essay concerning Berkeley's immaterialism -- Mrs. Berkeley's annotations in An account of the life of Berkeley (1776) -- Some new Bermuda Berkeleiana -- The good bishop : new letters -- Beckett (...) and Berkeley. (shrink)
My purpose is to compare Berkeley’s and Gentile’s idealism, interpreting Berkeley’s Treatise, §§22–23, and Gentile’s reading of this passage. The Italian philosopher finds in Berkeley’s master argument the original source of the true idealistic way of thinking, but he believes that Berkeley has not been sufficiently consistent in deducing all the consequences from his new principle. This criticism is the ground of Gentile’s actual idealism. Comparing the two positions is very instructive both to elucidate the general issue of idealism and (...) to understand Berkeley’s philosophy. (shrink)
Berkeley's "new theory of vision" and, In particular, His sensationalist solution to the problem of judging distance and magnitude were discussed by many eighteenth-Century authors who faced a variety of problem situations. More specifically, Berkeley's theory fed into the debate over whether the phenomena of vision were susceptible to mathematical analysis or were experientially determined. In this paper a variety of responses to berkeley are examined, Concluding with thomas reid's attempt to distinguish physical optics (which can be analyzed geometrically) from (...) the psychology of vision (in which experience plays a major role). (shrink)
A influência do ceticismo nos século XVI e XVII é por demais evidente para ser posta em questão. De Montaigne a Bayle, parece que o cético foi o promotor tanto de uma refutação radical dos princípios metafísicos escolásticos e depois cartesianos quanto de uma crítica feroz às autoridades religiosas e políticas. Ora, esse papel parece ter se amenizado no Século das Luzes, ou melhor, se deslocado - somente as dimensões críticas do social continuaram pertinentes. Pretende-se mostrar aqui o pressuposto de (...) uma tal leitura que leva em conta apenas o aspecto visível da crítica cética e mostrar que o ceticismo, sob uma forma particular (o solipsismo), foi uma das grandes questões da epistemologia das Luzes e que ele é indissociável, para ser compreendido em toda a sua dimensão polêmica, da recepção européia do imaterialismo berkeleyano. O objetivo de nossa intervenção se faz compreender então claramente: explicar primeiramente como uma tal concepção epistemológica pôde nascer em terra cartesiana e quais foram os seus líderes desse solipsismo das Luzes, a supor que os tenha havido, para mostrar, em seguida, porque ela pôde se tornar uma questão metafísica maior no século XVIII, antes de definir, para concluir, os interesses a que ela serviu ou desserviu. Berkeley in the land of the Enlightenment: skepticism and solipsism in the XVIIIth centuryThe influence of skepticism on the XVIth and XVIIth century is far too evident to be questioned. From Montaigne to Bayle, the skeptic seems to have been the furtherer both of a radical refutation of the metaphysical principles of scholasticism and, later, of Cartesianism, and of a fierce critique of the political and religious authority. Well, this role seems to be diminished, or displaced, in the Enlightenment: only the critical dimensions on the social aspect continue to be pertinent. We would like to show that the parti pris of such a consideration only takes into account the visible aspect of the skeptical critique, and that the skepticism, under a very particular form ( the solipsism), was one of the greatest assets of the Enlightenment epistemology and that, in order to apprehend it thoroughly in its polemical dimension, it is inseparable of the European reception of the Berkeleys immaterialism. The aim of our intervention is easily understood: it is to explain, firstly, how such a epistemological conception could have been born in the land of Descartes and who were the leaders of this solipsism in the Enlightenment, supposing that there were such people, and, secondly, why it could become a major metaphysical asset in the XVIIIth century, before defining, as a conclusion, the interests it has done service or disservice. (shrink)
For Berkeley, minds are not Cartesian spiritual substances because they cannot be said to exist (even if only conceptually) abstracted from their activities. Similarly, Berkeley's notion of mind differs from Locke's in that, for Berkeley, minds are not abstract substrata in which ideas inhere. Instead, Berkeley redefines what it means for the mind to be a substance in a way consistent with the Stoic logic of 17th century Ramists on which Leibniz and Jonathan Edwards draw. This view of mind, I (...) conclude, is definitely not the bundle theory that some critics have portrayed it as being. (shrink)
Berkeley's doctrines about mind, the language of nature, substance, minima sensibilia, notions, abstract ideas, inference, and freedom appropriate principles developed by the 16th-century logician Peter Ramus and his 17th-century followers (e.g., Alexander Richardson, William Ames, John Milton). Even though Berkeley expresses himself in Cartesian or Lockean terms, he relies on a Ramist way of thinking that is not a form of mere rhetoric or pedagogy but a logic and ontology grounded in Stoicism. This article summarizes the central features of Ramism, (...) indicates how Berkeley adapts Ramist concepts and strategies, and chronicles Ramism's pervasiveness in Berkeley's education, especially at Trinity College Dublin. (shrink)
Berkeley's doctrine of archetypes explains how God perceives and can have the same ideas as finite minds. His appeal of Christian neo-Platonism opens up a way to understand how the relation of mind, ideas, and their union is modeled on the Cappadocian church fathers' account of the persons of the trinity. This way of understanding Berkeley indicates why he, in contrast to Descartes or Locke, thinks that mind (spiritual substance) and ideas (the object of mind) cannot exist or be thought (...) of apart from one another. It also hints at why Gregory of Nyssa's immaterialism sounds so much like Berkeley's. (shrink)
I will suggest that we can begin to see why Edwards and Berkeley sound so much alike by considering how both think of minds or spiritual substances notas things modeled on material bodies but as the acts by which things are identified. Those acts cannot be described using the Aristotelian subject-predicatelogic on which the metaphysics of substance, properties, attributes, or modes is based because subjects, substances, etc. are themselves initially distinguishedthrough such acts. To think of mind as opposed to matter, (...) or of acts of mind as opposed to mind itself, is already to assume the differentiation enacted by thoseacts. I argue that even though Edwards and Berkeley refer to distinctions such as mind vs. matter, they think that it is important to avoid treating mind, its acts, and its objects in terms of subject-predicate logic or substance metaphysics. (shrink)
The rich connections between metaphysics and natural philosophy in the early modern period have been widely acknowledged and productively mined, thanks in no small part to the work of Margaret Wilson, whose book, Descartes, served as an inspirational example for a generation of scholars. The task of this paper is to investigate one particular such connection, namely, the relation between occasionalist metaphysics and strict mechanism. My focus will be on the work of Nicholas Malebranche, the most influential Cartesian philosopher after (...) Descartes himself. I begin with two crucial facts about Malebranche’s philosophy: (1) Malebranche was an occasionalist, that is, he held that God was the only true cause, that all modifications of bodies and of minds can be produced by God alone. (2) Malebranche adhered firmly to strict mechanism. By strict mechanism, I mean the view, found most prominently in Descartes and in Boyle’s more ideological writings, that the qualities of bodies are exhausted by a very short list (size, shape, motion, and perhaps solidity) and that, most importantly, bodies interact only at contact by impact. Another way of describing this “contact action” requirement is as the thesis that the only fundamental laws of physics are laws of inertial motion and laws of the communication of motion at impact. In.. (shrink)
Since both berkeley and hume are committed to the view that a line is composed of finitely many fundamental parts, They must find responses to the standard geometrical proofs of infinite divisibility. They both repeat traditional arguments intended to show that infinite divisibility leads to absurdities, E.G., That all lines would be infinite in length, That all lines would have the same length, Etc. In each case, Their arguments rest upon a misunderstanding of the concept of a limit, And thus (...) are not successful. Berkeley, However, Adds a further ingenious argument to the effect that the standard geometrical proofs of infinite divisibility misread the unlimited representational capacity of geometrical diagrams as a substantive feature of the objects that these diagrams represent. The article concludes that berkeley is right on this matter, And that the traditional proofs of infinite divisibility do not show what they are intended to show. (shrink)
Reid thought that the linchpin of his response to\nskepticism was his rejection of the theory of ideas. I\nargue that Reid's assessment of his own work is incorrect;\nthe theory of ideas plays no important role in at least one\nof Berkeley's and Hume's arguments for skepticism, and\nrejecting the theory is therefore neither necessary nor\nsufficient as a reply to that argument. Reid does in fact\nanswer the argument, but with his theory of evidence rather\nthan his rejection of the theory of ideas.