This paper analyzes berkeley's philosophy in the light of modern epistemology and philosophy of mind. It is shown that our knowledge of spatio-Temporal bodies cannot be certain. Certainty is restricted to the realm of sensory ideas themselves. But there is hardly any reason to be interested in ideas as such. Berkeley is a common sense thinker who wants to know the world and its scientific laws. Bodies are constructed on the basis of both real and imaginary ideas. This topic is (...) analyzed starting from pappas's and pitcher's views. It is shown that bodies are complete complexes of ideas and that imagination plays an essential role here. The continuity of bodies is discussed. The methods of making a distinction between real and imaginary ideas are analyzed. Concerning berkeley's philosophy of mind--It is shown that one can reach absolute certainty in this field but one cannot find much information concerning the various parts and functions of the mind. The difference between the active and the passive mind is discussed. The relations between ideas and the mind is explored briefly. (shrink)
Berkeley scholars can hardly resist dealing with the question of how his philosophical system relates to commonsense. It is an irresistible question because it first appears to have a sensational answer. On the one hand, Berkeley claims to "side in all things with the Mob," and on the other, his denial of the existence of matter seems as contrary to commonsense as any philosophical view can be. The articles, chapters, books and conference papers on this one aspect of Berkeley's philosophy (...) alone could make a sizeable bibliography. Interpretations run the gamut, from A. A. Luce's judgment that Berkeley's account of the sensible is commonsense itself, to Jonathan Bennett's pronouncement that Berkeley's attitude .. (shrink)
Berkeley claims idealism provides a novel argument for the existence of God. But familiar interpretations of his argument fail to support the conclusion that there is a single omnipotent spirit. A satisfying reconstruction should explain the way Berkeley moves between first person singular and plural, as well as providing a powerful argument, once idealism is accepted. The new interpretation offered here represents the argument as an inference to the best explanation of a shared reality. Consequently, his use of the first (...) person must be taken as ‘exemplary’ rather than ‘Cartesian’. This explains the freedom of movement in the text between singular and plural. However, it also reveals Berkeley as side-stepping sceptical doubt. (shrink)
There is a structural similarity between an influential argument of Berkeley's against causal realism and a traditional, and recently revived, argument against the correspondence theory of truth. Both arguments chide the realist for positing a relation between his conceptions (perceptions) of reality and a world independent of those conceptions (perceptions). Man could have no epistemic access to such a relation, it is said, for, by the realist's own admission, he has access to only one of the relata - his conceptions (...) (perceptions). I claim that the relation in question need be no more than that alleged by the biological and behavioral sciences to hold between organisms and their environments. And when studied as such, it reveals ways whereby the realist may claim to know of an outward correspondence solely on the basis of characteristics of one of the relata - his conceptions (perceptions). (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)
Significant attention has been paid to Berkeley's account of perception; however, the interpretations of Berkeley's account of perception by suggestion are either incomplete or mistaken. In this paper I begin by examining a common interpretation of suggestion, the 'Propositional Account'. I argue that the Propositional Account is inadequate and defend an alternative, non-propositional, account. I then address George Pitcher's objection that Berkeley's view of sense perception forces him to adopt a 'non-conciliatory' attitude towards common sense. I argue that Pitcher's charge (...) is no longer plausible once we recognize that Berkeley endorses the non-propositional sense of mediate perception. I close by urging that the non-propositional interpretation of Berkeley's account of mediate perception affords a greater appreciation of Berkeley's attempt to bring a philosophical account of sense perception in line with some key principles of common sense. While Berkeley's account of perception and physical objects permits physical objects to be immediately perceived by some of the senses, they are, most often, mediately perceived. But for Berkeley this is not a challenge to common sense since common sense requires only that we perceive objects by our senses and that they are, more or less, as we perceive them. Mediate perception by suggestion is, for Berkeley, as genuine a form of perception as immediate perception, and both are compatible with Berkeley's understanding of the demands of common sense. (shrink)
Ted Honderich's 'Radical Externalism' concerning the nature of consciousness is a refreshing, and in many ways very appealing, approach to a long- standing and seemingly intractable philosophical conundrum. Although I sympathize with many of his motivations in advancing the theory and share his hostility for certain alternative approaches that are currently popular, I will serve him better by playing devil's advocate than by simply recording my points of agreement with him. If his theory is a good one, it should be (...) able to stand up to the strongest criticisms that we can muster against it. I shall do my best to articulate some of those criticisms as forcefully as I can. (shrink)
In both the Principles and the Three Dialogues, Berkeley claims that he wants to uncover those principles which lead to scepticism; to refute those principles; and to refute scepticism itself. This paper examines the principles Berkeley says have scepticial consequences, and contends that only one of them implies scepticism. It is also argued that Berkeley's attempted refutation of scepticism rests not on his acceptance of the esse est percipi principle, but rather on the thesis that physical objects and their sensible (...) qualities are immediately perceived. (shrink)
In this essay, the author analyses Berkeleys conformity and inference argument against Lockes theory of percep tion. Both arguments are not as decisive as traditionally has been perceived and fail to engage in Lockes actual position. The main reason for this is that Berkeley does not see that Lockes position is compatible with the non-inferential nature of perceptual knowledge.
Anthony Brueckner argues that Berkeleyan idealism lacks anti-sceptical force because of the way Berkeley draws the appearance/reality distinction. But Brueckner's case rests on a misunderstanding of Berkeley's view. Properly understood, Berkeleyan idealism does indeed have anti-sceptical force.
O artigo compara alguns aspectos da refutação do ceticismo nos Princípios e nos Três diálogos. Embora normalmente não se veja nenhuma diferença importante entre essas obras, duas hipóteses são defendidas aqui: de um lado, Berkeley desloca o foco de sua crítica das idéias abstratas para a noção de matéria e, de outro, muda sua estratégia de combate, da enunciação imediata da verdade para a lenta elaboração das consequências céticas da noção de matéria. Berkeleys answers to skepticismThe topic of this paper (...) is a comparison between Berkeley´s refutation of skepticism in the Principles and in the Three Dialogues. It is usually held that there is no philosophical difference between these two works. However, I suggest that not only Berkeley´s diagnosis of the causes of skepticism changes from his criticism of abstract ideas to the notion of matter, but also that he changes his strategy of refutation: from a direct statement of the truth of immaterialism to an examination of the consequences of the notion of matter. (shrink)
In this paper, I survey the way Wittgenstein reacts to radical philosophical doubt in his On Certainty. He deems skeptical doubt in some important cases idle, pointless or otherwise negligible. I point out that several passages of On Certainty make it difficult to judge whether Wittgenstein intends to address a skeptic or a metaphysical idealist. Drawing attention to the anti-skeptical nature of Berkeley's idealism, I go on to argue that the question is far from trivial: rather, it affects the way (...) we should evaluate Wittgenstein's arguments in On Certainty in general. I finally attempt to explain why Wittgenstein remained ambiguous about the target of his arguments, and discuss the possibility of making room for the idealism/skepticism distinction in On Certainty's framework. (shrink)