17th/18th Century Philosophy > 17th/18th Century British Philosophy > George Berkeley > Berkeley: Metaphysics > Berkeley: Space and Time
Edited by Kenneth L Pearce (University of Southern California)
|Summary||Berkeley was an early defender of a relational conception of space and time. In his 1709 Essay Toward a New Theory of Vision, Berkeley defended what has come to be known as the Heterogeneity Thesis, which states that there are no ideas common to two sense modalities. An important corollary, which Berkeley himself emphasizes, is that, contrary to Descartes and Locke, there is no one idea of extension which is to be found both in vision and in touch. Instead, Berkeley argued, visible distance (or magnitude) and tangible distance (or magnitude) are two entirely different features of our perception which we learn by experience to correlate with one another. Visual distance is a matter of how far apart two features on the visual field are; tangible distance is a matter of how far one must walk (or move one's hand) to get from touching one object to touching another. In the Principles, Berkeley also gives a relational account of time as the succession of ideas in a mind. Berkeley's understanding of space, and its relation to Newtonian physics, are further developed in his 1721 De Motu (On Motion).|
|Key works||The treatment of space and space perception in the New Theory of Vision is treated in detail by Atherton 1990. Jesseph 2005, ch. 2, discusses the closely related issue of Berkeley's philosophy of geometry. Popper 1953 and Winkler 1986 discuss Berkeley's theory of space and motion in relation to 19th and 20th century theories.|
- Relationism about Spacetime (31)
- Berkeley: Heterogeneity Thesis (1)
- Berkeley: New Theory of Vision (47)
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