Berkeley, bundles, and immediate perception

Dialogue 44 (3):493-504 (2005)
I argue in this article that, contrary to some recent views, Berkeley’s bundle theory of physical objects is incompatible with the thinking that we immediately perceive such objects. Those who argue the contrary view rightly stress that immediate perception of ideas or objects must be non-conceptual for Berkeley, that is, the concept of the object cannot be made use of in the perception, otherwise it would be mediate perception. After a brief look at the texts, I contrast how a direct realist view of immediate perception differs significantly from a bundle theorist’s view. The difference is so great that one rationale for the alternative view, the claim that Berkeley allies himself with common sense by claiming we immediately perceive physical objects, loses plausibility.Je soutiens dans cet article que, contrairement à certaines interprétations récentes, la théorie de Berkeley sur la collection d’idées relatives aux objets matériels (bundle theory) est incompatible avec la pensée que nous percevons ces objets defaçon immédiate. Ceux qui ont soutenu le contraire remarquent à juste titre que la perception immédiate des idées ou des objets doit être non conceptuelle pourBerkeley : le concept de l’objet ne peut servir lors de la perception, car il s’agirait alors d’une perception médiate. Suite à un rapide tour d’horizon des textes pertinents, je fais ressortir à quel point une théorie réaliste sur la perception immédiate differe d’une théorie sur la collection d’idées (bundle theory). Ces positions diffèrent tant et si bien que le principe d’exégèse suivant lequel Berkeley se réclamerait du sens commun en défendant que nous percevons les objets materiels de manière immédiate doit être remis en question
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