Berkeley, truth, and the world

Inquiry 20 (1-4):205 – 225 (1977)
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).
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