Ever since George Berkeley first published Principles of Human Knowledge his metaphysics has been opposed by, among others, some Christian philosophers who allege that his ideas fly in the face of orthodox Christian belief. The irony is that Berkeley’s entire professional career is marked by an unwavering commitment to demonstrating the reasonableness of the Christian faith. In fact, Berkeley’s immaterialist metaphysical system can be seen as an apologetic device. In this paper, I inquire into the question whether Berkeley’s immaterialist metaphysics (...) is congruent with the Christian scriptures. I conclude that not only are Berkeley’s principles consistent with scripture, a case can be made for the claim that certain biblical passages actually recommend his brand of immaterialism. (shrink)
In this paper I examine two arguments, one by R. A. Oakes and the other by P. A. Byrne, that Berkeley's immaterialism is the only metaphysic consistent with classical theism. I show that not only do Oakes and Byrne fail to demonstrate the incompatibility of physical realism with classical theism, but also that their line of argument reveals a grave inconsistency between the latter and immaterialism. For as they expound Berkeley's metaphysic, it seems incapable of explicating the metaphysical (...) dependency of finite spirit (mind) on God. (shrink)
In this article we argue that an immaterialist ontology -- a metaphysic that denies the existence of material substance -- is more consonant with Christian dogma than any ontology that includes the existence of material substance. We use the philosophy of the famous eighteenth-century Irish immaterialist George Berkeley as a guide while engaging one particularly difficult Christian mystery: the doctrine of the Incarnation of Christ. The goal is to make plausible the claim that, from the analysis of this one example, (...) there are strong reasons for thinking that if one wants to be a Christian one ought to be an immaterialist. (shrink)
: A number of critics have argued that Berkeley's metaphysics can offer no tenable account of human agency. In this paper I argue that Berkeley does have a coherent account of action. The paper addresses arguments by C.C. W. Taylor, Robert Imlay, and Jonathan Bennett. The paper attempts to show that Berkeley can offer a theory of action, maintain many of our common intuitions about action, and provide a defensible solution to the problem of evil.
I examine two arguments for the conclusion that thinking is not a physical process. James F. Ross argues that thinking is determinate in a manner that nopurely physical process can be. Peter Geach argues that thinking is a basic activity that, unlike basic physical processes, cannot be assigned a precise position in time. I present two objections to Ross’s argument. I then show that even if Geach’s argument avoids these objections, it is vulnerable to two other objections. I conclude that (...) neither argument establishes the immateriality of thinking. (shrink)
Draft. Berkeley denied the existence of abstract ideas and any faculty of abstraction. At the same time, however, he embraced innate ideas and a faculty of pure intellect. This paper attempts to reconcile the tension between these commitments by offering an interpretation of Berkeley's Platonism.
Notoriously, Berkeley combines his denial of the existence of mind-independent matter with the insistence that most of what common sense claims about physical objects is perfectly true (1975a, 1975b).1 As I explain (§ 1), he suggests two broad strategies for this reconciliation, one of which importantly subdivides. Thus, I distinguish three Berkeleyian metaphysical views. The subsequent argument is as follows. Reflection, both upon Berkeley’s ingenious construal of science as approaching towards an essentially indirect identification of the causal-explanatory ground of the (...) order and nature of our ideas in God’s volitional strategy, and also upon the currently orthodox status of a Humean principle about the a posteriority of causation, points towards an isomorphism between the three Berkeleyian views and three more modern metaphysical views, explicitly advertised as realist, in at least some sense which is supposed to be in stark contrast with Berkeley’s anti-realist immaterialism (§ 2). The real distinctions between the three modern views, and, correspondingly, between the three Berkeleyian views, are semantic rather than genuinely metaphysical (§ 3). All six views share a fundamental assumption, that the causal explanatory grounds of the order and nature of our experiences are distinct from the direct objects of those experiences, in a techinical sense to be made precise, in virtue of which they fail ultimately to sustain our intuitive commitment to empirical realism, the thesis that physical objects are, both the very things which are presented.. (shrink)
Introduction -- A default position -- Experience -- The character of experience -- Understanding-experience -- A note about dispositional mental states -- Purely experiential content -- An account of four seconds of thought -- Questions -- The mental and the nonmental -- The mental and the publicly observable -- The mental and the behavioral -- Neobehaviorism and reductionism -- Naturalism in the philosophy of mind -- Conclusion: The three questions -- Agnostic materialism, part 1 -- Monism -- The linguistic argument (...) -- Materialism and monism -- A comment on reduction -- The impossibility of an objective phenomenology -- Asymmetry and reduction -- Equal-status monism -- Panpsychism -- The inescapability of metaphysics -- Agnostic materialism, part 2 -- Ignorance -- Sensory spaces -- Experience, explanation, and theoretical integration -- The hard part of the mind-body problem -- Neutral monism and agnostic monism -- A comment on eliminativism, instrumentalism, and so on -- Mentalism, idealism, and immaterialism -- Mentalism -- Strict or pure process idealism -- Active-principle idealism -- Stuff idealism -- Immaterialism -- The positions restated -- The dualist options -- Frege's thesis -- Objections to pure process idealism -- The problem of mental dispositions -- Mental -- Shared abilities -- The sorting ability -- The definition of mental being -- Mental phenomena -- The view that all mental phenomena are experiential phenomena -- Natural intentionality -- E/c intentionality -- The experienceless -- Intentionality and abstract and nonexistent objects -- Experience, purely experiential content, and n/c intentionality -- Concepts in nature -- Intentionality and experience -- Summary with problem -- Pain and pain -- The neo-behaviorist view -- A linguistic argument for the necessary connection between pain and behavior -- A challenge -- The Sirians -- N.N. Novel -- An objection to the Sirians -- The Betelgeuzians -- The point of the Sirians -- Functionalism, naturalism, and realism about pain -- Unpleasantness and qualitative character -- The weather watchers -- The rooting story -- What is it like to be a weather watcher? -- The aptitudes of mental states -- The argument from the conditions for possessing the concept of space -- The argument from the conditions for language ability -- The argument from the nature of desire -- Desire and affect -- The argument from the phenomenology of desire -- Behavior -- A hopeless definition -- Difficulties -- Other-observability -- Neo-behaviorism -- The concept of mind. (shrink)
I argue that Berkeley's distinctive idealism/immaterialism can't support his view that objects of sense, immediately or mediately perceived, are causally inert. (The Passivity of Ideas thesis or PI) Neither appeal to ordinary perception, nor traditional arguments, for example, that causal connections are necessary, and we can't perceive such connections, are helpful. More likely it is theological concerns,e.g., how to have second causes if God upholds by continuously creating the world, that's in the background. This puts Berkeley closer to Malebranche (...) than to Hume. -/- As far the what I call the "first strategy;" defending the passivity of ideas by ordinary introspection, I refer to the work of the French psychologist Albert Michotte,(1940) and those now extending his experiments, to show that (1) there is an immediate and quite robust visual impression of causality, (admitted in fact by Berkeley, Malebranche and Hume) and (2) of more importance, the impression isn't due to projecting into nature expectations gained from experienced regularities. (shrink)
While De Motu, Berkeley's treatise on the philosophical foundations of mechanics, has frequently been cited for the surprisingly modern ring of certain of its passages, it has not often been taken as seriously as Berkeley hoped it would be. Even A.A. Luce, in his editor's introduction to De Motu, describes it as a modest work, of limited scope. Luce writes: The De Motu is written in good, correct Latin, but in construction and balance the workmanship falls below Berkeley's usual standards. (...) The title is ambitious for so brief a tract, and may lead the reader to expect a more sustained argument than he will find. A more modest title, say Motion without Matter, would fitly describe its scope and content. Regarded as a treatise on motion in general, it is a slight and disappointing work; but viewed from a narrower angle, it is of absorbing interest and high importance. It is the application of immaterialism to contemporary problems of motion, and should be read as such. ...apart from the Principles the De Motu would be nonsense.1.. (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)
Earl Conee has argued that the metaphysics of personal identity is irrelevant to the morality of abortion. He claims that doing all the substantial work in abortion arguments are moral principles and they garner no support from rival metaphysics theories. Conee argues that not only can both immaterialist and materialist theories of the self posit our origins at fertilization, but positing such a beginning doesn’t even have any significant impact on the permissibility of abortion. We argue that this thesis is (...) wrong on both accounts. We do so, in part, by relying on a hylomorphic rather than a Cartesian conception of the soul. There are good reasons for believing such a soul theory can favor an earlier origin than the leading materialist accounts. We also show that the theological metaphysics of hylomorphism provide greater support for a pro-life position than the Cartesian position Conee discusses. However, we argue that even on a materialistic account of personal identity, metaphysics has substantial bearing upon the morality of early abortions. (shrink)
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is present to hear it, does it make a sound? It does not, according to George Berkeley. Originally published in 1710, this landmark of Western philosophy introduced a revolutionary concept: immaterialism, which asserts that to be is to perceive or be perceived. The treatise opens with an assault on Locke's theory of abstract ideas and proceeds with arguments that sensible qualities exist only when perceived as ideas. Physical objects, he (...) claims, are no more than collections of qualities, and these sensible objects, too, are merely ideas. Berkeley relates his position to the achievements of eighteenth-century science, and proclaims the compatibility of immaterialism with traditional religion. (shrink)
I call attention to Berkeley’s treatment of a Newtonian indispensability argument against his own main position. I argue that the presence of this argument marks a significant moment in the history of philosophy and science: Newton’s achievements could serve as a separate and authoritative source of justification within philosophy. This marks the presence of a new kind of naturalism. A long the way, I argue against the claim tha t there is no explicit opposition or distinction between “philosophy” and “science” (...) until the nineteenth century. Finally, I argue for the conceptual unity between Berkeley’s immaterialism and instrumentalism. I argue that Berkeley’s commitment to immaterialism requires his reinterpretation of science and, thus, the adoption of instrumentalism. (shrink)
: Establishing and defending the Christian faith serves as both a guide and a limit to Berkeley's intriguing metaphysics. I take Berkeley seriously when he says that his aim is to promote the consideration of God and the truth of Christianity. In this paper I discuss and engage Berkeley's superficially weak argument (which I call the natural analogy argument) in defense of the plausibility of the doctrine of bodily resurrection. When his immaterialist resources are properly applied, the argument has more (...) merit than one might initially believe. I conclude by speculating that Berkeley had reason to believe that immaterialism was a better fit with Christianity than materialism. (shrink)
This is a further improved version of a paper previously called `Reflective and Affective Consciousness'. It is better now -- more or less comprehensible if still imperfect. It is the fourth in a series of papers, and continues the idea that consciousness needs to be analysed not in any of the boring ways: by way of the plain or 17th Century materialism that is still with us in new packages, or immaterialism, or dualistic identity theory, or functionalism and cognitive (...) science with philosophical ambition. (For argued surveys of these, and a particular allegiance now abandoned in favour of Consciousness as Existence, go to Mind Brain Connection and Mind and Brain Explanation .) Consciousness needs to be analysed, rather, mainly in terms of things existing outside of heads. The final draft of the paper will eventually turn up in the annual proceedings of The Royal Institute of Philosophy, a volume under the title Minds and Persons edited by Anthony O'Hear. At the end of the paper here there is a summary of it -- in fact the handout for a lecture. (shrink)
This paper investigates the question of, and the degree to which, Newton’s theory of space constitutes a third-way between the traditional substantivalist and relationist ontologies, i.e., that Newton judged that space is neither a type of substance/entity nor purely a relation among such substances. A non-substantivalist reading of Newton has been famously defended by Howard Stein, among others; but, as will be demonstrated, these claims are problematic on various grounds, especially as regards Newton’s alleged rejection of the traditional substance/accident (...) dichotomy concerning space. Nevertheless, our analysis of the metaphysical foundations of Newton’s spatial theory will strive to uncover its unique and innovative characteristics, most notably, the distinctive role that Newton’s “immaterialist” spatial ontology plays in his dynamics. (shrink)
George Berkeley is one of the greatest and most influential modern philosophers. In defending the immaterialism for which he is most famous, he redirected modern thinking about the nature of objectivity and the mind's capacity to come to terms with it. Along the way, he made striking and influential proposals concerning the psychology of the senses, the workings of language, the aims of science, and the scope of mathematics. In this Companion volume a team of distinguished authors not only (...) examines Berkeley's achievements but also his neglected contributions to moral and political philosophy, his writings on economics and development, and his defense of religious commitment and religious life. The volume places Berkeley's achievements in the context of the many social and intellectual traditions - philosophical, scientific, ethical, and religious - to which he fashioned a distinctive response. (shrink)
George Berkeley notoriously claimed that his immaterialist metaphysics was not only consistent with common sense but that it was also integral to its defense. Roberts argues that understanding the basic connection between Berkeley's philosophy and common sense requires that we develop a better understanding of the four principle components of Berkeley's positive metaphysics: The nature of being, the divine language thesis, the active/passive distinction, and the nature of spirits. Roberts begins by focusing on Berkeley's view of the nature of being. (...) He elucidates Berkeley's view on Locke and the Cartesians and by examining Berkeley's views about related concepts such as unity and simplicity. From there he moves on to Berkeley's philosophy of language arguing that scrutiny of the famous "Introduction" to the Principles of Human Knowledge reveals that Berkeley identified the ideational theory of meaning and understanding as the root cause of some of the worst of man's intellectual errors, not "abstract ideas." Abstract ideas are, rather, the most debilitating symptom of this underlying ailment. In place of the ideational theory, Berkeley defends a rudimentary "use theory" of meaning. This understanding of Berkeley's approach to semantics is then applied to the divine language thesis and is shown to have important consequences for Berkeley's pragmatic approach to the ontology of natural objects and for his approach to our knowledge of, and relation to other minds, including God's. Turning next to Berkeley's much aligned account of spirits, the author defends the coherence of Berkeley's view of spirits by way of providing an interpretation of the active/passive distinction as marking a normative distinction and by focusing on the role that divine language plays in letting Berkeley identify the soul with the will. With these four principles of Berkeley's philosophy in hand, he then returns to the topic of common sense and offers a defense of Berkeley's philosophy as built upon and expressive of the deepest metaphysical commitments of mainstream Christianity. Roberts' reappraisal of this important figure should appeal to all historians of philosophy as well as scholars in metaphysics and philosophy of language. (shrink)
This paper examines John Scottus Eriugena's account of material bodies. Some scholars have argued that Eriugena's account prefigures Berkeleyan idealism. The interpretation offered in the paper rejects the Berkeleyan interpretation on the grounds that Eriugena, unlike Berkeley, did not propose a thoroughly immaterialist view of reality.
: This paper examines how Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) shifted from a broadly Newtonian conception of divine, absolute space to a more Berkeleian or Leibnizian theory of merely relative, ideal space. Setting Edwards' views within a context of contemporary European thought, it elucidates his early position, as expressed in the opening portion of his essay 'Of Being' (c. 1721), and then proceeds to chart the development of his more mature views, showing in particular how the development of his immaterialism during (...) the early 1720s drove him to change his mind on the issue of space and its relationship with God. (shrink)
Scotus is notorious for occasionally making statements that, on their face at least, smack of voluntarism, but there has been a lively debate about whether Scotus is really a voluntarist after all. Now the debate is not over whether Scotus lays great emphasis on the role of the divine will with respect to the moral law. No one could sensibly deny that he does, and if such an emphasis constitutes voluntarism, then no one could sensibly deny that Scotus is a (...) voluntarist. As I am using the word, however, voluntarism is the view that (i) the goodness of almost all things, as well as the rightness of almost all acts, depends wholly on the divine will and (ii) what God wills with respect to those things and those acts is not in turn to be explained by reference to the divine intellect, human nature, or anything else. This is the view that Scotus’s critics decry and his defenders disclaim. Thus, his critics have seized on these passages and accused Scotus of believing that the moral law depends simply on “the arbitrary will of God.” His most sympathetic interpreters, however, have devoted great ingenuity to showing that Scotus did not mean anything unpalatable by these statements.1 What the critics and defenders apparently have in common is the view that voluntarism is an implausible and even discreditable doctrine. Interpreters who read Scotus as a voluntarist intend thereby to damn his moral views; interpreters sympathetic to his moral views feel compelled to mitigate his voluntarism. I wish to argue for a different approach. I agree with his defenders that Scotus’s moral philosophy ought to be taken seriously. But I think the best way to take any philosopher’s view seriously is to let him speak for himself, not to decide in advance that he must not have held a view that we find implausible. Let me suggest an analogy that will make my position clearer. Very nearly everyone finds immaterialism implausible. (shrink)
Many Christians assume that there are only two possibilities for what a human person is: either Animalism (the view that we are fundamentally animals) or Immaterialism (the view that we are fundamentally immaterial souls). I set out a third possibility: the Constitution View (the view that we are material beings, constituted by bodies but not identical to the bodies that now constitute us.) After setting out and briefly defending the Constitution View, I apply it to the doctrine of resurrection. (...) I conclude by giving reasons for Christians to prefer the Constitution View of human persons to both Animalism and Immaterialism. (shrink)
Sir William Drummond (1770?-1828) enjoyed considerable notoriety in the early nineteenth century as the author of the Academical Questions (1805), a manifesto for immaterialism that is at the same time a creative synthesis of ancient and modern forms of scepticism. In this paper I advance an interpretation of Drummond's work that emphasises his extensive employment and adaptation of Hume's own ‘Academical or Sceptical Philosophy’. I also document the impact of the Academical Questions on the contemporary philosophical scene, including its (...) decisive influence on Shelley's philosophical development. (shrink)
This essay examines the impact of the Göttingen review on Kant. Taking up each of the charges laid down in this first, critical review ofthe Critique of Pure Reason, I will argue that these criticisms stem largely from Kant’s account in his discussion of the Paralogisms, before going on to defend Kant from the claim that he altered his stance on realism—in reaction to the review—as the only hope for distinguishing transcendental idealism from the immaterialism of George Berkeley.
In the recent decades, the ubiquitous technologies of information and communication have fostered tendencies toward ,,immaterial" forms of life leaving behind our natural and mundane corporeality - even invoking the posthumanistic Elysian Fields of Cyberspace. All that tele-technological re-enchantment notwithstanding, with its utopian or dystopian overtones, we should, I suggest, take a ,,second look" at the overall process of dematerializing our life. Under the heading ,,Matter Matters" I try to uncover the very materiality of our cultural and social interconnections. Complementary (...) to the prophecies of surpassing our condition humaine, my second thoughts about the road to immaterialism are manifesting a hidden dialectic which I should like to take as a starting point for a new humanism. German ,,Matter matters ist der Slogan eines etwas buntscheckigen Materialismus, der Mass nimmt an der menschlichen Körperlichkeit, an unserem körperlichen Umgang mit andern Menschen, Tieren, Umgebungen, Artefakten, Dingen. Ich versuche, ein Grundpostulat plausibel zu machen, das sich im gleichen Zug Geltung verschafft, in dem sich die ,,dematerialisierenden Tele-Technologien irreduzibel unserem Alltag aufmodulieren: In und aus den Kontexten der Künstlichkeit erwächst eine neue Bedeutung materialen Umgangs mit der Welt, gewinnen Materie und Körper sozusagen ihren neuen anthropologischen Rang als Fokus des Humanen. Dieses Postulat nimmt dem Materialismus seinen antihumanistischen Affront. Oder umgekehrt gesagt: Im Materialismus ist die Stimme eines neuen Humanismus zu vernehmen. (shrink)
Introduction: The empiricists and their context -- Empiricism and the empiricists -- The intellectual background to the early modern empiricists -- Martin Luther and the Reformation -- Aristotelian cosmology and the scientific revolution -- Aristotelian/scholastic hylomorphism and the rise of mechanism -- The Royal Society of London -- Francis Bacon (1561-1626) -- The natural realm : the idols of the mind -- Idols of the tribe -- Idols of the cave -- Idols of the marketplace -- Idols of the theatre (...) -- Knowledge and experience : induction introduced -- Aristotelian/scholastic syllogisms : deductions dismissed -- Baconian empiricism : induction introduced -- Conclusion: Bacon the empiricist -- Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) -- The natural realm : Hobbes's materialistic mechanism -- The importance of motion -- Sensation and the mind -- Knowledge and experience : definitions and the euclidean method -- Two kinds of knowledge and proper ratiocination -- The method of analysis and the method of synthesis -- Conclusion: Hobbes, the empiricist -- Pierre Gassendi (1592-1655) -- The natural realm : Gassendi's atomism -- The basic principles of Gassendi's atomism -- Atomistic sensation -- Knowledge and experience : the middle way to knowledge -- The sceptics are partly correct -- Knowledge regained? -- Conclusion: Gassendi. the empiricist -- Robert Boyle (1627-1691) -- The natural realm : Boyle's mechanism (corpuscularianism) -- The basic principles of Boyle's mechanism (or corpscularianism) -- Sensation and the mind -- Knowledge and experience : mechanism and the cautious experimenter -- The excellency of mechanism -- Experimentation and the status of mechanism -- Conclusion: Boyle, the empiricist -- John Locke (1632-1704) -- The natural realm : Locke's mechanism -- Against innatism -- Ideas and the tabula rasa -- Primary and secondary qualities, and our confused idea of substance -- Locke on power -- Knowledge and experience : Locke's epistemology -- Indirect realism, or the representational theory of perception -- The certainty of knowledge -- The origin of knowledge -- The extent of knowledge -- Conclusion: Locke, the empiricist -- Isaac Newton (1642-1727) -- The natural realm : Newton's principia -- A world of forces : universal gravitation -- What kind of quality is gravity? -- Mechanism and action at a distance -- Knowledge and experience : rules for the study of natural philosophy -- The four rules -- Whither natural philosophy -- Conclusion: Newton, the empiricist -- George Berkeley (1685-1753) -- The natural realm : Berkeley's idealism -- The world contains only souls and ideas -- Esse est percipi : two arguments for idealism/immaterialism -- Against the primary/secondary quality distinction -- Knowledge and experience : Berkeley's common sense epistemology -- Against the representational theory of perception -- Defeating the skeptic, and returning to common sense -- Mechanism, newtonianism, and instrumentalism : Berkeley on the new science -- Responses to popular objections -- Conclusion: Berkeley, the empiricist -- David Hume (1711-1776) -- The natural realm : Hume's psychological approach -- Ideas and impressions -- The principles of association -- Knowledge and experience : Hume's semi-scepticism -- Relations of ideas vs. matters of fact -- From matters of fact to cause and effect : Hume's first question -- Knowledge of cause and effect : Hume's second question -- The problem of induction : Hume's third question -- Hume's positive account of causation : induction regained -- Conclusion: Hume, the empiricist -- Empiricism and the empiricists : summary and conclusion. (shrink)
During the past thirty years, scholars and commentators have produced a flood of articles and books on almost every aspect and feature of Berkeley's work. There are, however, very few points on which these commentators agree. Since the debate shows no signs of abating, Walter Creery has gathered together a collection of the more significant articles in this extremely useful and accessible form. These three volumes gather together eighty-seven articles on Berkeley's views on the central issues of the philosophy of (...) language, the theory of vision, qualities, general ideas, matter, the theory of mind, and notions. The collection contains articles both harshly critical of Berkeley as well as those sympathetic with the philosopher's views, and there has been an attempt to balance the selection between the immaterialist and idealist theories. (shrink)
In this set of previously unpublished essays, noted scholars from North America and Europe describe how the Irish philosopher George Berkeley (1684-1753) continues to inspire debates about his views on knowledge, reality, God, freedom, mathematics, and religion. Here discussions about Berkeley's account of physical objects, minds, and God's role in human experience are resolved within explicitly ethical and theological contexts. This collection uses debates about Berkeley's immaterialism and theory of ideas to open up a discussion of how divine activity (...) and human experience are reconciled in a recurring appeal to the laws of nature. In that context, objects in the world are linked to one another by means of the perceptions and affections whereby minds come into being. The laws of nature thus become crucial for Berkeley in revealing how objects are unintelligible apart from being apprehended by minds that are themselves connected to one another in virtue of their ideas. -/- Overall, the essays indicate that, for Berkeley, our apprehension of the world as real depends on recognizing how the world expressed by our ideas is not a mere aggregate of disconnected bodies but is rather an integrated unity of the things we experience. This provides an antidote against the loss of unity created by Descartes' isolation of the self from nature and Locke's account of objects in terms of simple, discrete ideas. -/- In juxtaposing discussions of Berkeley's later writings with his earlier works, this volume shows not only how, for Berkeley, mind is intrinsically linked to things in nature as the principle of their determination in law-governed ways, but also how minds are practically related to the objects of the physical world, one another, and ultimately God. (shrink)
Cosmology and Self in the Apostle Paul challenges the traditional reading of Paul. Troels Engberg-Pedersen argues that the usual, mainly cognitive and metaphorical, ways of understanding central Pauline concepts, such as 'being in Christ', 'having God's pneuma (spirit), Christ's pneuma, and Christ himself in one', must be supplemented by a literal understanding that directly reflects Paul's cosmology. -/- Engberg-Pedersen shows that Paul's cosmology, not least his understanding of the pneuma, was a materialist, bodily one: the pneuma was a physical element (...) that would at the resurrection act directly on the ordinary human bodies of believers and transform them into 'pneumatic bodies'. This literal understanding of the future events is then traced back to the Pauline present as Engberg-Pedersen considers how Paul conceived in bodily terms of a range of central themes like his own conversion, his mission, the believers' reception of the pneuma in baptism, and the way the apostle took the pneuma to inform his own and their ways of life from the beginning to the projected end. -/- In developing this picture of Paul's world view, an explicitly philosophically oriented form of interpretation ('philosophical exegesis') is employed, in which the interpreter applies categories of interpretation that make sense philosophically, whether in an ancient or a modern context. For this enterprise Engberg-Pedersen draws in particular on ancient Stoic materialist and monistic physics and cosmology - as opposed to the Platonic, immaterialist and dualistic categories that underlie traditional readings of Paul - and on modern ideas on 'religious experience', 'self', 'body' and 'practice' derived from Foucault and Bourdieu. In this way Paul is shown to have spelled out philosophically his Jewish, 'apocalyptic' world view, which remains a central feature of his thought. -/- The book states the cosmological case for the author's earlier 'ethical' reading of Paul in his prize-winning book, Paul and the Stoics (2000). (shrink)
Despite apparent similarities between them, in the Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics and in the second edition of the Critique of Pure Reason Kant makes several attempts to distinguish his idealism from Berkeley’s. I argue that Kant’s arguments in three of the four places where he explicitly distances himself from Berkeley are insufficient to their task because they attack only Berkeley’s empiricism rather than his immaterialism. Although a close reading of the Refutation of Idealism lies beyond the scope of (...) this paper, my reading of Kant’s critique of Berkeley will produce an interesting result concerning the reading of this difficult passage: If Kant is to offer a convincing defense of the charge that Berkeley reduces the world to sheer illusion while his does not, then the Refutation of Idealism must be aimed at proving, on a transcendental idealist basis, the existence of things in themselves. (shrink)
Berkeley construes his own immaterialist philosophy as facing a serious competitor, namely, what he often termed ‘materialism.’ He tries on several grounds to eliminate materialism from the competition, thus leaving immaterialism as the most plausible metaphysical theory of perception and the external world. In this paper these grounds are explored, and it is found that Berkeley’s method for rational choice between materialism and immaterialism involves consideration of a host of criteria for choice between competitive theories.
Note on the text of the principles -- Context -- Biography -- Berkeley's philosophical background -- Overview of themes -- Teading the text -- The principles : introduction -- The principles : part one -- The objects and subject of knowledge : ideas and spirit -- Unperceived existence : a nicer strain of abstraction -- Problems for materialism -- A Cartesian dream argument -- The master argument -- From the inertness of ideas to the existence of God -- Philosophical objections (...) to immaterialism and replies -- Religious objections to immaterialism and replies -- Further advantages of immaterialism -- Great provinces of speculative science -- The attack on absolute space -- Mathematics -- Other minds -- The divine language of nature -- Reception and influence -- Guide to further reading. (shrink)