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)
I argue that Berkeley has reasonable grounds for believing both that (a) the supposition of the existence of material substance leads to atheism and (b) endorsing immaterialism provides a better support for the Christian faith than any rival that posits the existence of matter. Together, those claims lead to the conclusion that if one wants to be a Christian, there is good reason to think that one ought to be an immaterialist. Je montre que Berkeley a raison de croire (...) que l'existence de la matière conduit à l'athéisme et que la reconnaissance de l'immatérialisme donne un meilleur support à la croyance chrétienne que n'importe quelle autre assertion qui défend l'existence de la matière. Ensemble ces thèses mènent à la conclusion que pour qui veut être chrétien, il y a une bonne raison de croire qu'il faut être immatérialiste. (shrink)
Berkeley confidently asserts the connection between his attack on abstract ideas and immaterialism, But how the connection works has puzzled modern commentators. I construct an argument resting on the imagist theory of thought which connects anti-ionism and immaterialism and try to show that it is berkeleian. I then suggest that, Without the mistaken imagist theory, A similar and still interesting argument can be constructed to the weaker conclusion that matter is essentially unknowable.
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)
Berkeley's doctrine of archetypes explains how God perceives and can have the same ideas as finite minds. His appeal of Christian neo-Platonism opens up a way to understand how the relation of mind, ideas, and their union is modeled on the Cappadocian church fathers' account of the persons of the trinity. This way of understanding Berkeley indicates why he, in contrast to Descartes or Locke, thinks that mind (spiritual substance) and ideas (the object of mind) cannot exist or be thought (...) of apart from one another. It also hints at why Gregory of Nyssa's immaterialism sounds so much like Berkeley's. (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)
O presente texto tem por objetivo examinar as relações existentes entre a crítica às idéias abstratas, apresentada por Berkeley na Introdução ao Tratado sobre os princípios do entendimento humano, e a argumentação desenvolvida nos primeiros parágrafos da Parte I do mesmo texto, em que o autor propõe seu imaterialismo. A hipótese levantada a partir de tal exame defende uma relação direta entre o nominalismo de Berkeley e o caráter inaceitável, para o autor, da distinção entre o ser e o aparecer (...) da matéria postulada pelas teorias da representação. Critique of abstration and representation in Berkeleys immaterialismThe objective of this essay is to examine the relations that exist between the critique of abstract ideas, presented by Berkeley in the Introduction to the A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge and the arguments developed in the first paragraphs of its Part I, in which Berkeley proposes his immaterialism. The hypothesis advanced, based on our analysis, is that there is a direct relation between Berkeleys nominalism and the unacceptable character, according to Berkeley, of the distinction between the appearance and the matter postulated by the theories of representation. (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)
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)
Mereological nihilism is the philosophical position that there are no items that have parts. If there are no items with parts then the only items that exist are partless fundamental particles, such as the true atoms (also called philosophical atoms) theorized to exist by some ancient philosophers, some contemporary physicists, and some contemporary philosophers. With several novel arguments I show that mereological nihilism is the correct theory of reality. I will also discuss strong similarities that mereological nihilism has with empirical (...) results in quantum physics. And I will discuss how mereological nihilism vindicates a few other theories, such as a very specific theory of philosophical atomism, which I will call quantum abstract atomism. I will show that mereological nihilism also is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that avoids the problems of other interpretations, such as the widely known, metaphysically generated, quantum paradoxes of quantum physics, which ironically are typically accepted as facts about reality. I will also show why it is very surprising that mereological nihilism is not a widely held theory, and not the premier theory in philosophy. (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.