Locke is what present-day aestheticians, critics, and historians call an intentionalist. He believes that when we interpret speech and writing, we aim—in large part and perhaps even for the most part—to recover the intentions, or intended meanings, of the speaker or writer. Berkeley and Hume shared Locke’s commitment to intentionalism, but it is a theme that recent philosophical interpreters of all three writers have left largely unexplored. In this paper I discuss the bearing of intentionalism on more familiar themes in (...) empiricist reflections on language, among them the signification of things (as opposed to ideas); the signifying role of whole propositions; and the possibility of reference to an “external” world. (shrink)
Berkeley (1685-1753) held that matter does not exist, and that the sensations we assume are caused by an indifferent and independent world are instead caused directly by God. Nature has no existence apart from the spirits who transmit and receive it. In this book, the author presents these conclusions as natural (though by no means inevitable) consequences of Berkeley's reflections on such topics as representation, abstraction, necessary truth, and cause and effect. The author offers new interpretations of Berkeley's views on (...) unperceived objects, corpuscularian science, and our knowledge of God and other minds. (shrink)
There are three propositions that this author demonstrates in his argument: (1) the contention that berkeley's attack on abstract ideas is not made wholly compatible with his atomic sensationalism, (2) that berkeley does not provide or employ a single definition or criterion for determining the limit of abstraction and (3) that the doctrine of abstract ideas furnishes no real support to berkeley's argument against the existence of material substance independent of perception. (staff).