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Summary Berkeley's immaterialism introduces a strict dichotomy between ideas and spirits (what we would call minds). While he spends much of The Principles and Three Dialogues discussing the nature of ideas, he does little to provide an explanation of the nature of spirits - and, in particular, how we gain knowledge of them.  An especially troublesome area is the epistemology of other minds. Berkeley explains that we learn about our own minds by means of inward reflection, and that the existence of God's mind is evinced by the mechanisms of nature that we observe around us. However, other minds are under-discussed - particularly in light of the so-called 'likeness principle' in section 8 of The Principles which tells us that we can't perceive minds like we do other objects.  In later editions of The Principles, Berkeley introduces the term 'notion' and suggests that while we can't gain perceptual knowledge of minds we can at least possess notional knowledge of their existence. However, the term 'notion' is also somewhat problematic. 
Key works Berkeley first discusses the nature of spirit in Woolhouse & Berkeley 1988. A. A. Luce suggests that we gain knowledge of other minds by means of analogy with our own in Luce 1945. Canonical discussions include Bennett 1971 and Winkler 1989.  Recent journal papers on the epistemology of mind in Berkeley include Falkenstein 1990 and Lee 2012.  Recent books covering Berkeley's epistemology of mind include Roberts 2007 and Kail 2014, which includes a useful chapter on the nature of spirit. 
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42 found
  1. added 2019-06-06
    Knowledge of the Self in Berkeley’s Philosophy.Sami M. Najm - 1966 - International Philosophical Quarterly 6 (2):248-269.
    Given berkeley's view of ideas and spirits and his reference to notions of spirits, Actions, Relations, And ideas, I argue that (a) the doctrine of the notion is his account of knowledge of the self, (b) to have a notion of something is to comprehend it non-Perceptually and actively, And (c) berkeley ultimately holds the self is substantial and knowable. By intuition and principled knowledge we know the self "exists". Notional knowledge is not intuition. The former and principled knowledge presuppose (...)
  2. added 2019-06-06
    The Commonplace Book and Berkeley’s Concepf Of The Self.George W. Miller - 1965 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 3 (1):23-32.
  3. added 2019-06-06
    Berkeley's Alleged Solipsism.Richard J. Van Iten - 1962 - Revue Internationale de Philosophie 16 (61/62):447-452.
    Reprinted in Colin Murray Turbayne, ed., 'A Treatise on the Principles of Human Knowledge / George Berkeley, with Critical Essays' (Bobbs-Merrill, 1970): 47-56.
  4. added 2019-02-15
    Knowing Me, Knowing You: Berkeley on Self-Knowledge and Other Minds.Peter West - forthcoming - The Self and Self-Knowledge in Early Modern Philosophy.
  5. added 2018-03-10
    Berkeley on God's Knowledge of Pain.Stephen H. Daniel - 2018 - In Stefan Storrie (ed.), Berkeley's Three Dialogues: New Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 136-145.
    Since nothing about God is passive, and the perception of pain is inherently passive, then it seems that God does not know what it is like to experience pain. Nor would he be able to cause us to experience pain, for his experience would then be a sensation (which would require God to have senses, which he does not). My suggestion is that Berkeley avoids this situation by describing how God knows about pain “among other things” (i.e. as something whose (...)
  6. added 2017-06-15
    Molyneux’s Question in Berkeley’s Theory of Vision.Juan R. Loaiza - 2017 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 32 (2):231-247.
    I propose a reading of Berkeley's Essay towards a New Theory of Vision in which Molyneux-type questions are interpreted as thought experiments instead of arguments. First, I present the general argumentative strategy in the NTV, and provide grounds for the traditional reading. Second, I consider some roles of thought experiments, and classify Molyneux-type questions in the NTV as constructive conjectural thought experiments. Third, I argue that (i) there is no distinction between Weak and Strong Heterogeneity theses in the NTV; (ii) (...)
  7. added 2017-06-05
    A Problem Concerning Berkeley's Epistemology of Other Finite Spirits.Peter West - unknown
  8. added 2017-06-05
    Notions and Ideas in Berkeley’s Philosophy.Ian Thomas Ramsey - 1953 - Proceedings of the XIth International Congress of Philosophy 13:66-71.
  9. added 2016-08-08
    Berkeley's a Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge: An Introduction.P. J. E. Kail - 2014 - Cambridge University Press.
    George Berkeley's Principles of Human Knowledge is a crucial text in the history of empiricism and in the history of philosophy more generally. Its central and seemingly astonishing claim is that the physical world cannot exist independently of the perceiving mind. The meaning of this claim, the powerful arguments in its favour, and the system in which it is embedded, are explained in a highly lucid and readable fashion and placed in their historical context. Berkeley's philosophy is, in part, a (...)
  10. added 2016-08-08
    Berkeley on the Activity of Spirits.Sukjae Lee - 2012 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (3):539-576.
    This paper propounds a new reading of Berkeley's account of the activity of finite spirits. Against existing interpretations, the paper argues that Berkeley does not hold that we causally contribute to the movement of our bodies. In contrast, our volitions to move our bodies are but occasions for God to cause their movement. In answer to the question of wherein then consists our activity, the paper proposes that our activity consists in the dual powers to produce (1) our volitions ? (...)
  11. added 2016-08-08
    A Metaphysics for the Mob: The Philosophy of George Berkeley.John Russell Roberts - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
    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. (...)
  12. added 2016-08-07
    How Berkeley Corrupted His Capacity to Conceive.Michael Jacovides - 2009 - Philosophia 37 (3):415-429.
    Berkeley’s capacity to conceive of mind-independent bodies was corrupted by his theory of representation. He thought that representation of things outside the mind depended on resemblance. Since ideas can resemble nothing than ideas, and all ideas are mind dependent, he concluded that we couldn’t form ideas of mind-independent bodies. More generally, he thought that we had no inner resembling proxies for mind-independent bodies, and so we couldn’t even form a notion of such things. Because conception is a suggestible faculty, Berkeley’s (...)
  13. added 2016-04-29
    Berkeley as Proto-Phenomenologist.Timothy Mooney - 2005 - Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society:213-236.
  14. added 2016-04-29
    Knowledge of Other Selves in Berkeley's Philosophy.Sami M. Najm - 1968 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 49 (3):370.
  15. added 2016-04-28
    Solipsism and Berkeley's Alleged Realism.Alan Hausman - 1968 - Revue Internationale de Philosophie 22 (3):403-412.
  16. added 2016-04-26
    Can Berkeley Have It Both Ways?Daniel E. Flage - 2014 - The Philosophers' Magazine 66 (3):55-60.
  17. added 2016-04-26
    The Passive Eye Gaze and Subjectivity in Berkeley.C. Branka Arsi - 2003
  18. added 2016-04-26
    Berkeley On Other Minds.Charles Byron Cross - 1978 - Auslegung 6 (1):45-50.
  19. added 2016-04-26
    An Ambiguity in Berkeley's Principles.E. J. Furlong - 1964 - Philosophical Quarterly 14 (57):334-344.
  20. added 2014-03-16
    Berkeley on Self-Consciousness.Talia Mae Bettcher - 2008 - In Stephen H. Daniel (ed.), New Interpretations of Berkeley's Thought. Humanity Books.
  21. added 2014-03-09
    Comments on Melissa Frankel’s “Something-We-Know-Not-What, Something-We-Know-Not Why: Berkeley, Meaning and Minds”.Stavroula Glezakos - 2009 - Philosophia 37 (3):403-407.
  22. added 2014-03-09
    Something-We-Know-Not-What, Something-We-Know-Not-Why: Berkeley, Meaning and Minds.Melissa Frankel - 2009 - Philosophia 37 (3):381-402.
    It is sometimes suggested that Berkeley adheres to an empirical criterion of meaning, on which a term is meaningful just in case it signifies an idea (i.e., an immediate object of perceptual experience). This criterion is thought to underlie his rejection of the term ‘matter’ as meaningless. As is well known, Berkeley thinks that it is impossible to perceive matter. If one cannot perceive matter, then, per Berkeley, one can have no idea of it; if one can have no idea (...)
  23. added 2014-03-09
    Berkeley, Meaning and Minds: Remarks on Glezakos' Comments.Melissa Frankel - 2009 - Philosophia 37 (3):409-413.
    This is a response to Stavroula Glezakos’ commentary on my paper, in which I address three main points: (1) whether Berkeley is entitled to argue via inference to the best explanation, (2) whether Berkeley’s likeness principle might be too strict, and (3) whether the texts support my reading.
  24. added 2014-01-15
    Berkeley's Doctrine of Mind and the “Black List Hypothesis”: A Dialogue.Stephen H. Daniel - 2013 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (1):24-41.
    Clues about what Berkeley was planning to say about mind in his now-lost second volume of the Principles seem to abound in his Notebooks. However, commentators have been reluctant to use his unpublished entries to explicate his remarks about spiritual substances in the Principles and Dialogues for three reasons. First, it has proven difficult to reconcile the seemingly Humean bundle theory of the self in the Notebooks with Berkeley's published characterization of spirits as “active beings or principles.” Second, the fact (...)
  25. added 2013-12-02
    How to Avoid Solipsism While Remaining an Idealist: Lessons From Berkeley and Dharmakirti.Jeremy E. Henkel - 2013 - Comparative Philosophy 3 (1):58-73.
    This essay examines the strategies that Berkeley and Dharmakīrti utilize to deny that idealism entails solipsism. Beginning from similar arguments for the non-existence of matter, the two philosophers employ markedly different strategies for establishing the existence of other minds. This difference stems from their responses to the problem of intersubjective agreement. While Berkeley’s reliance on his Cartesian inheritance does allow him to account for intersubjective agreement without descending into solipsism, it nevertheless prevents him from establishing the existence of other finite (...)
  26. added 2013-12-02
    Le cogito de Berkeley.Laurent Jaffro - 2004 - Archives de Philosophie 1:85-111.
  27. added 2013-09-25
    Berkeley's Way Towards Constructivism, 1707-1709.Bertil Belfrage - 2011 - In Timo Airaksinen & Bertil Belfrage Airaksinen (eds.), Berkeley's Lasting Legacy: 300 Years Later. Cambridge Scholars Press.
    George Berkeley opens the Principles (Part I) with "a Survey of the Objects of Human Knowledge" including such ideas "as are perceiv'd by attending to the Passions and Operations of the Mind." Scholars have rejected this passage as being "philosophically impossible," not seriously meant, just a reference to John Locke's ideas of reflection, or not at all about "ideas." It is true, in a few unpublished manuscripts Berkeley used the term "ideas" for image-pictures of particular things (the Old Paradigm). But, (...)
  28. added 2013-07-22
    Berkeley's Argument for Other Minds.Lorne Falkenstein - 1990 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 7 (4):431 - 440.
  29. added 2013-06-11
    Berkeley and Buber: An Epistemological Comparison.David S. Forth - 1971 - Dialogue 10 (4):690-707.
  30. added 2013-02-17
    Berkeley's Notion of Spirit.Charles J. McCracken - 1986 - History of European Ideas 7 (6):597-602.
  31. added 2013-02-14
    Ideas, Minds, and Berkeley.George S. Pappas - 1980 - American Philosophical Quarterly 17 (3):181 - 194.
    A number of commentators on the work of berkeley have maintained that berkeleyan minds are related to ideas by the relation of inherence. Thus, Ideas are taken to inhere in minds in something like the way that accidents were supposed to inhere in substances for the aristotelian. This inherence account, As I call it, Is spelled out in detail and critically evaluated. Ultimately it is rejected despite its considerable initial plausibility.
  32. added 2013-02-14
    A Reconstruction of Berkeley: Minds and Physical Objects as Theoretical Entities.James W. Cornman - 1971 - Ratio (Misc.) 13 (1):76.
  33. added 2012-03-17
    Berkeley's Arguments on Realism and Idealism.Mr Blake K. Winter - manuscript
    We analyse Berkeley's argument that realism cannot be defined, and show that his epistemological assumptions lead to the inevitable conclusion that solipsism is the only definable metaphysics. We conclude with a discussion of what this means for the realism/idealism debate, and also with a discussion of the possibility for apodictic evidence in this matter.
  34. added 2012-03-15
    Irish Cartesian and Proto-Phenomenologist: The Case of Berkeley.Tim Mooney - manuscript
    Comparatively recent scholarship suggests that George Berkeley cannot be seen solely or even chiefly as a British empiricist who is reacting to the materialistic implications of Locke’s Essay on Human Understanding. C.J. McCracken has shown how Berkeley is influenced by Malebranche’s theses concerning the dependence of bodies on God, without himself doubting the evidence of the senses. McCracken also shows how Berkeley reconstructs and reapplies Malebranche’s fideism.1 Harry Bracken has argued, most notably, that Berkeley espouses certain theses that set him (...)
  35. added 2012-03-15
    Berkeley and Inferred Friends.Warren E. Steinkraus - 1972 - Dialogue 11 (4):592-595.
  36. added 2012-03-14
    The Self in Berkeley's Philosophy.A. C. Lloyd - 1985 - In John Foster & Howard Robinson (eds.), Essays on Berkeley: A Tercentennial Celebration. Oxford University Press.
  37. added 2012-03-14
    Hylas' Parity Argument.Phillip Cummins - 1982 - In Colin M. Turbayne (ed.), Berkeley: Critical and Interpretive Essays.
  38. added 2012-03-14
    Theoretical Terms, Berkeleian Notions, and Minds.James W. Cornman - 1970 - In Colin Murray Turbayne (ed.), A Treatise on the Principles of Human Knowledge / George Berkeley, with Critical Essays. Bobbs-Merrill.
  39. added 2012-03-14
    The Mind and its Ideas: Some Problems in the Interpretation of Berkeley.S. A. Grave - 1964 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 42 (2):199 – 210.
  40. added 2012-03-14
    Berkeley on Other Selves: A Study in Fugue.Denis Grey - 1954 - Philosophical Quarterly 4 (14):28-44.
  41. added 2012-03-14
    Berkeley's Argument From Nominalism.W. H. Hay - 1953 - Revue Internationale de Philosophie 7 (23-24):19-27.
    Reprinted in Colin Murray Turbayne, ed., 'A Treatise on the Principles of Human Knowledge / George Berkeley, with Critical Essays' (Bobbs-Merrill, 1970): 37-46.
  42. added 2012-03-14
    The Solipsism of Bishop Berkeley.Denis Grey - 1952 - Philosophical Quarterly 2 (9):338-349.