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Summary This category is concerned with Berkeley's famous "heterogeneity thesis" propounded in his New Theory of Vision. Berkeley’s thesis says, roughly, that perception of objects in motion is the result of empirically integrating two distinct sensory modalities: sight and touch. Important works pertaining to Berkeley's chief claim are codified.  Whether or not Berkeley's empirical conjectures are correct is somewhat moot, since his theory did lay the foundations for the very idea that human perception is inherently active as opposed to innate or passive.  This idea motivates much research involving perception, in both psychology and the philosophy of mind.  Berkeley's New Theory is indeed a watershed for the philosophy of perception.
Key works Sense Modalities Perception Berkeley's Theory of Perception Berkeley's Subjective Idealism
Introductions George Berkeley's New Theory of Vision 1703
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  1. Berkeley on the Language of Nature and the Objects of Vision.Rebecca Copenhaver - 2014 - Res Philosophica 91 (1):29-46.
    Berkeley holds that vision, in isolation, presents only color and light. He also claims that typical perceivers experience distance, figure, magnitude, and situation visually. The question posed in New Theory is how we perceive by sight spatial features that are not, strictly speaking, visible. Berkeley’s answer is “that the proper objects of vision constitute an universal language of the Author of nature.” For typical humans, this language of vision comes naturally. Berkeley identifies two sorts of objects of vision: primary (light (...)
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  2. The Role of Visual Language in Berkeley’s Account of Generality.Katherine Dunlop - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (3):525-559.
  3. Analysis in Berkeley's Theory of Vision.Daniel E. Flage - 2011 - In Timo Airaksinen & Bertil Belfrage (eds.), Berkeley's Lasting Legacy: 300 Years Later. Cambridge Scholars Press.
    In Section 38 of the Theory of Vision Vindicated, George Berkeley claims that he had used the method of analysis throughout the Theory of Vision. What does that mean? I first show that "analysis" denoted a fairly well-defined method in the early modern period: it was regularly described as a method of discovery. Then I show that the discussion of distance perception in the Theory of Vision exemplifies the method of analysis and may be seen as a modification of a (...)
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  4. Berkeley's New Theory of Vision: Science of Metaphysics?Luc Peterschmitt - 2011 - In Timo Airaksinen & Bertil` Belfrage (eds.), Berkeley's Lasting Legacy: 300 Years Later. Cambridge Scholars Press.
    Bertil Belfrage has recently given a "new interpretation" of Berkeley's Theory of Vision. He opposes the view that it is a contribution to metaphysics; it is, he argues, a scientific theory comparable with physics and mechanics. I shall argue that both alternatives are mistaken: Berkeley does not present any definite theory at all in his essay on vision; it is not a contribution either to science or metaphysics but an essay towards a theory that would include both scientific and metaphysical (...)
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  5. Catching Berkeley's Shadow.Tom Stoneham - 2011 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (2):116-136.
    Berkeley thinks that we only see the size, shape, location, and orientation of objects in virtue of the correlation between sight and touch. Shadows have all of these spatial properties and yet are intangible. In Seeing Dark Things (2008), Roy Sorensen argues that shadows provide a counterexample to Berkeley's theory of vision and, consequently, to his idealism. This paper shows that Berkeley can accept both that shadows are intangible and that they have spatial properties.
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  6. Berkeley’s Contingent Necessities.Daniel E. Flage - 2009 - Philosophia 37 (3):361-372.
    The paper provides an account of necessary truths in Berkeley based upon his divine language model. If the thesis of the paper is correct, not all Berkeleian necessary truths can be known a priori.
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  7. Strong and Weak Heterogeneity in Berkeley's New Theory of Vision.Robert Muehlmann - 2008 - In Stephen H. Daniel (ed.), New Interpretations of Berkeley's Thought. Humanity Books.
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  8. The Indirect Perception of Distance: Interpretive Complexities in Berkeley's Theory of Vision.Michael James Braund - 2007 - Kritike 1 (2):49-64.
    The problem of whether perception is direct or if it depends on additional, cognitive contributions made by the perceiving subject, is posed with particular force in an Essay towards a New Theory of Vision. It is evident from the recurrent treatment it receives therein that Berkeley considers it to be one of the central issues concerning perception. Fittingly, the NTV devotes the most attention to it. In this essay, I deal exclusively with Berkeley's treatment of the problem of indirect distance (...)
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  9. Berkeley and the Spatiality of Vision.Rick Grush - 2007 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (3):413-442.
    : Berkeley's Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision presents a theory of various aspects of the spatial content of visual experience that attempts to undercut not only the optico-geometric accounts of e.g., Descartes and Malebranche, but also elements of the empiricist account of Locke. My task in this paper is to shed light on some features of Berkeley's account that have not been adequately appreciated. After rehearsing a more detailed Lockean critique of the notion that depth is a proper (...)
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  10. Berkeley on Visible Figure and Extension.Ralph Schumacher - 2007 - In Stephen H. Daniel (ed.), Reexamining Berkeley's Philosophy.
  11. From Inference to Affordance : The Problem of Visual Depth-Perception in the Optical Writings of Descartes, Berkeley and Gibson.Michael Braund - 2006 - Dissertation,
  12. Berkeley's Half-Way House.Marc Hight - 2006 - Philosophy Compass 1 (1):28–35.
    George Berkeley's New Theory of Vision is frequently read as a simple precursor or “half-way house” to his later metaphysics. As a result, some allege the value of the New Theory has been overlooked as critics judge it by its association with immaterialism. In this piece I examine the ongoing debate over the nature of the connection between Berkeley's early work on perception and his later immaterialist tracts. I identify four principal positions on the nature of the connection that have (...)
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  13. Depth and Distance in Berkeley's Theory of Vision.Akira Hara - 2004 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 21 (1):101 - 117.
  14. Berkeley and the Moon Illusion.Basileios Kroustallis - 2004 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 21 (2):151 - 166.
  15. Berkeley’s Theory of Vision: Transparency and Signification.Richard Brook - 2003 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 11 (4):691 – 699.
    By "transparency" with respect to Berkeley's theory of signs, I mean the notion that because of the often close association between signs and what they signify, we mistakenly think we sense what is signified by the sense that accesses the sign. I argue that although this makes sense for some examples, for a variety of reasons it's not really applicable to Berkeley's claim that we mistakenly think we immediately see distance ('outness') when we, in fact, immediately see only light and (...)
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  16. Reid Versus Berkeley on the Inverted Retinal Image.James Van Cleve - 2003 - Philosophical Topics 31 (1/2):425-455.
  17. Berkeley and the ‘Mighty Difficulty’: The Idealist Lesson of the Inverted Retinal Image.Gideon Yaffe - 2003 - Philosophical Topics 31 (1/2):485-510.
  18. Abstract Ideas and the New Theory of Vision.George S. Pappas - 2002 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 10 (1):55 – 69.
    In the _New Theory of Vision, Berkeley defends the heterogeneity thesis, i.e., the view that the ideas of sight and touch are numerically and specifically distinct. In sections 121-122 of that work, he suggests that the thesis of abstract ideas is somehow closely connected to the heterogeneity thesis, though he does not there fully explain just what the connection is supposed to be. In this paper an interpretation of this connection is proposed and defended. Berkeley needs to reject abstract ideas (...)
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  19. George Berkeley’s Embodied Vision.Steven Schroeder - 2002 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 9 (2):87-92.
    Taking up John of Salisbury’s dictum that we read ancient texts to improve our eyesight, this article returns to an “old” book for “new” insight into the perennial philosophical problem of visual perception. A careful reading of Berkeley’s essay on vision improves our eyesight in at least four ways: First, it reminds us that the most interesting aspects of visual perception are not “primary” but “derivative.” Second, it reminds us that our relationship with the world is an interactive process of (...)
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  20. Berkeley, Helmholtz, the Moon Illusion, and Two Visual Systems.Helen E. Ross - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (1):116-117.
    Berkeley and Helmholtz proposed different indirect mechanisms for size perception: Berkeley, that size was conditioned to various cues, independently of perceived distance; Helmholtz, that it was unconsciously calculated from angular size and perceived distance. The geometrical approach cannot explain size-distance paradoxes (e.g., moon illusion). The dorsal/ventral solution is dubious for close displays and untestable for far displays.
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  21. Optical Idealism and the Languages of Depth in Descartes and Berkeley.David Morris - 1997 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 35 (3):363-392.
  22. Berkeley Without God.Margaret Atherton - 1995 - In Robert G. Muehlmann (ed.), Berkeley's Metaphysics: Structural, Interpretive, and Critical Essays. The Pennsylvania State University Press.
  23. Seeing Distance From a Berkeleian Perspective.Robert Schwartz - 1995 - In Robert G. Muehlmann (ed.), Berkeley's Metaphysics: Structural, Interpretive, and Critical Essays. The Pennsylvania State University Press.
  24. Intuition and Construction in Berkeley's Account of Visual Space.Lorne Falkenstein - 1994 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 32 (1):63-84.
  25. "Magic Buffalo" and Berkeley's Theory of Vision: Learning in Society.David M. Levy - 1993 - Hume Studies 19 (1):223-226.
  26. Vision: Variations on Some Berkeleian Themes.Robert Schwartz - 1993 - Cambridge: Blackwell.
    This book examines longstanding problems in the theory of vision. Each section begins by looking at the issues as they were raised and discussed by Berkeley. This work is unique in its blend of philosophical and historical perspectives on contemporary problems of readership.
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  27. In Support of the Foundational Importance of "an Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision" in the Philosophy of George Berkeley, with Due Regard to the Three Lights of His Theory of Vision and the Contemporary Relevance of Berkeley's Scientific Revisionism.Doreen Silver - 1993 - Dissertation, York University (Canada)
    An Essay Towards A New Theory Of Vision addresses a problem which George Berkeley encountered in formulating the metaphysics of his philosophy of immaterialism in A Treatise Concerning The Principles Of Human Knowledge. In opposition to mechanical materialism, Berkeley argued that bodies do not exist without the mind, and that our everyday experience delivers clear evidence of the Divine Presence. The difficulty is that we normally conduct our lives in accordance with an independent physical world which exists in external space, (...)
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  28. The Constructivism of Berkeley's New Theory of Vision.Bertil Belfrage - 1992 - In Phillip D. Cummins & Guenter Zoeller (eds.), Minds, Ideas, and Objects: Essays in the Theory of Representation in Modern Philosophy. Ridgeview Publishing Company.
  29. Berkeley's Revolution in Vision. Margaret Atherton.Kurt Moller Pedersen - 1992 - Isis 83 (4):668-669.
  30. Phenomenology and the Geometrization of Vision.Aurora Plomer - 1988 - Dissertation, Lancaster University (United Kingdom)
    Available from UMI in association with The British Library. ;The aim of this thesis is to evaluate Descartes and Berkeley's theories of perception in the light of Merleau Ponty's objections to classical theories in La Phenomenologie de la Perception. According to Merleau Ponty--whose thesis is elucidated by reference to the Gestaltists and Husserl--classical theories of perception either rely on causal explanations or on logical analyses. But, Merleau Ponty argues, neither form of explanation can suitably account for the intentional character of (...)
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  31. On the Status of Visuals in Berkeley's 'New Theory of Vision'.Phillip D. Cummins - 1987 - In Ernest Sosa (ed.), Essays on the Philosophy of George Berkeley. D. Reidel.
  32. Berkeley and the Moon Illusions.David Berman - 1985 - Revue Internationale de Philosophie 39 (154):215.
  33. The Retreat From Realism: Philosophical Theories of Vision From Descartes to Berkeley.Celia Rose Curtis Wolf - 1984 - Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison
    Descartes' writing on optics were important to the victory of the new mechanistic natural philosophy over the Aristoteleans. His innovations, however, destroyed the bases of Aristotelean realism, and contained the seeds from which Berkeley's perceptual idealism developed. This essay examines the interweaving of philosophical and scientific considerations in Descartes' theory of vision against the background of Aristotle's theory of perception, and traces the way in which his theory of vision developed, through the work of Malebranche and Locke, in an increasingly (...)
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  34. Dynamical Implications of Berkeley's Doctrine of Heterogeneity: A Note on the Language Model of Nature.Lawrence A. Mirarchi - 1982 - In Colin M. Turbayne (ed.), Berkeley: Critical and Interpretive Essays.
  35. Two Mistakes About Berkeley.Karen Rogers - 1980 - Philosophy 55 (214):552 - 553.
  36. The Invisible World of Berkeley’s New Theory of Vision.Bruce Silver - 1977 - New Scholasticism 51 (2):142-161.
  37. A Note on Berkeley’s New Theory of Vision and Thomas Reid’s Distinction Between Primary and Secondary Qualities.Bruce Silver - 1974 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 12 (2):253-263.
  38. Berkeley's Argument for a Divine Visual Language.Walter E. Creery - 1972 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 3 (4):212 - 222.
  39. Thomas Reid's Discovery of a Non-Euclidean Geometry.Norman Daniels - 1972 - Philosophy of Science 39 (2):219-234.
    Independently of any eighteenth century work on the geometry of parallels, Thomas Reid discovered the non-euclidean "geometry of visibles" in 1764. Reid's construction uses an idealized eye, incapable of making distance discriminations, to specify operationally a two dimensional visible space and a set of objects, the visibles. Reid offers sample theorems for his doubly elliptical geometry and proposes a natural model, the surface of the sphere. His construction draws on eighteenth century theory of vision for some of its technical features (...)
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  40. Berkeley's Analysis of Perception.George J. Stack - 1970 - P. Lang.
    "Berkeley's Analysis of Perception" is an internal analysis of the development and consequences of Berkeley's interpretation of the perceptual process. It seeks to show that the implications of Berkeley's understanding of perception lead to conclusions later formulated in phenomenalistic theories of perception.
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  41. Berkeley's Metaphysical Grammar.Colin Murray Turbayne - 1970 - In A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge / George Berkeley with Critical Essays. Bobbs-Merrill.
  42. A Neglected Aspect of the Relationship Between Berkeley's Theory of Vision and His Immaterialism.Rolf Sartorius - 1969 - American Philosophical Quarterly 6 (4):318 - 323.
  43. Misleading Questions and Irrelevant Answers in Berkeley's Theory of Vision.A. E. Best - 1968 - Philosophy 43 (164):138 - 151.
    Berkeley's essay on vision was published in the spring of 1709. It was recognised at once as a book of considerable importance, and there was a second edition within the first year. The author was still only 24. His design, he wrote, was to show the ‘manner we perceive by sight the distance, magnitude and situation of objects’. Hitherto, writers on optics had ‘proceeded on wrong principles’.
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  44. Works on Vision.George Berkeley - 1963 - Greenwood Press.
    A treatise concerning the principles of human knowledge -- An essay towards a new theory of vision -- Alciphron, the fourth dialogue (excerpts) -- The theory of vision.
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  45. Berkeley and the 'Knot About Inverted Images'.E. J. Furlong - 1963 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 41 (3):306 – 316.
  46. Berkeley's Theory of Vision: A Critical Examination of Bishop Berkeley's Essay "Towards a New Theory of Vision". [REVIEW]Harry M. Bracken - 1962 - Modern Schoolman 39 (3):287-289.
  47. Essay, Principles, Dialogues with Selections From Other Writings. Edited by Mary Whiton Calkins. --.George Berkeley & Mary Whiton Calkins - 1957 - Scribner.
  48. Discussion: Berkeley's New Theory of Vision.David M. Armstrong - 1956 - Journal of the History of Ideas 17 (1):127-129.
    Most of the New Theory of Vision is an argument for a negative answer to Molyneux's question.// re primacy of vision in spatial perception: "most rational philosopher on this topic is Berkeley, whose New Theory of Vision presents in cogent detail the argument" (from Bennett 1966, p. 30, in note cites 41ff.).// Berkeley's criticisms of Locke: "If we really abstract from colour and hardness and all that 'belongs to sensation', so far from being left with 'pure' notions of extension and (...)
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  49. Berkeley and Modern Psychology.E. Tranekjær Rasmussen - 1953 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 4 (13):2-12.
  50. Essay, Principles, Dialogues with Selections From Other Writings.George Berkeley & Mary Whiton Calkins - 1929 - C. Scribner's Sons.
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