Authors
Melissa Frankel
Carleton University
Abstract
In this paper I look at a particular narrative, famously articulated by Reid, that holds that Descartes’s ‘Way of Ideas’ leads inevitably to Berkeley’s immaterialism. In the service of examining this narrative more closely, I consider Andrew Baxter’s early 18th century criticisms of Berkeley, and especially Baxter’s view that immaterialism begins with a dream hypothesis and is therefore self-undermining. I suggest that a careful consideration of Baxter’s criticism is illuminating in a number of ways: in so far as it anticipates future criticisms of and engagements with Berkeleyan immaterialism, in so far as it helps to reveal the actual structure of Berkeley’s appeal to dreams, and in so far as it helps to uncover the roots of this narrative tying Berkeleyan idealism to Cartesian scepticism.
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