Thomas Holden
University of California at Santa Barbara
Contrary to a popular reading of his modal epistemology, Berkeley does not hold that inconceivability entails impossibility, and he cannot therefore argue the impossibility of mind-independent matter by appealing to facts about what we cannot conceive. Berkeley is explicit about this constraint on his metaphysical argumentation, and, I argue, does respect it in practice. Popular mythology about the ‘master argument’ notwithstanding, the only passages in which he might plausibly seem to employ the principle that inconceivability entails impossibility are those that argue for the inseparability of primary from secondary qualities. However, an alternative reading of these texts is available that is both consistent with Berkeley's express modal epistemology and credible in its own right.
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DOI 10.1111/phpr.12432
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References found in this work BETA

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.John Locke - 1979 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 169 (2):221-222.
Berkeley's Thought.George S. Pappas - 2018 - Cornell University Press.
The Works of George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne.George Berkeley, A. A. Luce & T. E. Jessop - 1954 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 4 (16):353-353.
Berkeley's Master Argument.Andre Gallois - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (1):55-69.
Berkeley’s World: An Examination of the Three Dialogues.Tom Stoneham - 2004 - Philosophical Quarterly 54 (217):629-631.

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Citations of this work BETA

Two Routes to Idealism: Collier and Berkeley.David Bartha - 2020 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 28 (6):1071-1093.
Can the Berkeleyan Idealist Resist Spinozist Panpsychism?Graham Clay & Michael Rauschenbach - forthcoming - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis:1-30.

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