Methodus 6:78-105 (2011)

Authors
M. A. Istvan Jr.
Austin Community College
Abstract
This paper engages the controversy as to whether there is a link between Berkeley’s refutation of abstraction and his refutation of materialism. I argue that there is a strong link. In the opening paragraph I show that materialism being true requires and is required by the possibility of abstraction, and that the obviousness of this fact suggests that the real controversy is whether there is a link between Berkeley’s refutation of materialism and his refutation of the possibility of framing abstract incomplete ideas and abstract general ideas. Although Berkeley can still defeat materialism without relying on his arguments that directly refute the possibility of framing abstract incomplete ideas and abstract general ideas, I contend that there is still a strong link between his refutation of materialism and his refutation of the possibility of framing these ideas. First, I show that the truth of the canonic version of materialism, according to which primary qualities are mindindependent and inhere in material substances, requires the possibility of the mind framing both of these ideas. Second, I show that there is a sense in which the truth of materialism is required by the possibility of either of these ideas.
Keywords Berkeley  materialism  abstraction
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