David Hume wrote that Berkeley's arguments `admit of no answer but produce no conviction'. This book aims at the kind of understanding of Berkeley's philosophy that comes from seeing how we ourselves might be brought to embrace it. Berkeley held that matter does not exist, and that the sensations we take to be caused by an indifferent and independent world are instead caused directly by God. Nature becomes a text, with no existence apart from the spirits who transmit and receive (...) it. Kenneth P. Winkler presents these conclusions as natural consequences of Berkeley's reflections on such topics as representation, abstraction, necessary truth, and cause and effect. In the closing chapters Proefssor Winkler offers new interpretations of Berkeley's view on unperceived objects, corpuscularian science, and our knowledge of God and other minds. (shrink)
This collection of essays on themes in the work of John Locke , George Berkeley , and David Hume , provides a deepened understanding of major issues raised in the Empiricist tradition. In exploring their shared belief in the experiential nature of mental constructs, The Empiricists illuminates the different methodologies of these great Enlightenment philosophers and introduces students to important metaphysical and epistemological issues including the theory of ideas, personal identity, and skepticism. It will be especially useful in courses devoted (...) to the history of modern philosophy. (shrink)
There are three propositions that this author demonstrates in his argument: the contention that berkeley 's attack on abstract ideas is not made wholly compatible with his atomic sensationalism, that berkeley does not provide or employ a single definition or criterion for determining the limit of abstraction and that the doctrine of abstract ideas furnishes no real support to berkeley 's argument against the existence of material substance independent of perception.
Most of our histories of philosophy, in our books and especially in our courses, are what William James called “appreciative chronicle[s] of human master-strokes”. They resemble tours of grand and isolated monuments. Sarah Hutton’s magnificent British Philosophy in the Seventeenth Century is a different kind of history, in which masterpieces are placed in conversation with books that are now neglected or all but forgotten. By means of this “conversation model,” Hutton provides what she justly terms “a ‘thick description’ of seventeenth-century (...) culture, setting marginal and ‘major’ thinkers within [an]… integrated account of... (shrink)
Locke is what present-day aestheticians, critics, and historians call an intentionalist. He believes that when we interpret speech and writing, we aim—in large part and perhaps even for the most part—to recover the intentions, or intended meanings, of the speaker or writer. Berkeley and Hume shared Locke’s commitment to intentionalism, but it is a theme that recent philosophical interpreters of all three writers have left largely unexplored. In this paper I discuss the bearing of intentionalism on more familiar themes in (...) empiricist reflections on language, among them the signification of things (as opposed to ideas); the signifying role of whole propositions; and the possibility of reference to an “external” world. (shrink)
This essay reinterprets Berkeley’s idealism as partially motivated by a need to overcome the Agrippan mode of relativity pressed by Pyrrhonists. It compares Berkeley’s solution to that of Protagoras as presented in Plato’s Theaetetus, and argues that Berkeley needed to depend on reason — intuition or demonstration — to avoid skepticism. In this interpretation, Berkeley is closer to the rationalist tradition than usually recognized.
This paper relates the work of the great British empiricists – Locke, Berkeley, and Hume – to issues of multiculturalism. It is argued that these philosophers can help to provide us with some of the tools we need to craft an appropriate response to the diversity of cultures.
George Berkeley is one of the greatest and most influential modern philosophers. In defending the immaterialism for which he is most famous, he redirected modern thinking about the nature of objectivity and the mind's capacity to come to terms with it. Along the way, he made striking and influential proposals concerning the psychology of the senses, the workings of language, the aims of science, and the scope of mathematics. In this Companion volume a team of distinguished authors not only examines (...) Berkeley's achievements but also his neglected contributions to moral and political philosophy, his writings on economics and development, and his defense of religious commitment and religious life. The volume places Berkeley's achievements in the context of the many social and intellectual traditions - philosophical, scientific, ethical, and religious - to which he fashioned a distinctive response. (shrink)