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Berkeley_slides - Berkeleys Idealism Stanford Encyclopedia...

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Berkeley’s Idealism
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Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Lisa Downing) (1) We perceive ordinary objects (houses, mountains, etc.). (2) We perceive only ideas. Therefore, (3) Ordinary objects are ideas.
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Idealism • Matter doesn’t exist, but the “external world” still does. All reality is mental, consisting only of minds and their ideas. • Ideas are passive, whereas minds are active. Every idea needs a mind to be “in”. They don’t exist independently, any more than pains can.
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• (It’s not like the brain-in-a-vat, where we’re radically deceived. Rather, Berkeley argues that this is in accordance with common sense, even more than Locke’s representational realism.) • For example, Berkeley thinks that tomatoes really are red.
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• In order for the external world to be suitably solid and objective, e.g. for objects to continue to exist even when no human is perceiving them, a super- perceiver (God) is required. • The need for God is an advantage of the theory, for (Bishop) Berkeley.
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God in the Quad by Ronald Knox There was a young man who said, "God Must think it exceedingly odd If he finds that this tree Continues to be When there's no one about in the Quad." REPLY Dear Sir: Your astonishment's odd: I am always about in the Quad. And that's why the tree Will continue to be, Since observed by Yours faithfully, GOD.
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Berkeley’s argument 1. “sensible things” = things that are perceived immediately by the senses. (i.e. with no intermediary, such as words) So “sensible things” are ideas. Note that Berkeley (Philonous) believes that the senses “make no inferences”.
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2. Sensible objects are combinations of sensible qualities. (Bundle theory of objects.) E.g. a snowball is the combination of whiteness, coldness, roundness, firmness, etc.
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3. The reality of sensible things consists in being perceived . The notion of a pain, for example, that isn’t felt by anyone, is silly. For sensible objects, esse est percipi (to be is to be perceived.
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4. Then Hylas asserts that real objects must exist independently, without any need to be perceived. Philonous responds with Lockean
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This note was uploaded on 11/30/2010 for the course PHIL 1101 taught by Professor Johns during the Fall '10 term at Langara.

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Berkeley_slides - Berkeleys Idealism Stanford Encyclopedia...

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