Berkeley believes materialism leads to skepticism because materialism implies that our senses
mislead us as to the natures of these material things.
Berkeley’s physical objects= ordinary things like chairs, cars, boats. Matter is a philosopher’s
myth, a mind-independent thing is something whose existence is not dependent on
thinking/perceiving things, and thus would exist whether or not any thinking things (minds)
existed. Berkeley holds that there are no such mind-independent things, that, in the famous
esse est percipi (aut percipere)
— to be is to be perceived (or to perceive).
When we talk about a physical object (e.g. a chair) we are talking about something that is (say)
brown, hard and cold.
These are properties that only ideas (= conscious experiences)
So in talking about physical objects we are talking about collections of ideas.
Against Locke- Only ideas can resemble ideas.
Locke states that There is no such thing as just
plain dog in the world; there is only Rex, Rover, Spike, Fido, and so on. So, Locke asked, how
do we get our ideas like "dog", "cat" and "flower"? His answer is that we arrive at these general
ideas by abstracting away from the particular ideas. For instance, to return to our example of
dogs: from my contact with Rex, Rover, Fido, and Spike I receive the ideas "Rex", "Rover",
"Fido", and "Spike". Now I can take these ideas of particular dogs and focus on what is similar in
all of them: the tail, the shape, the bark, the fur, etc. I then abstract away these similar features
from all of the particularizing differences and arrive at an abstract general idea of dog. I can do
the same thing for "cat", "man", "hat", and anything else.
Problem of unperceived objects- to be is to be perceived. What happens when I leave my room
and am not perceiving the objects in my room, do they cease to exist since nobody is perceiving
We don’t really think there are unperceived objects, since as soon as we think about such an
object, we have an idea of it.
A new argument for the existence of God.
It has already been argued that physical objects are made up of ideas.
We are confident that physical objects exist when no human (or animal) mind is perceiving them.
So we should be equally confident that some other mind is perceiving them:
If berkeley’s view is right then this is a good argument
15. I don’t think he will ask this
An argument is valid if it is impossible for its premises to be true while its conclusion is false. An
argument can be valid even though the premises are false.
Everyone who eats pizza is a guitarist
Rob eats pizza
Therefore Rob is a guitarist
An argument is
if it is valid and the premises are true.