The Empiricists: Berkeley Immaterialism

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The Empiricists: Berkeley Immaterialism. 1. Introduction: Berkeley, The Dialogues. Outline. 2. Esse est percipi vs. Representationalism. 3. Against Representationalism. 4. Against the material substance. 5. Conclusion. Introduction Berkeley. Berkeley’s life : 1685 – 1753 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of The Empiricists: Berkeley Immaterialism

  • *The Empiricists: BerkeleyImmaterialismSoazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    Outline

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana1. Introduction: Berkeley, The Dialogues2. Esse est percipi vs. Representationalism3. Against Representationalism4. Against the material substance5. Conclusion

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    IntroductionBerkeley

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of MontanaBerkeleys life: 1685 1753 Irish, Trinity College, Anglican priest, Travel (Europe and US), Bishop of CloyneMain works: The Principles and the Dialogues De Motu, Theory of Vision

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    IntroductionBerkeleys philosophy

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of MontanaThe Dialogues: Characters: Hylas and Philonous Rules and advantages of dialogues in philosophy Berkeleys philosophy Religion Against speculative philosophy and skepticism Empiricism and Common Sense Immaterialism and Idealism

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    Outline

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana1. Introduction: Berkeley, The Dialogues2. Esse est percipi vs. Representationalism3. Against Representationalism4. Against the material substance5. Conclusion

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    Esse est percipi vs RepresentationalismEsse est percipi

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana The only way things exist is in so far as they are perceived. To be is to be perceived Berkeleys argument:

    P1 Ordinary objects exist, and only ordinary objects exist

    P2 Ordinary objects = sensible things = what we perceive through the senses = combinations of sensible qualities

    CC: Only combinations of sensible qualities exist.

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    Esse est percipi vs RepresentationalismThe Representationalist objection

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana Not only sensations and ideas, but also external objects exist, as mind-independent beings.Question about P2: Do we perceive only combination of sensible qualities? Representationalism: Direct perception of sensible qualities mind dependent Indirect perception of external objects mind independentCore of the view: Distinction Primary vs Secondary qualities

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    Outline

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana1. Introduction: Berkeley, The Dialogues2. Esse est percipi vs. Representationalism3. Against Representationalism4. Against the material substance5. Conclusion

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    Against Representationalism1st Objection: Pleasure and Pain

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana Secondary qualities do not belong to external objects and exist within the mind only.The objection: (cf. Locke!)

    P1 Heat and Pain perceived at the same time, the same way

    P2 Either both belong to external objects, or both exist only in the mind

    P3: Pain does not belong to external objects

    CC: Heat does not belong to external objects

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    Against Representationalism2nd Objection: Unobservable Causes

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana One cannot be empiricist and representationnalist at the same time!The objection:

    P1 Empiricism: all knowledge comes from experience, we cannot postulate the existence of unobservable entities

    P2 Representationalism: postulates unobservable causes for our sensations -Example of the real sound that is never heard

    CC: Representationalism conflicts with empiricism

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    Against Representationalism3nd Objection: Relativity

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana The distinction between primary and secondary qualities is undermined!The objection:

    Relativity of secondary qualities taste Which one is the true one?

    Relativity of primary qualities extension Which one is the true one?

    CC: All qualities, primary and secondary are but sensations in our minds

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    Against RepresentationalismConclusion

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of MontanaBerkeley has shown that: Representationalism is conflicting with empiricism and common senseThe pillar of representationalism, i.e. the distinction between primary and secondary qualities, is problematicBoth primary and secondary qualities exist only in our minds

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    Outline

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana1. Introduction: Berkeley, The Dialogues2. Esse est percipi vs. Representationalism3. Against Representationalism4. Against the material substance5. Conclusion

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    The Material SubstanceHylas retreats

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana Metaphysical postulation of a material, mind-independent substratum.Material substance: unknown, unobservable, unconceived (mind-independent) material substance Material substance: cause of our sensations

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    An Unconceived Material Substance1st Objection: The Master Argument

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana The notion of an unconceived material substance conflicts with EmpiricismHylas retreat: unknown, unobservable, unconceived (mind-independent) material substance The Master argument:We cannot conceive of an unconceived thing. Evaluating the Master argument: Representans vs representatum Empiricism

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    An Unconceived Material Substance2nd Objection: The Likeness Argument

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana The notion of an unconceived material substance conflicts with representationalism.The Likeness argument:P1: Representationalism: ideas resemble the things they representP2: Likeness Principle: Ideas cannot resemble anything but other ideasCC: The idea of an unconceived material substance is a contradictory notionHylas retreat: unknown, unobservable, unconceived (mind-independent) material substance

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    The Material Substance as a Cause1st Objection: Matter cause of Thought?

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana Matter cannot cause thoughtsThe objection:

    P1 Matter = extended, solid, moveable, unthinking substanceP2 Thought = unextended, not solid, not moveable, thinking substance Causal process?

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    The Material Substance as a Cause2nd Objection: Can Matter cause anything?

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana Contradictory notion of an inactive entity being the origin of causal processes.The objection:

    P1 Matter = inert

    P2 To be a cause takes to be active

    CC : inert matter cannot cause anything at all

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    The Material SubstanceConclusion

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of MontanaBerkeley has shown that postulation the existence of a unknown material substance: is conflicting with empiricism and common senseleads to conceptual problemsdoes not have any explanatory power

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    Outline

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana1. Introduction: Berkeley, The Dialogues2. Esse est percipi vs. Representationalism3. Against Representationalism4. Against the material substance5. Conclusion

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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    Berkeleys ImmaterialismConclusion

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of MontanaBerkeley has argued against the existence of absolute, mind-independent beings: Epistemology: representationalism Metaphysics: material substance

    It remains to see how we can do without it!

    Soazig Le Bihan - University of Montana

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