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Summary of Berkeley

by: Michelle Notetaker

Summary of Berkeley PHIL 3300

Michelle Notetaker
Theory of Knowledge
Michael Bradie

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About this Document

Berkeley reading. Mostly its a summary that is more clear with what he is saying.
Theory of Knowledge
Michael Bradie
Study Guide
50 ?




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Popular in PHIL-Philosophy

This 3 page Study Guide was uploaded by Michelle Notetaker on Wednesday September 9, 2015. The Study Guide belongs to PHIL 3300 at Bowling Green State University taught by Michael Bradie in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 60 views. For similar materials see Theory of Knowledge in PHIL-Philosophy at Bowling Green State University.


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Date Created: 09/09/15
George Berkeley Of the Principles of Human Knowledge 2 Berkeley began his treatise by asserting that existence is the state of being perceived by a perceiver Human minds know ideas not objects The three kinds of ideas are those of sensation thought and imagination Ideas are known and perceived by a knowing perceiver and the names mind spirit soul or you designate this active perceiver Ideas exist by virtue of perceiving and the existence of an idea consists in being perceived If an object exists or is perceived I or some other perceiver must perceive it It is impossible to separate the being of a sensible thing from its existence as a perception of a perceiver 3 How far the assent of the vulgar conceded Without the thoughts in our mind imagination and ideas would not exist However blended or combined together that is whatever objects they compose cannot exist otherwise than in a mind perceiving them The table I write on exists I see and feel it and if I were out of my study I should say it existed There was a sound that is it was heard a color or figure and it were perceived by sight or touch Esse est percipiquot quotto be is to be perceivedquot is the existence of an idea cannot be separated from its being perceived If an idea or object is not perceived then it does not exist 4 If one takes 39sensible objects39 as ideas of sense and ideas are objects of knowledge then having a real existence distinct from being perceived would require that an object be known as an idea and unknown as a thing distinct from being perceived which is inconsistent 5 Drawing a distinction between knowing that there is a mind and knowing what a mind is One might know directly that one has a mind but one can know what a mind is only relative to ideas a mind is that which causes or perceives ideas This is a relative understanding of the mind as knower and ideas as the known is already found in the opening sections of the Principles and perceiving 6 The world consists of nothing but minds and ideas Ordinary objects are collections of ideas and he argued that one learns to coordinate ideas of sight and touch to judge distance magnitude and figure properties which are immediately perceived only by touch The ideas of one sense become signs of ideas of the other senses 7 Berkeley explains that spirit is not itself an idea but that it perceives and produces ideas Spirit is not itself perceived but the ideas or effects produced by spirit are perceived Thus in order for an idea to exist there must be a mind or spirit capable of producing or perceiving it Nothing can exist without a perceiving mind or spirit 8 Berkeley explains that spirit is not itself an idea but that it perceives and produces ideas Spirit is not itself perceived but the ideas or effects produced by spirit are perceived Thus in order for an idea to exist there must be a mind or spirit capable of producing or perceiving it Nothing can exist without a perceiving mind or spirit 9 Berkeley also explains that spirit is not known by sensory perception but that its existence can be known by mental perception Perceiving beings can perceive the presence of each other 10 Human beings can perceive the existence of God The spirit of human beings is finite but the spirit of God is infinite 11 Berkeley also argues that our own existence as perceiving beings depends on God He maintains that everything that exists is perceived in the mind of God 12 Berkeley contends that in order for anything to exist it must be capable of being perceived He argues that this does not make the world less real Indeed he contends that our ideas of the world are real but that the world cannot be proved to have an external reality and that if we approach the world in this way then we may be able to define valid principles of human knowledge 13 According to Berkeley there are two kinds of knowledge One being knowledge of ideas and the other is knowledge of spirit If everything that exists is either perceived or is able to perceive then these two kinds of knowledge may help us to determine what does exist or does not exist 14 Berkeley also explains that if we attribute to an object an existence distinct from the state of its being perceived then we cannot know whether or not that object really exists However if we direct our attention instead to what we can be perceived of that object then we can attain true knowledge of the nature of its reality 17 If we inquire into what the most accurate philosophers declare themselves to mean by material substance we shall find them acknowledge they have no other meaning annexed to those sounds but the idea of being in general 19 The existence of external bodies affords no explication of the matter in which our ideas are produced We give the materialists their external bodies by their own confession are never the nearer knowing how our ideas are produced 20 If there were external bodies it is impossible we should ever come to know it If there were not we might have the very same reasons to think there were that we have now 21 Further proof against the existence of matter after what has been said Arguments a posteriori are unnecessary for confirming what has been ifI mistake not sufficiently demonstrated a priori because I shall henceforth find occasion to speak somewhat of them 26 We perceive a continual succession of ideas some are newly excited and others are changed or totally disappear There is some cause of these ideas and which produces and changes them This cause cannot be any quality or idea or combination of ideas is clear from the preceding section Therefore there must be a substance but it has been shown that there is no material substance It remains therefore that the cause of ideas is an incorporeal active substance or Spirit 27 A spirit is one simple undivided active being as it perceives ideas it is called understanding As it produces or otherwise operates about them it is called the will Such is the nature of spirit or that which acts that it cannot be of itself perceived but only by the effect that it produces 30 The ideas of sense are more strong lively and distinct than those of the imagination They have likewise a steadiness order and coherence and are not excited at random as those which are the effects of human wills often are but in a regular train or series the admirable connection where sufficiently testifies the wisdom and benevolence of its Author We learn these by experience which teaches us that such ideas are attended with such and such other ideas in the ordinary course of things 31 This gives us a sort of foresight which enables us to regulate our actions for the benefit of life That food nourishes sleep refreshes and fire warms us All this we know but only by the observation of the settled laws of nature without which we should be all in uncertainty and confusion and a grown man no more know how to manage himself in the affairs of life than an infant just born 32 The consistent uniform working which so evidently displays the goodness and wisdom of that Governing Spirit whose will constitutes the laws of nature is so far from leading our thoughts to Him that it rather sends them wandering after second causes 33 The ideas imprinted on the Senses by the Author of nature are called real things The ideas of Sense are allowed to have more reality in them that is to be more 1 strong 2 orderly and 3 coherent than the creatures of the mind But this is no argument that they exist without the mind 34 We must now answer any objections Everyone does not equally apprehend things of this nature and in order to be understood by every one we must discuss


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