New User Special Price Expires in

Let's log you in.

Sign in with Facebook


Don't have a StudySoup account? Create one here!


Create a StudySoup account

Be part of our community, it's free to join!

Sign up with Facebook


Create your account
By creating an account you agree to StudySoup's terms and conditions and privacy policy

Already have a StudySoup account? Login here

Introduction to Philosophy, Weeks 7 and 8: British Empiricists

by: Andres Calvo

Introduction to Philosophy, Weeks 7 and 8: British Empiricists Phi 2010

Marketplace > Florida International University > Phi 2010 > Introduction to Philosophy Weeks 7 and 8 British Empiricists
Andres Calvo

Preview These Notes for FREE

Get a free preview of these Notes, just enter your email below.

Unlock Preview
Unlock Preview

Preview these materials now for free

Why put in your email? Get access to more of this material and other relevant free materials for your school

View Preview

About this Document

PHI 2010 10/3/16-10/14/16 This set of notes covers two weeks of material, from George Berkeley's Theory of Idealism, to David Hume's Problem of Induction, to Immanuel Kant's Active Mind Theory.
Intro Into Philosophy
Kenton Harris
Class Notes
25 ?




Popular in Intro Into Philosophy

Popular in Department

This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Andres Calvo on Sunday October 16, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Phi 2010 at Florida International University taught by Kenton Harris in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views.


Reviews for Introduction to Philosophy, Weeks 7 and 8: British Empiricists


Report this Material


What is Karma?


Karma is the currency of StudySoup.

You can buy or earn more Karma at anytime and redeem it for class notes, study guides, flashcards, and more!

Date Created: 10/16/16
George Berkeley’s Theory of Idealism ● George Berkeley largely agrees with John Locke and the school of Empiricism, but he still finds some point of contention with John Locke’s argument that made it stray from the original meaning of empiricism. ● Berkeley’s criticism of Locke: ○ The distinction between primary and secondary properties - Locke claimed that changing the shape of an object made it a different object because its primary property was changed. However, Berkeley contends that this is irrelevant because the angle of viewing can be changed, but this does not affect what the object is. Looking at a shape from a different perspective (a literal different perspective) does not change what shape it is. ■ If one disputes that changing the viewing angle does not change the real shape of the object, that means we have not experience the real shape of the object, so according to the basis of empiricism, the object does not exist. ■ Berkeley also claims Locke is wrong to say that shape is observed visually and tactilely; Berkeley says visual shape is different from tactile (touch) shape and the two are associated together through experience. ■ Thus, since all of Locke’s tests of primary properties can be refuted, primary properties do not exist. ● However, if all properties are secondary properties, there is no way to perceive true physical substance, leading Berkeley to disprove Locke’s theory of physical substance. ○ Notion of physical substance - Berkeley claims Locke’s theory of physical substance cannot stand, because Locke himself says we do not directly experience the physical world. Even if our senses are overwhelmed by information and experience, we do not come in contact with the physical object, so the concept of physical substance is just that: a concept ​inferred by Locke. ■ If sensory experiences interact with the mind to create concepts of things, then there arises a conflict with the theory of dualism, because there must be a​ n explanation for what c​ auses the interaction between the mind and body. ■ Physical substance has no practical purpose because it explains what things are made of, but not what makes things work. The argument is completely useless. ○ Causal theory of perception - it is irrational for Locke to say that mysterious objects cannot be understood by us because we cannot explain their properties, nor can we understand how these mysterious objects cause those ideas in our minds. ● Berkeley thus advocates monist idealism, which says that the only things that exist are ideas and the mind which perceives and creates these ideas. ○ He breaks from dualism in favor of monism, which instead says that there exists only one plane of reality instead of both the mind and body. ○ Since all properties are dependent on mental perception, then to exist is to ​ be perceived (​esse est percipi). ○ If only our ideas exist and there is no mysterious physical substance to account for, the world is perfectly knowable and understandable. ● However, the world still exists even when it is not perceived, making Berkeley’s theory less viable. ○ Example: if you leave your phone in another room for two days, you will come back to find its battery drained even though you didn’t observe the phone die. ○ Berkeley’s explanation for this is that there must be some infinite mind that continues to perceive the world at all times even in the absence of a finite (human) mind - God (because when is it not about God in this class). ■ A true empiricist, according to him, will accept his hypothesis of God existing rather than accepting Locke’s corrupt theory of physical substance, for reasons Berkeley previously debunked. David Hume’s Problem of Induction ● Hume, like the others, is an empiricist, but like Berkeley refuted Locke, Hume refutes Berkeley and says his explanation of empiricism does not go far enough. ● While Berkeley attacked Locke for perceiving physical substance, Hume attacks ​ Berkeley because mental experience and ideas a ​ lso have to be perceived. ○ If there is no perception, as Berkeley would say, then according to Hume, there is also no mental perception either, and thus there is nothing and one does not exist. ○ All one can see when they look inward and introspectively is perceptions; there is no unchanging, enduring self. ● Hume thus advocates phenomenalism, which is the view that the only things that exist are experiences and ideas of phenomena. ○ Review of all metaphysical positions: ■ Substance dualism: both mind and body exist ■ Substance monism ● Monist materialism or physicalism: only the physical exists ● Monist idealism: only ideas/the mind exist (Berkeley) ● Hume and ideas vs. impressions ○ The mind calls forth ideas because we must voluntarily think of them for them to exist in the mind, while impressions overwhelm our senses outside of our control and we do not need to conjure up these impressions from our mind. (Example: thinking of the taste of ice cream vs. actually tasting ice cream) ○ Like Locke, Hume posits that there are simple and complex ideas, but these ideas are caused by simple and complex impressions that come to us through our senses. ■ This theory of ideas inspires reductionism, which is the explanation of beliefs and knowledge by breaking up complex ideas into simple ideas and tracing the simple impressions which caused those simple ideas. ● Hume’s Fork: suggests that statements only come in two types: ​ ○ Relations of ideas: these are a ​ priori definitional, analytical statements about our ideas and perceptions rather than concrete things. ■ They are insignificant, trivial statements that do not increase our knowledge because they are obvious or already understood by concept -- with the exception of math and geometry. ​ ○ Matters of fact: these are ​empirical synthetic statements that can only be proven true through experience. Matter-of-fact statements cannot be ​ based on a​ priori knowledge. ■ They are somewhat scientific, more significant statements that relations of ideas, and they are augmentative because they increase our knowledge. ● Metaphysical theories, however, cannot be proven through Hume’s means or through everyday means like sensory experience, making them dubious and no longer matter of fact. Hume’s argument does not account for metaphysics, making it a subtle attack on other metaphysical theories. ○ By their very nature, metaphysical theories are, by definition, beyond everyday experience. These theories are not provable through experience or sensory observation.” ● In conclusion, non-mathematical, non-scientific observation and postulation is “sophistry and illusion,” making it empty and meaningless. ● Hume, through his attack on metaphysics, inadvertently attacks causality, induction, and the external world. ○ Hume calls causality the “strongest connection” between everything in the world. He claims there is a universal causation: everything has a cause. This is called the Principle of Universal Causation (or Determinism). ■ The Principle of Universal Causation is a necessary assumption for science, medicine, and just about everything to work. Universal causation is presupposed within everyone; one cannot imagine something happening without a cause. ■ He refutes this by postulating that for something to be necessarily true, it must have a logical contradiction. Thus, since the necessity of causation cannot be logically contradicted, then universal causation cannot be true based on the relation of ideas. ■ Our belief in universal causation also cannot be grounded in matter of fact ideas because even though two events constantly appear in conjunction (something seems to cause something else) it does not necessarily mean that one causes the other. ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​


Buy Material

Are you sure you want to buy this material for

25 Karma

Buy Material

BOOM! Enjoy Your Free Notes!

We've added these Notes to your profile, click here to view them now.


You're already Subscribed!

Looks like you've already subscribed to StudySoup, you won't need to purchase another subscription to get this material. To access this material simply click 'View Full Document'

Why people love StudySoup

Steve Martinelli UC Los Angeles

"There's no way I would have passed my Organic Chemistry class this semester without the notes and study guides I got from StudySoup."

Janice Dongeun University of Washington

"I used the money I made selling my notes & study guides to pay for spring break in Olympia, Washington...which was Sweet!"

Steve Martinelli UC Los Angeles

"There's no way I would have passed my Organic Chemistry class this semester without the notes and study guides I got from StudySoup."


"Their 'Elite Notetakers' are making over $1,200/month in sales by creating high quality content that helps their classmates in a time of need."

Become an Elite Notetaker and start selling your notes online!

Refund Policy


All subscriptions to StudySoup are paid in full at the time of subscribing. To change your credit card information or to cancel your subscription, go to "Edit Settings". All credit card information will be available there. If you should decide to cancel your subscription, it will continue to be valid until the next payment period, as all payments for the current period were made in advance. For special circumstances, please email


StudySoup has more than 1 million course-specific study resources to help students study smarter. If you’re having trouble finding what you’re looking for, our customer support team can help you find what you need! Feel free to contact them here:

Recurring Subscriptions: If you have canceled your recurring subscription on the day of renewal and have not downloaded any documents, you may request a refund by submitting an email to

Satisfaction Guarantee: If you’re not satisfied with your subscription, you can contact us for further help. Contact must be made within 3 business days of your subscription purchase and your refund request will be subject for review.

Please Note: Refunds can never be provided more than 30 days after the initial purchase date regardless of your activity on the site.