This article argues that George Berkeley’s (1685–1753) interpretation of scientific and religious language was significantly received in C.S. Peirce’s (1839–1914) pragmatist semiotic.1 To this end, their similar views against transubstantiation in the Eucharist (Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion) will be considered. Berkeley being an Anglican bishop and Peirce’s life being linked to the Episcopal Church,2 a chief emphasis will be placed upon Peirce’s deriving his pragmatic method from Berkeley’s philosophy of language. At least three times, Peirce reviewed Berkeley’s works, including Manuscript (...) Introduction (to the Principles of Human Knowledge, 1710), in which he identified his version of Berkeleyan nom- inalism. (shrink)
Berkeley’s social and political writings play an important role in his philosophy although, surprisingly, has been little studied by scholars. This lack of scholarly attention is a deficiency because such writings are not only interesting, but even more essential for understanding Berkeley’s philosophy as a whole, since point toward the same goal that his epistemological and metaphysical writings serves, namely, consolidate his apologetic and humanist project. This paper focuses on that forgotten part of Berkeley’s philosophy and aims to explore a (...) little researched topic but recurrent in his social and political writings, namely, that of the Civil Authority and the Secular State. (shrink)
En este trabajo realizo un examen crítico del reciente libro de Silvana Gabriela Di Camillo sobre la crítica de Aristóteles a la teoría platónica de las Ideas. El libro de Di Camillo es un trabajo muy serio cuya lectura recomiendo ampliamente. Sin embargo, considero que cuatro de las principales tesis que la autora defiende tienen varias dificultades y mi objetivo aquí es presentar argumentos detallados en contra de ellas: la interpretación de la distinción entre argumentos más y menos rigurosos del (...) tratado Sobre las Ideas; la tesis de que la separación es el blanco esencial de las críticas aristotélicas a las Ideas; la interpretación de las opciones que Platón tiene para responder al argumento del tercer hombre, y la tesis de que la separación de las Ideas debe entenderse como homonimia. In this paper I examine Silvana Gabriela Di Camillo's recent book on Aristotle's criticisms of Plato's theory of Ideas. Di Camillo's book is a very serious work that I highly recommend. Nevertheless, I consider that four of the main theses that the author defends face several difficulties and my aim here is to offer detailed arguments against them: the interpretation of the distinction between more and less accurate arguments of the treatise On Ideas; the thesis that separation is the essential target of Aristotle's criticisms against Plato's Ideas; the interpretation of the options available to Plato to reply to the third man argument; and the thesis that the separation of Ideas should be understood as homonymy. (shrink)
In this essay, the author analyses Berkeleys conformity and inference argument against Lockes theory of percep tion. Both arguments are not as decisive as traditionally has been perceived and fail to engage in Lockes actual position. The main reason for this is that Berkeley does not see that Lockes position is compatible with the non-inferential nature of perceptual knowledge.
Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
In the early 1730s George Berkeley began to explore the conceptual field between ideas and spirits that he previously claimed to be empty. In this field he found a rich set of concepts including “notions,” “principles,” “beliefs,” “opinions,” and even “prejudices.” Elsewhere I have referred to this phase in Berkeley’s thought as his “second conceptual revolution.”2 I believe that it was motivated by his increasing need to develop a language to discuss the social, moral and theological concerns vital to him (...) and his circle. This second conceptual revolution made possible two of his most important contributions to 18th century thought: The Analyst and The Querist. Even though they were written almost simultaneously, these texts are rarely discussed together, since the former is categorized as a critique of the foundations of the calculus, while the latter is taken a tract advocating the development of a specie-less economy in Ireland. Using new textual and contextual evidence, however, I will show with that these two texts have a common basis in Berkeley’s second conceptual revolution, in that the rejection of intrinsic values and the revaluation of notions, principles, and prejudices are crucial to the critique of both Newtonian mathematics in The Analystand Newtonian monetary theory and policy in The Querist. Specifically, I will argue that Berkeley’s famous demonstration of the absurdities of Newton’s method of fluxions devalued geometric reasoning and gave a new pride of place to algebraic reasoning. On the basis of this revaluation in mathematics, Berkeley more confidently undermined the concept of intrinsic monetary value and suggested the development of a monetary system based on “tickets, tokens and counters”. The issues posed by the transition from a specie-based to a specie-less currency were clearly some of the most important and controversial in the Age of Enlightenment. Berkeley’s contributions to understanding the significance and feasibility of such atransition and its benefits for Ireland certainly add support the claim that he was “the most engaging and useful man in Ireland in the eighteenth century.”. (shrink)
A reavaliação das contribuições de Berkeley à história do pensamento econômico tem-se concentrado em três questões: sua discordância com as idéias mercantilistas, as precoces contribuições à teoria do desenvolvimento e as posições de vanguarda em economia monetária. Neste último campo, Berkeley é tanto visto como o sucessor de Locke quanto como um pioneiro defensor de um padrão monetário não metálico. O artigo revisa as principais idéias econômicas de Berkeley e busca efetuar um balanço de suas contribuições aos diversos campos da (...) economia, em particular à economia monetária. Por meio de comparações com Locke e Hume, dá-se ênfase ao papel do moralista e ao peso dos argumentos morais na visão econômica de Berkeley. (shrink)
Well chosen selections from the works of idealists from Berkeley to Blanshard. Four critical articles--including Moore's "refutation of Idealism"--give the other side of the story. Ewing contributes a balanced and illuminating introduction.--A. C. P.
Sir Thomas Berkeley has scarcely more than a liminal status among literary scholars and historians, even those who study fourteenth-century England. We may rather dimly remember him as an aristocratic spear carrier in Shakespeare's Richard II, a reflection of real activities known to historians. Or we may recall that he sponsored an extraordinarily prolific and important translator, the Cornishman John Trevisa.
Idealism, which gradually dominated nineteenth century philosophy through its insistence upon the superiority of spiritual values above material forces and its sophisticated objections against the immediate instinct of common-sense realism in knowledge, is moribund to-day and difficult to render intelligible to to-day’s down-to-earth student. Yet its problems still constitute a capital part of epistemology, in whose courses it is often presented in a summary and harsh light. Histories of philosophy are not large enough normally to follow systematically one line of (...) development of thought without distraction and tend naturally, like textbooks of epistemology, to aim at topical discussion. Hence a systematic presentation of texts illustrating the movement of Idealist thought from Bishop Berkeley to the contemporary Professor Brand Blanshard is a very practical aid to the epistemological novice, ordering the confusion of his scattered ideas and clarifying a set of influential principles, which have still an important, if indirect influence upon professional philosophizing. Dr. Ewing states its relation to the current English scene thus. (shrink)
No Tratado, Hume procura investigar as causas da crença nos objetos exteriores, admitindo ser impossível provar se os mesmos existem ou náo. Sua análise consistirá na investigaçáo da origem da inteligibilidade das noções de continuidade e distinçáo dos objetos sensíveis, em última instância, a crença do senso comum na continuidade e distinçáo das próprias percepções. Este texto pretende mostrar como essa discussáo humeana é um diálogo direto com a filosofia berkeleyana, a defesa humeana da crença na matéria implicando inicialmente uma (...) certa aceitaçáo da filosofia de Berkeley, para, na seqüência, representar uma dissensáo direta com o seu princípio fundamental: ser é ser percebido . Tais colocações têm, entre outras, a finalidade de argumentar que Berkeley exerce um papel central na filosofia humeana, nesse caso como seu interlocutor direto, e que a compreensáo desse papel é parte obrigatória de um melhor esclarecimento do problema da objetividade em Hume. (shrink)
This has been a great century for logic and the foundations of mathematics. Ewald's excellent sourcebook is a welcome addition to the literature on the exciting developments of this and the past two centuries. The richness of the material on which Ewald is drawing is shown by the fact that he has assembled a broad and representative selection without once duplicating anything to be found in the famous sourcebooks of van Heijenoort and Benacerraf/Putnam.
Stephen H. Daniel’s monograph offers a novel interpretation of Berkeley’s philosophy of mind while situating Berkeley’s thought within the context of early eighteenth-century epistemology and metaphysics. The text is commendable for its attempt to shed light on Berkeley’s engagement with thinkers and traditions that tend to fall outside the canon of early modern philosophy and its attempt to place Berkeley’s lesser-known works, such as De Motu and Siris, on a par with his best-known texts. Daniel’s approach to historical interpretation is (...) strongly contextualist and fits well with recent attempts to read... (shrink)
This book presents an interpretation of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason as a priori psychologism. It groups Kant's philosophy together with those of the British empiricists--Locke, Berkeley, and Hume--in a single line of psychologistic succession and offers a clear explanation of how Kant's psychologism differs from psychology and idealism. The book reconciles Kant's philosophy with subsequent developments in science and mathematics, including post-Fregean mathematical logic, non-Euclidean geometry, and both relativity and quantum theory. Finally, the author reveals the ways in which (...) Kant's philosophy dovetails with contemporary scientific theorizing about the natural phenomenon of consciousness and its place in nature. This book will be of interest to Kant scholars and historians of philosophy working on the British empiricists. (shrink)
In the Essay Locke argues abstract ideas within the framework of the descriptivist theory of reference. For him, abstract ideas are, in many cases, conceptual ideas that play the role of “descriptions” or “descriptive contents,” determining general terms’ referents. In contrast, in the introduction of the Principles, Berkeley denies Lockean abstract ideas adamantly from an imagistic point of view, and he offers his own theory of reference seemingly consisting of referring expressions and their referents alone. However, interestingly, he mentions a (...) general term’s “definition” and suggests that it determines the scope of the term’s referents. For example, he takes up the definition of a triangle as “a plain Surface comprehended by three right Lines” and suggests that just as Locke’s general idea of a triangle does, the definition determines the referents of the general term “triangle.” His definition reminds us of the fact that as Descartes grasps the content of the general idea of a triangle as “a figure enclosed by three lines,” so Locke grasps the abstract idea of a triangle as “a Figure including a Space between three Lines,” and so on. That is, since Berkeley is an imagist, he does not acknowledge Locke’s conceptual abstract ideas as “ideas,” but although he verbally denies “abstract ideas,” his theory of reference also actually has the same descriptivist framework consisting of referring expressions, their descriptive contents, and their referents. Thus, we understand the real reason why Berkeley’s criticism of Locke seems beside the point. (shrink)
It may come as a surprise to those familiar with Berkeley scholarship, but Steve Daniel’s excellent George Berkeley and Early Modern Philosophy is his first monograph on a philosopher on which he has published extensively over the last two decades. Drawing from this body of work Daniel takes his reader through 18 chapters which cover a variety of issues, ranging from representation (Ch. 4) and free will (Ch. 10) to various aspects of Berkeley’s theism (Ch. 9, 14–17) and authors including (...) Hobbes (Ch. 6), Leibniz (Ch. 13), and Spinoza (Ch. 8). (shrink)
For more than 200 years scholars have proceeded on the assumption that there was a controversy (in the sense of an argumentative exchange) between the bishop of Cork and Ross, Peter Browne (c. 1665–1735), and his nowadays more famous contemporary, the bishop of Cloyne, George Berkeley (1685–1753) about what we might call ‘the problem of divine attributes’. This problem concerns one of the most vexing issues for 17th /18th century Irish intellectuals. Simply put, it turns on two interconnected questions, namely (...) (1) an ontological question regarding God’s attributes and (2) a semantical question regarding the proper conception of analogy: -/- (1) Do God’s attributes only differ in degree or also in kind from their human counterparts? -/- (2) Is “analogical attribution” only concerned with the structure or the modus of the attribution? That is, is it a separate mode of speech (apart from the metaphorical and literal) or does it just mean we have to use analogies for our divine attributions? -/- In regard to the first question Berkeley argues the attributes of God and humans only differ in degree but not in kind (Alc. 4.22). Browne, on the other hand, is convinced that human and divine attributes differ in kind: “What Knowledge and Goodness are in the Nature of Man, that some inconceivable but correspondent Perfections are in the Nature of God […] which tho’ totally different in Kind from those Properties in us bearing the same Name” (Procedure, 138). Furthermore, Berkeley rejects the notion that analogical attribution is a separate mode of speech in addition to the literal and the metaphorical. Rather, it is an attribution made in the form of an analogy in which the words can be used literally or metaphorically (Alc. 4.21). By contrast, Browne repeatedly insists analogical attribution is more than just using analogies for attributing something to God. He thinks it is a separate mode of speech that ought to be distinguished from literal and metaphorical language (Procedure, 12, 23–29, 123–46). -/- Hence, there can be no doubt that Browne and Berkeley advance conflicting solutions to the problem of divine attributes. Yet, advancing disagreeing positions is not the same as having a (heated) argumentative exchange, i.e., a controversy. In contrast to the controversy-reading, I will defend the following view: Browne surely felt attacked by Berkeley’s elaborations in Alciphron (1732) and reacted to them in his Divine Analogy (1732/3). However, there was no argumentative exchange because Browne’s Procedure (1728) had virtually no influence on Berkeley when he was writing Alciphron. Furthermore, the available evidence suggests that Berkeley was indifferent to the (elaborate) criticisms of Alciphron found in Browne’s Divine Analogy. Thus, while the two bishops have differing positions and Browne reacted to Berkeley there is no reaction on Berkeley’s part and hence there is no argumentative exchange between the two at all, which is why their differing opinions are best described as such and not as a controversy. (shrink)
This book is a study of the philosophy of the early 18th century Irish philosopher George Berkeley in the intellectual context of his times, with a particular focus on how, for Berkeley, mind is related to its ideas. It does not assume that thinkers like Descartes, Malebranche, or Locke define for Berkeley the context in which he develops his own thought. Instead, he indicates how Berkeley draws on a tradition that informed his early training and that challenges much of the (...) early modern thought with which he is often associated. Specifically, the book indicates how Berkeley's distinctive treatment of mind (as the activity whereby objects are differentiated and related to one another) highlights how mind neither precedes the existence of objects nor exists independently of them. This distinctive way of understanding the relation of mind and objects allows Berkeley to appropriate ideas from his contemporaries in a manner that transforms the issues with which he is engaged. The resulting insights--for example, about how God creates the minds that perceive objects--are only now starting to be fully appreciated. (shrink)