Berkeley: a portrait

New Castle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press (2010)
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Abstract

Berkeley is popular in the philosophical tradition as the philosopher who denied the existence of matter in favor of spiritual substance. His esse est percipi thesis is understandably seen as a recipe for subjective idealism. While there is a point to this reading of Berkeley, it remains to be seen whether it does justice to the full significance of Berkeley’s philosophy. In Berkeley’s scholarship consequently the traditional understanding of Berkeley as a subjective idealist has been challenged by scholars such as Jessop and Ardley who argue that Berkeley is better understood as a common sense realist. In approaching Berkeley’s Immaterialism from the standpoint of the philosophical issues raised by the emergence of modern science, this book is a sympathetic reconstruction of Berkeley’s philosophy. The contention is that if approached in this manner, Berkeley’s opposition to philosophical materialism not only emerges as an attempt to overcome false abstractions but it also becomes possible to make sense of Berkeley’s claimed alliance with common sense in his battle against philosophical materialism. While the realist portrait of Berkeley that emerges from this exercise is not free of difficulties, it arguably offers us a fuller conspectus of Berkeley’s immaterialism.

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Damian Ilodigwe
Ss Peter And Paul Major Seminary, Ibadan

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