Berkeleys Argument for Idealism

Hardcover | February 17, 2013

bySamuel C. Rickless

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Samuel C. Rickless presents a novel interpretation of the thought of George Berkeley. In A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710) and Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous (1713), Berkeley argues for the astonishing view that physical objects (such as tables andchairs) are nothing but collections of ideas (idealism); that there is no such thing as material substance (immaterialism); that abstract ideas are impossible (anti-abstractionism); and that an idea can be like nothing but an idea (the likeness principle). It is a matter of great controversy what Berkeley's argument for idealism is and whether it succeeds. Most scholars believe that the argument is based on immaterialism, anti-abstractionism, or the likeness principle. In Berkeley's Argument for Idealism, Rickless argues that Berkeley distinguishesbetween two kinds of abstraction, 'singling' abstraction and 'generalizing' abstraction; that his argument for idealism depends on the impossibility of singling abstraction but not on the impossibility of generalizing abstraction; and that the argument depends neither on immaterialism nor thelikeness principle. According to Rickless, the heart of the argument for idealism rests on the distinction between mediate and immediate perception, and in particular on the thesis that everything that is perceived by means of the senses is immediately perceived. After analyzing the argument, Rickless concludes thatit is valid and may well be sound. This is Berkeley's most enduring philosophical legacy.

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Samuel C. Rickless presents a novel interpretation of the thought of George Berkeley. In A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710) and Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous (1713), Berkeley argues for the astonishing view that physical objects (such as tables andchairs) are nothing but collections of ideas (i...

Samuel C. Rickless is Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego. Educated at Harvard (BA, 1986) and Balliol College, Oxford (BPhil 1988), he earned his PhD in philosophy at the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1996. After five years of teaching at Florida State University, he joined the UCSD philosop...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.1 inPublished:February 17, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199669422

ISBN - 13:9780199669424

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Mediate and immediate perception2. The perception of sensible objects3. The argument for idealism in the Principles4. The argument for idealism in the first DialogueConclusionBibliographyIndex