Berkeleys Idealism: A Critical Examination

Paperback | June 1, 2011

byGeorges Dicker

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In George Berkeley's two most important works, the Principles of Human Knowledge and Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, he argued that there is no such thing as matter: only minds and ideas exist, and physical things are nothing but collections of ideas. In defense of this idealism,he advanced a battery of challenging arguments purporting to show that the very notion of matter is self-contradictory or meaningless, and that even if it were possible for matter to exist, we could not know that it does; and he then put forward an alternative world-view that purported to refuteboth skepticism and atheism. Using the tools of contemporary analytic philosophy, Georges Dicker here examines both the destructive and the constructive sides of Berkeley's thought, against the background of the mainstream views that he rejected. Dicker's accessible and text-based analysis of Berkeley's arguments shows thatthe Principles and the Dialogues dovetail and complement each other in a seamless way, rather than being self-contained. Dicker's book avoids the incompleteness that results from studying just one of his two main works; instead, he treats the whole as a visionary response to the issues of modern philosophy - such as primary and secondary qualities, external-world skepticism, the substance-property relation, the causalroles of human agents and of God. In addition to relating Berkeley's work to his contemporaries, Dicker discusses work by today's top Berkeley scholars, and uses notions and distinctions forged by recent and contemporary analytic philosophers of perception. Berkeley's Idealism both advances Berkeleyscholarship and serves as a useful guide for teachers and students.

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In George Berkeley's two most important works, the Principles of Human Knowledge and Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, he argued that there is no such thing as matter: only minds and ideas exist, and physical things are nothing but collections of ideas. In defense of this idealism,he advanced a battery of challenging argumen...

Georges Dicker is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Philosophic Exchange at The College at Brockport, State University of New York. He is the author of Dewey's Theory of Knowing, Perceptual Knowledge: An Analytical and Historical Study, Descartes: An Analytical and Historical Introduction, Hume's Epistemology and ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:480 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:June 1, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195381459

ISBN - 13:9780195381450

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I: Some themes of mainstream modern philosophy, with particular attention to Locke1. The theory of primary and secondary qualities2. The representational theory of perception and the problem of perception3. Locke's defense of the sensesPart II: Berkeley's direct arguments for idealism4. Berkeley's case for idealism in Principles I, Sections 1-75. Direct arguments for idealism in the First Dialogue between Hylas and Philonous6. The Argument from the Ego-Centric PredicamentNotesPart III: Berkeley's indirect arguments for idealism7. The Likeness Principle8. Berkeley's attack on the theory of primary and secondary qualities9. Substance/substratum10. The epistemological argumentPart IV: Berkeley's positive metaphysics11. Mind12. God, nature, agency, and causation in perception13. Continuity14. IntersubjectivityNotesBibliography: works cited