The Central Part of Berkeley's Metaphysics Essay

The Central Part of Berkeley's Metaphysics Essay

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The Central Part of Berkeley's Metaphysics


The central part of Berkeley’s metaphysics seems paradoxical or even absurd. Its claim is that what we call solid, and indeed everything else that we find laid out in the three-dimensional physical word that is apparently around us, is only fictional. It appears to be there, but it does not really have an independent existence. The physical world is, according to Berkeley, dependent on and only perceived through a mental state. In Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, Berkeley tried to explain how a seemingly noncommonsensical theory can actually consist of commonsensical characteristics. There are two contentions made by Berkeley in his attempt to prove that commonsense is the basis of his theory, rather than absurdity. The first is that in order for a material object to exist there must be a perceiver. The second is that of the existence of finite spirits (us) and an Infinite Spirit (God).
Berkeley ascribed to an imperialistic view in the sense that the immediate object of our knowledge is ideas or subjective impressions. He denied the distinction between primary qualities (size, shape, motion, time,) which are objective, real/true features of the world, and secondary qualities (color, taste, smell, sound, ect.), which are subjective/relative qualities existing in the mind. Berkeley argued that primary qualities are not perceptible separately from the secondary qualities; primary qualities are just as relative to the perceiver as are secondary qualities. If ten people were asked to draw a particular desk, the drawings would indicate ten different shapes for that one desk. Which drawing would reflect the true shape of the desk? Also, a soda can may be small to a human, yet...


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...ch allows us to perceive physical objects, than it must be God. Therefore, following Berkeley thought, when we talk about matter, we are talking about God. That which we attribute to matter must refer to God, the revealer of ideas corresponding to material things. It would then follow that it is God who is the True Essence of physical objects and not atoms, photons, or protons. However, this explanation may be just as commonsensical as his explanation against science in that neither God nor matter has been proven scientifically to exist. Both are theoretical ideas. Since neither God nor matter can be proven to exist, it would follow that Berkeley’s theory of external objects is just as commonsensical as postulating that physical objects contain atoms, photons ect, (reality consists of matter) and that God does not exist--the materialistic/ functionalistic theory.

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