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Language and the Structure of Berkeley's World$
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Kenneth L. Pearce

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198790334

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198790334.001.0001

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Assent and Truth

Assent and Truth

(p.139) 8 Assent and Truth
Language and the Structure of Berkeley's World

Kenneth L. Pearce

Oxford University Press

Berkeley’s contemporary Peter Browne objected that, on Berkeley’s philosophy of language, “Words may be Significant, tho’ they signify Nothing” with the result that “all Faith would terminate in the Ear.” The key problem for Berkeley is that even given an adequate theory of reference it is unclear, in the absence of ideas, how words can be put together into truth-evaluable propositions which are possible objects of belief. This chapter argues that Berkeley endorses a dispositional theory of assent (belief) which takes a believer to be a follower of certain rules. This theory of assent is combined with a radical holism about truth. Although true belief does involve a sort of fit with reality, this fit must be understood as involving feelings and actions and not only ideas.

Keywords:   George Berkeley, Peter Browne, philosophy of language, belief, faith, truth

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