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Berkeley's Three DialoguesNew Essays$
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Stefan Storrie

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198755685

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198755685.001.0001

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Sensible Qualities and Secondary Qualities in the First Dialogue

Sensible Qualities and Secondary Qualities in the First Dialogue

Chapter:
(p.7) 2 Sensible Qualities and Secondary Qualities in the First Dialogue
Source:
Berkeley's Three Dialogues
Author(s):

Lisa Downing

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198755685.003.0002

By focusing on the First Dialogue’s use of ‘sensible quality’ rather than ‘idea’, we can draw out some important morals that allow us to better appreciate its actual accomplishments. Whereas the Principles is an attack on materialist mechanism primarily via its representative theory of perception, the First Dialogue is an attack on materialist mechanism primarily via its primary/secondary-quality distinction. Viewing the First Dialogue in this light allows us to see it as more effective and insightful than we otherwise might, although it also requires us to acknowledge that Hylas is never as philosophically naïve as Berkeley sometimes seems to suggest.

Keywords:   secondary quality, primary quality, sensible quality, Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Bayle

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