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Berkeley's IdealismA Critical Examination$
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Georges Dicker

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195381467

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381467.001.0001

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Direct Arguments for Idealism in the First Dialogue between Hylas and Philonous

Direct Arguments for Idealism in the First Dialogue between Hylas and Philonous

(p.84) 5 Direct Arguments for Idealism in the First Dialogue between Hylas and Philonous
Berkeley's Idealism

Georges Dicker

Oxford University Press

This chapter surveys, formulates, and evaluates Berkeley's main arguments for the foundational doctrine of his philosophy, namely that we perceive only our own ideas or, as he puts it, that sensible qualities are only ideas or sensations in the mind: the pleasure-pain argument, two subtly different versions of the argument from perceptual relativity (one of which invokes, in effect, the twentieth-century notion of sense-data), and an argument, overlooked by commentators, that Dicker calls “the argument from the principle of perceptual immediacy,” which is intended, among other things, to obviate the distinction between the dispositional and the manifest aspects of a sensible quality. The chapter offers in-depth critiques of each argument, and gives a detailed analysis of three different concepts of immediate perception used by Berkeley. It draws substantially on contemporary work in the philosophy of perception (e.g. Moore, Chisholm, Smith) and contemporary Berkeley scholarship (e.g. Pappas, Warnock, Winkler, Rickless).

Keywords:   pain and pleasure, perceptual relativity, sense-data, appear-words, sense-datum fallacy, immediate perception, principle of perceptual immediacy, objectual perception, propositional perception, dispositional aspect, manifest aspec, coach passage

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