Chapter

Berkeleian Sensible Things

Jonathan Bennett

in Learning from Six Philosophers Volume 2

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780198250920
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597060 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198250924.003.0011

Series: Learning from Six Philosophers (2 Volumes)

 Berkeleian Sensible Things

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Berkeley's proposal that a sensible thing is a collection of ideas is not well thought out: it is supposed to license the saying that one can perceive a house (say); but one does not perceive the collection, only a part of it. Evidence is given that Berkeley did not care much for this topic: his more considered view was that the messy talk of ‘the vulgar’ about houses, trees etc. was not worth careful salvage. He cared little about the continuity of sensible things, and did not seriously argue that God must exist to perceive things when we do not. His immaterialism is a form of idealism, with only faint signs of phenomenalism; reasons are given here why he did not take the phenomenalist route whole‐heartedly.

Keywords: Berkeley; continuity; God; idealism; phenomenalism

Chapter.  14234 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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