Immaterialism vs. Non-Existence Essay by Shaad

Immaterialism vs. Non-Existence
An analysis of George Berkeley's distinction between immaterialism and non-existence.
# 97470 | 1,714 words | 1 source | MLA | 2004 | BD
Published by on Aug 22, 2007 in Philosophy (History) , Philosophy (Epistemology) , Philosophy (General)

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The paper argues in favour of the proper meaning of George Berkeley's immaterialism against all the detractors who stubbornly misconstrue his meaning. The paper follows the argument as it proceeds in the publication "Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, in Opposition to Sceptics and Atheists". According to the paper, Hylas [Locke], shown to be harbouring the popular misconception about immaterialism, begins by accusing Philonous [Berkeley] of denying the existence of matter. But Philonous, in the end, is able to turn the argument and show that, not only is he not a sceptic, but in turn that Hylas himself, by upholding the materialistic point of view, is guilty of scepticism.

From the Paper:

"Hylas had first of all made out Philonous to be a rank sceptic. But the epic drawn out argument eventually turns the tables and shows Hylas himself to be despairing of knowledge while Philonous is serene with conviction. The argument follows the very same steps of Descartes', one by one dispatching each and every notion regarding the material substance as having no separate existence apart from in the mind. This is the bulk of the dialogue, as Hylas is stubborn to the extreme, taking up every possible aspect, sometimes the same repeatedly in desperation. The secondary qualities - e.g. taste, smell, colour - are summarily dealt with. The primary qualities - e.g. extension, motion, momentum - make for the true battleground. These were the qualities annexed by Newton to built his elaborate and universal system of mechanics, that which stood for absolute knowledge in the minds of those versed in it. Thus it would not be easy to dismiss the quality of extension as mere idea for Hylas, well-versed in Newton. "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Berkeley, George. Principles of Human Knowledge and Three Dialogues. Roger Woolhouse (Ed.) New York: Penguin Classics, 1988.

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