Berkeley's Refutation of Descartes Persuasive Essay by Shaad

Berkeley's Refutation of Descartes
This paper discusses how George Berkeley successfully refutes Descartes' argument regarding the existence of material objects.
# 116415 | 750 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2008 | BD
Published by on Sep 24, 2009 in Philosophy (Metaphysics) , Philosophy (Religion) , Religion and Theology (General)

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In this article, the writer shows that George Berkeley successfully refutes Descartes' argument that material objects have an existence separate from the mind and ideas. The writer maintains that Berkeley introduces systematic doubt, the same way that Descartes does. But instead of concluding that God is a deceiver, he proposes that perception must necessarily be imperfect. The writer discusses Berkeley's belief that material objects exist in the mind of God, and there can be no existence apart from perceiver and perceived. The writer concludes that Descartes' argument concerning the deception of God is a fallacy and that Berkeley successfully refutes Descartes' proposition.

From the Paper:

"In the process of systematic doubt Descartes shows that every part of phenomenal reality can be doubted, except the native mind that thinks, because doubt itself implies thought. At this point Descartes is certain of only one thing, and that is his own mind that thinks and doubts. The next step is to consider the ultimate creator of this mind, which must be a perfect being, because any imperfection will necessitate a further creator of less imperfection. The mind does not create itself, because it doubts, and therefore is imperfect. From this Descartes establishes the existence of God, as the Creator and the most perfect being. Because His nature is of the highest perfection, Descartes deduces that God is not a deceiver. From a parallel strand of argument he has established that the mind perceives material objects clearly and distinctly. Taking the two arguments together Descartes concludes that material objects must have existence."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Berkeley, George. Principles of Human Knowledge ; And, Three Dialogues. Ed. Roger Woolhouse. New York: Penguin Classics, 1988.
  • Descartes, Rene. Meditations on First Philosophy. Eds. Bernard Cottingham, Arthur Owen Williams, Bernard Williams. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

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