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Berkeley & Mind Independent Objects

RyuuKyuzo
Posts: 3,074
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4/10/2016 12:02:42 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
Just as a preface for this thread, I'm not arguing against theism here, so for the love of God (no pun intended), don't turn this into another autistic pissing match between atheism and theism in the DDO forums.

So Berkeley is a subjective idealist, meaning he doesn't believe in an objective, material world. For Berkeley, only the mind and mental perception exists. So when you perceive a chair, that perception doesn't actually correlate to anything material, all that exists is your perception of it, and the "char" ceases to exist as soon as you stop perceiving it. This is true of all things.

This would imply that objects should spontaneously cease to exist as soon as a moment passes wherein you are not perceiving it. This includes the self. When you sleep, you discontinue self-perception, and so you would expect to stop existing as soon as you fall asleep. The fact that this doesn't happen, according to Berkeley, is thanks to God.

God enables "object" permanence be eternally perceiving all things that are meant to "exist" at any one time. My issue with this theory is that, is this not just basic empiricism at that point? I mean, you've defined the external world as being immaterial, but these "immaterial concepts" retain object-permanence by virtue of being perpetually observed by God. Essentially, Berkeley has just re-defined matter to mean "God-thought". God perceives it therefore the "idea" continues to exist so that we can, at a later time, perceive it.

So he's not really arguing for an immaterial world, he's just arguing on what defines matter. A more classic empiricist would say that the objective world exists and is comprised of matter and retains object-permanence because material objects are mind-independent entities, Berkeley is simply saying that these mind-independent entities aren't made of matter, they just seem to be made of matter by an objective God who keeps these mind-independent "objects" "existing" by "perceiving" "them".

This is functionally no different from saying objects are material and exist independent of our mind, he's just also given God a "job" in his epistemology. I don't know if this is a common criticism of Berkeley, but it should be.
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n7
Posts: 1,360
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4/10/2016 3:05:22 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/10/2016 12:02:42 AM, RyuuKyuzo wrote:
Just as a preface for this thread, I'm not arguing against theism here, so for the love of God (no pun intended), don't turn this into another autistic pissing match between atheism and theism in the DDO forums.

So Berkeley is a subjective idealist, meaning he doesn't believe in an objective, material world. For Berkeley, only the mind and mental perception exists. So when you perceive a chair, that perception doesn't actually correlate to anything material, all that exists is your perception of it, and the "char" ceases to exist as soon as you stop perceiving it. This is true of all things.

This would imply that objects should spontaneously cease to exist as soon as a moment passes wherein you are not perceiving it. This includes the self. When you sleep, you discontinue self-perception, and so you would expect to stop existing as soon as you fall asleep. The fact that this doesn't happen, according to Berkeley, is thanks to God.

God enables "object" permanence be eternally perceiving all things that are meant to "exist" at any one time. My issue with this theory is that, is this not just basic empiricism at that point? I mean, you've defined the external world as being immaterial, but these "immaterial concepts" retain object-permanence by virtue of being perpetually observed by God. Essentially, Berkeley has just re-defined matter to mean "God-thought". God perceives it therefore the "idea" continues to exist so that we can, at a later time, perceive it.

So he's not really arguing for an immaterial world, he's just arguing on what defines matter. A more classic empiricist would say that the objective world exists and is comprised of matter and retains object-permanence because material objects are mind-independent entities, Berkeley is simply saying that these mind-independent entities aren't made of matter, they just seem to be made of matter by an objective God who keeps these mind-independent "objects" "existing" by "perceiving" "them".

This is functionally no different from saying objects are material and exist independent of our mind, he's just also given God a "job" in his epistemology. I don't know if this is a common criticism of Berkeley, but it should be.

But these objects wouldn't really be mind-independent. There is still a mind that needs to exist. Objects wouldn't exist in and of themselves. I think that's the functional distinction.
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skipsaweirdo
Posts: 1,872
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4/10/2016 9:55:55 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/10/2016 12:02:42 AM, RyuuKyuzo wrote:
Just as a preface for this thread, I'm not arguing against theism here, so for the love of God (no pun intended), don't turn this into another autistic pissing match between atheism and theism in the DDO forums.

So Berkeley is a subjective idealist, meaning he doesn't believe in an objective, material world. For Berkeley, only the mind and mental perception exists. So when you perceive a chair, that perception doesn't actually correlate to anything material, all that exists is your perception of it, and the "char" ceases to exist as soon as you stop perceiving it. This is true of all things.

This would imply that objects should spontaneously cease to exist as soon as a moment passes wherein you are not perceiving it. This includes the self. When you sleep, you discontinue self-perception, and so you would expect to stop existing as soon as you fall asleep. The fact that this doesn't happen, according to Berkeley, is thanks to God.

God enables "object" permanence be eternally perceiving all things that are meant to "exist" at any one time. My issue with this theory is that, is this not just basic empiricism at that point? I mean, you've defined the external world as being immaterial, but these "immaterial concepts" retain object-permanence by virtue of being perpetually observed by God. Essentially, Berkeley has just re-defined matter to mean "God-thought". God perceives it therefore the "idea" continues to exist so that we can, at a later time, perceive it.

So he's not really arguing for an immaterial world, he's just arguing on what defines matter. A more classic empiricist would say that the objective world exists and is comprised of matter and retains object-permanence because material objects are mind-independent entities, Berkeley is simply saying that these mind-independent entities aren't made of matter, they just seem to be made of matter by an objective God who keeps these mind-independent "objects" "existing" by "perceiving" "them".

This is functionally no different from saying objects are material and exist independent of our mind, he's just also given God a "job" in his epistemology. I don't know if this is a common criticism of Berkeley, but it should be.
If you were to knock your knuckles on a chair every second for 30 millions years saying empty space and substance, according to the volumetric ratio of all atoms, you would say substance for 1 second and empty space the rest of the time to accurately represent what is there. Heisenberg uncertainty principle says things change when they are observed. So do we really think that so much nothingness compared to a demonstrably smaller amount of substance could actually be anything other than what the "perceiver" really thinks it is?
autocorrect
Posts: 432
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4/10/2016 10:29:48 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
The purpose Berkeley is serving with this line of argument is not the argument in itself - which must reach essentially the same relation to reality as mind independent objectivism if it is to credibly describe the world as we experience it; but rather he makes this argument for the connotations of subjectivism with regard to cognition, moral reason and theology. His chief work, A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge - was written in contradiction of empiricists like Locke - the famous enlightenment thinker and father of modern liberalism.

Berkeley claimed that the main design of his efforts in writing this book was to promote the consideration of God and our duty. If we are clearly convinced of God's existence, then we will fill our hearts with awful circumspection and holy fear. Berkeley claimed that the world exists as it does, when no one is looking at it, because it consists of ideas that are perceived by the mind of God. If we think that the eyes of the Lord are everywhere, beholding the evil and the good, knowing our innermost thoughts, then we will realize our total dependence on Him. In this way, we will have an incentive to be virtuous and to avoid vice.

https://en.wikipedia.org...

Your questions speak to a search for the truth of the matter, but reading this in its historical context, better to consider it an example of politicised philosophy; on this issue, harking back to the epistemic differences between Galileo and Descartes - i.e. science and religion, from 70 or so years before. So, I'm sorry if this returns us to 'another autistic pissing match between atheism and theism' - but that's the reality...or our perception of it !?!
Raisor
Posts: 4,468
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4/15/2016 1:54:56 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
At 4/10/2016 12:02:42 AM, RyuuKyuzo wrote:
Just as a preface for this thread, I'm not arguing against theism here, so for the love of God (no pun intended), don't turn this into another autistic pissing match between atheism and theism in the DDO forums.

So Berkeley is a subjective idealist, meaning he doesn't believe in an objective, material world. For Berkeley, only the mind and mental perception exists. So when you perceive a chair, that perception doesn't actually correlate to anything material, all that exists is your perception of it, and the "char" ceases to exist as soon as you stop perceiving it. This is true of all things.

This would imply that objects should spontaneously cease to exist as soon as a moment passes wherein you are not perceiving it. This includes the self. When you sleep, you discontinue self-perception, and so you would expect to stop existing as soon as you fall asleep. The fact that this doesn't happen, according to Berkeley, is thanks to God.

God enables "object" permanence be eternally perceiving all things that are meant to "exist" at any one time. My issue with this theory is that, is this not just basic empiricism at that point? I mean, you've defined the external world as being immaterial, but these "immaterial concepts" retain object-permanence by virtue of being perpetually observed by God. Essentially, Berkeley has just re-defined matter to mean "God-thought". God perceives it therefore the "idea" continues to exist so that we can, at a later time, perceive it.

So he's not really arguing for an immaterial world, he's just arguing on what defines matter. A more classic empiricist would say that the objective world exists and is comprised of matter and retains object-permanence because material objects are mind-independent entities, Berkeley is simply saying that these mind-independent entities aren't made of matter, they just seem to be made of matter by an objective God who keeps these mind-independent "objects" "existing" by "perceiving" "them".

This is functionally no different from saying objects are material and exist independent of our mind, he's just also given God a "job" in his epistemology. I don't know if this is a common criticism of Berkeley, but it should be.

His argument (if successful): a) refutes dualism- which isn't trivial b) proves that reality is idea and not matter

His arguments flow through a deconstruction of how the mind perceives the world and lead to the conclusion that all of reality is idea. Idea can only exist to a perceiving mind, so for object permanence to hold there must be an all-perceiving mind.

Idealism IS functionally different from materialism in that a materialist account of the world, i.e. one in which reality is NOT mind, does not resolve the objections raised by Philonous. Berkeley provides an argument for the impossibility of matter- this must be resolved by equating reality to a fundamentally different substance. Ideas do not have extension, solidity, spatial location. The nature of reality is fundamentally different and requires an omniscient God.