4
   

Berkeley's Response to Descartes

 
 
G H
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Dec, 2011 03:11 pm
@gregoryl,
Something else to add here: Berkeley later either clarified or discarded any notion of God perceiving the world and maintaining it via being an ultimate observer. He viewed God as indeed the intelligible source of things, but God featured no inferior sensory faculty. Essentially, God simply replaced the intellectual/formal world of the ancients in Berkeley's scheme.

"There is no sense, nor sensory, nor any thing like a sense or sensory in God. Sense implies an impression from some other being, and denotes a dependence in the Soul which hath it. Sense is a passion, and passions imply imperfection. God knoweth all things, as pure mind or intellect, but nothing by sense, nor in nor through a sensory. Therefore to suppose a sensory of any kind, whether space or any other in God would be very wrong, and lead us into false conceptions of his nature. The presuming there was such a thing as real absolute uncreated space, seems to have occasioned that modern mistake. But this presumption was, without grounds." --Siris

"Mark it well; I do not say, I see things by perceiving that which represents them in the intelligible Substance of God. This I do not understand; but I say, the things by me perceived are known by the understanding, and produced by the will of an infinite Spirit." --The Three Dialogues
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Dec, 2011 03:27 pm
@G H,
Nevertheless, is it not the case that Berkeley is read by many to have used God's (sensory) perception of the world to be the basis for the OBJECTIVE sound of a falling tree despite the absence of a SUBJECTIVE-hearing human being?
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Dec, 2011 04:35 pm
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

Are you okay ? The quality of your heckling seems to have deteriorated.

What you call "heckling" I call my "perspective."
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Dec, 2011 05:44 pm
@joefromchicago,
Good. You understand.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Dec, 2011 06:32 pm
@fresco,
A typically irrelevant response. Pathologists are able to demonstrate the existence of micro-organisms. No so-called physician from the middle ages could ever have directly demonstrated the existence of "humors" in the body. I'll bet your hobby is semitoics (a.k.a. semi-idiotics). Playing word games about meaning doesn't lessen the lethality of mirco-organisms or radioactive fallout, for all that you preen yourself on the excellence of your understanding.
G H
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Dec, 2011 09:46 pm
@JLNobody,
Quote:
Nevertheless, is it not the case that Berkeley is read by many to have used God's (sensory) perception of the world to be the basis for the OBJECTIVE sound of a falling tree despite the absence of a SUBJECTIVE-hearing human being?

That's what they read second-hand, anyway -- possibly an interpretation even started originally by his defenders. The earliest form of the "falling tree" may be from 1883 in an issue of a magazine called The Chautauquan. If Berkeley was taken as the inspiration for it (actually unknown according to one account), then the source for such in A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge would be the following passage, which lacks any reference to God. (Capitalized emphasis is from the published version, not from me):

But, say you, surely there is nothing easier than for me to imagine trees, for instance, in a park, or books existing in a closet, and nobody by to perceive them. I answer, you may so, there is no difficulty in it; but what is all this, I beseech you, more than framing in your mind certain ideas which you call BOOKS and TREES, and the same time omitting to frame the idea of any one that may perceive them? BUT DO NOT YOU YOURSELF PERCEIVE OR THINK OF THEM ALL THE WHILE? This therefore is nothing to the purpose; it only shows you have the power of imagining or forming ideas in your mind: but it does not show that you can conceive it possible the objects of your thought may exist without the mind. To make out this, IT IS NECESSARY THAT YOU CONCEIVE THEM EXISTING UNCONCEIVED OR UNTHOUGHT OF, WHICH IS A MANIFEST REPUGNANCY. When we do our utmost to conceive the existence of external bodies, we are all the while only contemplating our own ideas. But the mind taking no notice of itself, is deluded to think it can and does conceive bodies existing unthought of or without the mind, though at the same time they are apprehended by or exist in itself.

The stereotypical belief that he, in the Treatise, claimed "God perceives" may have been derived from this passage found elsewhere in the TCPHK, about spirits or minds in general, which likewise doesn't mention the "G" word. I assume it's also one of the two problematic passages that George H. Thomas tried to debunk in his 1976 book Berkeley's God Does Not Perceive:

THERE MAY BE SOME OTHER SPIRIT THAT PERCEIVES THEM [bodies] THOUGH WE DO NOT. Wherever bodies are said to have no existence without the mind, I would not be understood to mean this or that particular mind, but ALL MINDS WHATSOEVER. It does not therefore follow from the foregoing principles that bodies are annihilated and created every moment, or exist not at all during the intervals between our perception of them.

In another place he figuratively and floweringly refers to God as enabling other minds to perceive each other as bodies, but again there is no mention of this Supreme Being itself perceiving or having a sensory faculty:

He alone it is who, 'upholding all things by the word of His power,' maintains that intercourse between spirits whereby they are able to perceive the existence of each other. And yet this pure and clear light which enlightens every one is itself invisible [as are all minds, indicated elsewhere].

Thus, I was perhaps unjustified in even suggesting that he was clarifying or changing anything along that line ("God perceives") in his later works! (No need to revise what never was.)
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Dec, 2011 10:07 pm
@Setanta,
Quote:
Micro-organisms which neither you nor anyone around you can see can kill you.


Not all perception is conscious. The cells of our bodies are aware of those micro-organisms in much the same way that our eyes are aware of the light that reaches them. What we see is the brain's interpretation of that light. We don't see the light until it affects us, same as we don't feel the micro-organisms until they affect us.

Some claim that human perception happens at a sub-atomic level, and that the world we perceive is our brain's translation of that sensory input into a coherent experience.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Dec, 2011 10:55 pm
@G H,
I wonder, the Hindu (perhaps the Vedanta portion of the Upanishads, of which my "knowledge" is mostly second hand) notion of Brahma's perception of the world is not Brahma's (God's) sensory perception as if His were simply a super large version of a human's perception. If that were so Brahma's (like God's) cognitive capacity would be limited by a particular perceptual structure of His own much like ours, but writ very large.
As I understand it, Brahma has no perceptual structure as such. Indeed, His awareness of Reality is a form of Self-awareness made possible by all the perceptual apparati seen in Nature, include the eyes of humans, monkeys, ants, spiders, birds, extra-terrestials of all sorts, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum.
In the case of humans we contribute to Brahma's self-realization because we are atmans, local extensions of Brahma. This is just my understanding.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Dec, 2011 12:33 am
@Setanta,
You don't understand the concept that "existence" is relative not absolute. In that respect "proof" becomes "social agreement", and "self" a "committee".
Next time you are having a conversation with yourself you might think about it !
(...alas typically that is unlikely in your case Smile )
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Dec, 2011 01:41 am
@JLNobody,
Yes.." all is an aspect of God", is one solution to a transcendent vantage point. Unfortunately, that has no functional value for those seeking "parental protection" or "authoritative guidance" since their concept of "self" is predicated on a separation from the whole. The question therefore becomes one of whether the specific usage of words like "God" or "Brahma" (implying divinity) is antithetical to an understanding of the whole.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 13 Dec, 2011 03:37 am
@fresco,
I understand well enough that you thought you had constructed a valid analogy, but it wasn't, because the two cases were not analogous. The Renaissance idea of "bodily humors" and modern microbiological reseach cannot reasonably be compared, because the latter is a pursuit based on careful, replicable methodology and the former is simple superstition born of ignorance--they are not analogous.

But in your silly little world, they are equivalent because you play word games about assigning value to human activities based not on the activities themselves, but on a deconstruction of them. You'd be lost without quotation marks. You don't want to discuss the subjects of reality, you just want to discuss the discussion of reality. That's so much easier, though, isn't it, than actually doing the hard work of forming a reasonable judgment about reality.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Dec, 2011 03:45 am
@Cyracuz,
You're playing fast and loose with the word aware.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Dec, 2011 03:49 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:
Some claim that human perception happens at a sub-atomic level, and that the world we perceive is our brain's translation of that sensory input into a coherent experience.


Note the significance of the verb "to claim." You and Fresco, no doubt, could have a delightful time discussing the discussion of reality, not being troubled with the difference between a claim about reality, and reality itself.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Dec, 2011 05:01 am
I think that in a spirit of intellectual integrity and honesty, if Fresco becomes seriously ill, he should eschew the therapeutic regime of a contemporary physician, and instead carefully study how to balance the bodily humors. Then he can report back to us on the efficacy of the process--or leave instructions for the executor of his estate to contact us.

One is reminded of Dr. Johnson's refutation of the metaphysicians.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  2  
Reply Tue 13 Dec, 2011 06:22 am
I have a problem with the insistence that facts are relative to the self or constructed by social agreement. If you are in a burning house with someone whose self-perception does not acknowledge the danger or who refuses to join a social agreement that there is danger, would you try to save him anyway?
0 Replies
 
Procrustes
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Dec, 2011 06:42 am
I don't understand how unperceived reality cannot exist. If we are talking about perceiving reality then the unperceived is still an aspect of the wider reality around you, not just where you're perceiving. To think otherwise seems ignorant.
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Tue 13 Dec, 2011 06:53 am
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

Good. You understand.

That makes one of us.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  0  
Reply Tue 13 Dec, 2011 07:29 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
You're playing fast and loose with the word aware.


Perhaps. I guess it depends on how one understands the word. It is sometimes defined as cognitive reaction.

Quote:
Note the significance of the verb "to claim." You and Fresco, no doubt, could have a delightful time discussing the discussion of reality, not being troubled with the difference between a claim about reality, and reality itself.


Well, all cognitive processes in the brain happen on the sub-atomic level. The idea of "physical reality" may not be a valid distinction anywhere but in our perception.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Dec, 2011 07:44 am
@Cyracuz,
Now you're playing fast and loose with the word cognitive. Upon what basis do you make the claim quoted below?

Quote:
Well, all cognitive processes in the brain happen on the sub-atomic level.


Then, with this passage:

Quote:
The idea of "physical reality" may not be a valid distinction anywhere but in our perception.


. . . you're simply making an ipse dixit claim that what you want to believe is true--i guess, just because you want to believe it. You're long on claims, and short on plausible argument.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Dec, 2011 08:17 am
@Setanta,
No doubt your committee had fun issuing that statement! I bet there was a bit of back-slapping ! Wink
 

Related Topics

How can we be sure? - Discussion by Raishu-tensho
Proof of nonexistence of free will - Discussion by litewave
morals and ethics, how are they different? - Question by existential potential
Destroy My Belief System, Please! - Discussion by Thomas
Star Wars in Philosophy. - Discussion by Logicus
Existence of Everything. - Discussion by Logicus
Is it better to be feared or loved? - Discussion by Black King
 
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.06 seconds on 10/22/2021 at 05:04:46