Philosophy 100/Prof. Sears
Age of the Greek Baby! Entry #3
Module #5 Bishop George Berkeley
Bishop George Berkeley was highly regarded as one of the great philosophers of the early modern period. Berkeley was most responsible and famous for defending idealism. Berkeley basically took the stance that reality consists of and is exclusively apart of your mind and the ideas in which your mind is able to translate. Bishop George Berkeley was also very interested in religion and was known to be a wide ranging thinker which attributed to his philosophical motivations.
In module number five, Berkeley discusses his argument against materialism and how sensible objects such as houses, the ocean, or even the forest have an existence within the world and universe that is of natural or real causes that are distinct from their being while being perceived to be something else by the understanding of the human mind. To me the argument is exceptional and entertaining from both aspects they come from. When you think of the other side of the argument it is also compelling in the since that, if we perceive an object to be something based off of our senses and instincts and those same objects are widely recognized worldwide around the universe to be the object they perceive to be based off of our senses and instincts then why would it not be the object every other human on this earth perceives it to be? If an object is not what our minds perceived them to be then what are these objects that are all around me that occupy my everyday life?
Berkeley presented three arguments that will better help put these concepts in a philosophical context as well as a better understanding of his views and stance that can also help answer your rhetorical questions about the existence of objects really. The first of Berkeley’s arguments was that he perceived ordinary objects to be houses, mountains, rivers, and forests while the second argument Berkeley presents to us is that we can only ever perceive ideas or sense impressions ultimately making ordinary objects Ideas. The first time I heard this I was perplexed, I just could not grasp that concept. The more I thought about objects being ideas as Berkeley suggested the more open I became to the idea of my television just being an idea used for my entertainment.
Although to this point of the module Berkeley’s concept is definitely becoming even clearer, it is not necessarily any less confusing. During part B of page number seven under the title Direct Apprehension, Really? Berkeley goes into his theory on a more intellectual level by elaborating more on exactly what he means when he says that objects are just the ideas of our mind. In this section, for example Berkeley uses a pencil as part of an example to simplify and get his point across. During this experiment with the use of a pencil he insisted that we as humans have never actually experienced an actual pencil. Instead Berkeley suggests that we as humans do not apprehend an actual pencil directly and that maybe our interactions and connections with a pencil are actually through electrical sense data.
To hammer his theory home, Berkeley opposed a rhetorical question that all human beings can answer as well as relate to. The rhetorical question that was asked was, “has an actual pencil ever went into your eye?” Berkeley even asked if a pencil has ever entered your brain. The reasoning behind these questions was to get you think of a time where you experienced a pencil literally directly. Berkeley believed that these perceptions of objects are only chains of electromagnetic energy that moves from one medium to another, many times removed from any so-called material objects.
Bishop George Berkeley as a philosopher is important to me as well as the world of philosophy due to his contributions and the work and stance he took on topics such as the one discussed in this entry on materialism. Due to Berkeley I have a better understanding of how my own brain works and functions in this big world and universe full of energy and material I’m just now starting to grasp and become conscious of.