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Konseptong Papel

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  • March 2011
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George Berkeley (1685-1753) believed his mission to be the vigorous defense of theism and the affirmation of the primacy of the spirit over matter against the growing materialist trend among British intellectuals. He described his philosophical system as an immaterialism since it is aimed at responding to the errors of materialism. What exactly is immaterialism? Berkeley retains that matter does not exist in itself. When we say that something exists we mean that such a thing is perceived by us, that is, its entire being consists in its being perceived (esse est percipi). The being of things is resolved into thought-of-being. Primary sensible qualities are judged to be merely subjective as they are known through secondary sensible qualities. Thus, bodies are, for Berkeley, nothing but sensible qualities and so one should not suppose that there be some sort of ‘substance’ holding up these qualities. “Their esse consists in their percipi (to be perceived), and it is not possible for them to have any existence outside the minds which perceives them.” We should not suppose a ‘substance’ underlying our ideas of the accidents of bodies since the true support of these ideas is, namely, our very own mind. For Berkeley, “things exist therefore only as objects of our senses, as phenomena (from the Greek, ‘what appears before me’). It may be that Berkeley did not want to deny the existence of the world of bodies but just to combat materialism by means of the immateriality of knowledge. Nevertheless, by virtue of the principle of immanence, which he follows, he turns the in-itself into a for-myself. There is no matter in itself: it exists only in my consciousness. And my consciousness consists in perceiving ideas (in the Lockean sense) and in perceiving itself intuitively. (…) Kant would dismiss Berkeley’s philosophy as dogmatic idealism.” Berkeleyan gnoseology dictates that the material world exists only as a cognitive act, produced and existing in a mental act;...

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