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Monday, January 16, 2012

Berkeley Knew There Was a World Out There, Continued

I don't know if I have a single reader who finds this topic interesting, but, as I have mentioned before, for me this blog is a writer's journal that happens to have readers. And it happens I'm writing a paper entitled "Was Berkeley a Subjective Idealist?" (Spoiler: No, he wasn't!)

In one of his lesser know works, Alciphron, I found this beautiful quote backing me today:

The soul of man actuates but a small body, an insignificant particle, in respect of the great masses of nature, the elements and heavenly bodies, and system of the world. And the wisdom that appears in those motions, which are the effects of human reason, is incomparably less than that which discovers itself in the structure and use of organized natural bodies, animal or vegetable. -- Philosophical Writings, p. 274
Does those look like the words of a man who thought the world was all in his head?

3 comments:

  1. So far all I've read by Berkeley is "The Analyst." It's well worth a read for anyone interested in the history of calculus. The line about the "ghosts of departed quantities" is everyone's favorite snippet, but the whole thing is pretty well-written.

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  2. Well I guess I have to consign to the dustbin the ditty that goes:

    Bishop Berkeley
    Whispers darkly,
    "If I don't see you,
    You don't be you."

    And of course we have Johnson's refutation: (Kicking Stone: "I refute him thus.")as reported by Boswell. That's out, too. Damn. (;

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