Analysis Of Three Dialogues Between Hylas And Philonous

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In the Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, Berkeley wants to deny the existence of matter as a thing independent of the mind, because he thinks that this kind of belief supports a sceptical view of the world (9). It follows then, that we can only know the world through our mental perceptions, and there cannot be any experience of reality independent of the way we perceive it. For example, we do not know a chair’s existence without having some kind of sensible relation to it, be it by vision, touch or even smell. However, some materialist philosophers are of the opinion that that chair’s essence is in fact distinct from our perceiving it. They believe that the chair possesses, and is composed of something that is unknown to us (Morrison, …show more content…
Rather, Berkeley argues that all physical things are like ideas (Dialogue 1: slide 18). It is due to this similarity that we can have a sensible relationship with physical things. If material objects were composed of something that we could not access with our minds, then we would not be able to grasp the object’s essence in any way, due our reliance on our minds and ideas to interpret what we perceive in the world. It does not suffice for Berkeley to think that the physical objects cause us to have ideas of them that represent the actual physical objects, because he does not think that ideas and physical objects can be in relationship with each other if they are different (Dialogue 1: Slide 4). If matter were something that was distinct from ideas, we would not have access to it because according to Berkeley, “all that we know or conceive are our own ideas” (44). So if we interpret the seemingly material things that we perceive as ideas--instead of as matter in the sense that it is separate from our ideas--we are not claiming to know anything that we cannot directly access with our minds, and therefore there is no uncertainty of the state of the …show more content…
One of those objections is that just because we cannot know what underlies matter, does not mean that it does not exist independently of our perception of it: so “to show that matter is impossible, Berkeley must show that only what is perceivable exists” (Dialogue 1: Slide 17). There is however, a problem that follows this come back as well. If existence requires being perceived, then when we stop looking at material objects, they would technically stop existing (Morrison, Nov. 22). But Berkeley claims that it still exists because God perceives it. For Berkeley, God always perceives everything. Given that God’s nature is both active and infinite (Dialogue 2: Slide 13), Berkeley says that He is a good “explanation for the continuity of our ideas,” (Morrison, Nov 22). When we cease perceiving or thinking about something, his perception of it holds onto it and secures its “continued existence” (Morrison, Nov 22). The same goes for physical objects. Given that “existence requires perception,” (Dialogue 3: Slide 4) God’s existence is necessary for us to perceive continuity in the physical world and in our mental worlds. According to Berkeley, God also causes our ideas. Due to the fact that we have ideas even without willing them means that their cause has to come from something other than ourselves (Morrison, Nov 22). For example, if I am in proximity to the chair I spoke

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