George Berkeley's Argument That An Objective Reality Does Not Exist

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George Berkeley argues that an objective reality does not exist. He argues for idealism, the belief that the external world does not exist and only the mind and ideas do, by arguing against materialism, that an objective reality does exist. Berkeley believes that an objective reality does not exist because of issues that come with materialism. However, his points do not make much sense as he relies on faulty ideas. He presents his argument by mentioning how materialism is unverifiable; that we cannot verify there is an objective reality, pointless; there is no need to posit an external world, and incoherent; our senses cannot be external objects.
Berkeley first point against an objective reality is to say that it is unverifiable. He argues
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He says that we do have sensations of ideas, the objects we can see, feel, taste, smell, and hear, and that this is enough evidence. There is no need to then go on and say that these ideas exist externally from our mind. Berkeley says that it becomes more complicating to add more ideas on to what we know exists as we then need to explain the new idea with something else (Berkeley, 1965, para. 17). However, it does not appear to be pointless to accept an objective reality. If these ideas only exist in our minds, then it does not explain why other people or minds perceive ideas in similar ways. I can see a large tree, other people can also see the same large tree and we can all agree on what it looks and feels like to a similar degree. If the tree only existed in our minds, then it becomes unlikely that we would all sense the tree in very similar ways. Nevertheless, if the tree is objectively real in reality, then that would be the best explanation as to why we can perceive it in ways that are alike. Berkeley argues that there is no point to adding on more explanations than needed but it can also be argued that Berkeley is oversimplifying our perception of the world. Saying there is no need to posit an objective reality can be likened to saying that inventions such as a watch, need no maker and simply exist independently from any …show more content…
He believes that the world we perceive is made up of senses but we cannot imagine them being anything other than senses (Berkeley, 1965, para. 8). We can see that grass is green, what chocolate tastes like, or how hair feels but we cannot think of what green sounds like or how squares taste. Berkeley claims that the external world, if it exists, cannot be made up of sensations as sensations cannot be something else and cannot exist un-sensed. Berkeley’s view on this is incoherent as it does not make sense as to why something cannot exist externally because we can only think of it through senses. A common claim for the existence of the mind is to say that we can sense that it is there. If that is the case, then it is not unreasonable to suggest that other objects and ideas exist on their own because we can sense them as well. A counterargument to this could be to say that we cannot perceive of our minds not existing, unlike other ideas. However, I can perceive of other peoples’ minds not existing as they can perceive my mind not existing. This does not add up to a sensible conclusion so the ability of being able to perceive of the idea of something not existing is not good enough evidence to suggest that something does not exist externally and independently. This means that if we can believe our minds exist because we can sense it is there, then it does not seem unreasonable to suggest

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