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Beryl Logan's Commentary on Berkeley's Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philinous

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PHIL 1000
Beryl Logan

2011-11-09 The secondary qualities are mind dependent. We haven't had a problem with that since september. There must be a perceiver for a sound and taste. In order for them to be, they must be perceived. If you don't perceive colour, there is no colour. There may be something causing us to see the colour, but it only exists in things as perceived by us. When we come to th epirmary qualities. Hylas first suggests that there is this distinguish between the primary and secondary. The primary are mind independent. They exist without a perceiver. Philinous takes him through those steps, he tried to show him that those qualities are also mind dependent. We saw Philonous' mistakes and so did Hylas. Extension, size and shape in general are mind dependent. Page 32 distinguish between absolute and sensible extension there is extension in general that is independent according to Hylas the next suggestion that Philonous makes or challenge that he gives to Hylas He challanges him to come up with an abstract general idea of a motion independent of an object moving. Recall: Berkeley argues against abstract general ideas. Like motion, externsion or shape in general. Philonous says to him that its very difficult to come with an idea. How can you come up with an idea of motion without something particular in motion. Every idea is the idea of something particular. You cannot have this abstract idea. Philonous takes him through some argumentation Page 34 all is mind dependent. Page 35 Hylas makes a further refinement everything that is mind dependent in us both primary and secondary qualities is a sensation. That is the mistake that Hylas thinks he made. He didn't suggest the notion of th eindependent external object as distinguished from the sensation. This is where either Philonous is very smart or Hylas is very smart and Berekely wants to make his point. What do you mean by the object? The object of the senses? Hylas agrees. Why? That is exactly not what he is saying.As soon as he agrees to this. That as with all other sensible qualities is has to be mind dependent. The disction hylas is trying to make is between the sensastion we ourselves are having and what is theobject that is casuing is to have the sensation. He wanted to say something like the Lockian position that the external minded external object. If there is the external object this power to cause us to have sense perceptions, then is the, for example, the colour in the object itself? Is the brown colour in the mug that causes you to see that colour. Locke says that there cannot be a perceived sensation in the substance which is non-perceiving. The point is there sensation in an external object that is mind-independent How can there be something causing you have sensation that has no sensation? That is the issue Hylas is trying to maintain that the object is mind-independent but how can the mind-independent object (non-perceiving, non-thinking) be the cause of anything perceiving. The issue is, how can there be something in the mind-independent external object that is non- perceiving and non-thinking. How can it be perceived? For something to cause to you to have a mind-dependent sensation, it makes no sense that the cause is mind-independent. Locke hold to this position. Berekeley's point is that, how can the non-thinking, non-perceiving be the cause of thought and perception? It is like the interactive question again. How does the action of one kind of substance be the cause of or effect something in another completely different kind of substance. That was the problem of dualism and we have the problem again with Berkeley. Page 38 Hylas has now granted this point and issue. On the one hand he grants the agument that non-perceiving stuff should be the cause of perceiving stuff. If we look at sensations as something not being perceived but as a quality of something. Material substratum you cannot just have motion, it has to be something moving. These qualities have to be qualities of something. It has to be a quality of something. Locke's position is some substance has to be out in the external world to cause our perceptions. That's the issue. The issue is not our perceptions but the explanation thereof. This is all called an abductive argument which is simply an inference to the best explanation. Aoccurs and b is the case if a occurs it is not a surprise because b is a sufficient explanation of a (This is commonly used in CSI shows) What is the best explanation to account for th evidence? Plato's suggest was the forms to account for the visible world. Descartes had God's guarantee. Locke says that the best explanation for the external world is the external world. Locke is saying that the external world is something he knows. We can have no positive idea of it. Locke suggests that presuppose a material substratum that is mind-independent, non-perceiving and non-thinking. How can something that is not perceiving and thinking be the cause of something perceiving and thinking? Page 40 Philonous sums up That is to say...conceive? Berkeley something interchanges conceive and perceive. Perceive has to perception and conceive has to do with metally being aware of. Of course you can't conceive something you cannot conceive. But can you conceive something you cannot perceive? So what is meant to be said, is how Hylas can you conceive this external object if you cannot perceive it? Berkeley would say essi es percipe – to be is to be perceived. The only mode of existence is perception? On page 41 Philonous brings Hylas to another contradiction First we had two things he didnt distinguish between the sensation and the object, then he conceived that there was no difference now hylas is going to say that there are two kinds of objects. One that is perceived and another that is not. Page 44 If it perceived by sense it is mind dependent Hylas has miserably failed again Philonous sums up Hylas' position Hylas at this point gets really dumb This is the position that Philonous and Berkeley is suggesting Some terminology Berkeley uses the word ectype to refer to our perceptions. Each kind of perception, by different people, is called an ectype. The original is called the archetype. Locke says that this the stuff in the external world is material and the sensations are perceived. Again, how do we explain the relation and interaction between the two? Berekeley's solution is to get rid of the non-perceiving, non-thinking and the material Page 47 Hylas is still in a dualistic mode trying to say that the archetypes are insensible and the ideas are sensible This is the dualist's position But how can that which is sensible be like that which is insensible? Can an invisible thing be like a colour? Or an inaudible thing be like a sound? Can anything be a like a sensation or idea, but another sensation or idea? To solve the interaction problem, Berekeley just gets rid of the interaction and makes ideas and sensations the same thing. Make the cause of think
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