Language and the Structure of Berkeley's World
According to George Berkeley (1685-1753), there is fundamentally nothing in the world but minds and their ideas. Ideas are understood as pure phenomenal 'feels' which are momentarily had by a single perceiver, then vanish. Surprisingly, Berkeley tries to sell this idealistic philosophical system as a defense of common-sense and an aid to science. However, both common-sense and Newtonian science take the perceived world to be highly structured in a way that Berkeley's system does not appear to allow. Kenneth L. Pearce argues that Berkeley's solution to this problem lies in his innovative philosophy of language. The solution works at two levels. At the first level, it is by means of our conventions for the use of physical object talk that we impose structure on the world. At a deeper level, the orderliness of the world is explained by the fact that, according to Berkeley, the world itself is a discourse 'spoken' by God - the world is literally an object of linguistic
interpretation. The structure that our physical object talk - in common-sense and in Newtonian physics - aims to capture is the grammatical structure of this divine discourse. This approach yields surprising consequences for some of the most discussed issues in Berkeley's metaphysics. Most notably, it is argued that, in Berkeley's view, physical objects are neither ideas nor collections of ideas. Rather, physical objects, like forces, are mere quasi-entities brought into being by our linguistic practices.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Berkeleys Attack on Meanings
Berkeleys EarlyThoughts on Language
BerkeleysTheory of Language in Alciphron 7
Rules and RuleFollowing
Reference and QuasiReference
QuasiReferring to Bodies
Other editions - View all
abstract ideas according actions actually Alciphron apply argued argument assent attributed belief Berkeley Berkeley says Berkeley’s bodies cause certain chapter claim combined common concerned conclusion connected consider consists conventions correct course depend discourse discussion dispositions distinct entities existence experience explicit explicitly expressions fact figures follow force genuine give holds human immediately inference instance interpretation Intro Introduction involves kind knowledge label language laws linguistic Locke meaningful mind nature Nevertheless notion objects operative particular passage perceived perception philosophical physics possible practical Principles problem proposition provides question reason refer regarded rejected relation religious represent requires result rules says sense sensible qualities sentence signify signs Siris sort speaking spirits structure substance suggests takes talk Theory of Meanings things thought triangle true truth understanding vision words