Berkeley's Idealism

Berkeley's Idealism : A Critical Examination

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In George Berkeley's two most important works, the Principles of Human Knowledge and Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, he argued that there is no such thing as matter: only minds and ideas exist, and physical things are nothing but collections of ideas. In defense of this idealism, he advanced a battery of challenging arguments purporting to show that the very notion of matter is self-contradictory or meaningless, and that even if it were possible for matter to exist, we could not know that it does; and he then put forward an alternative world-view that purported to refute both skepticism and atheism. Using the tools of contemporary analytic philosophy, Georges Dicker here examines both the destructive and the constructive sides of Berkeley's thought, against the background of the mainstream views that he rejected. Dicker's accessible and text-based analysis of Berkeley's arguments shows that the Principles and the Dialogues dovetail and complement each other in a seamless way, rather than being self-contained. Dicker's book avoids the incompleteness that results from studying just one of his two main works; instead, he treats the whole as a visionary response to the issues of modern philosophy- such as primary and secondary qualities, external-world skepticism, the substance-property relation, the causal roles of human agents and of God. In addition to relating Berkeley's work to his contemporaries, Dicker discusses work by today's top Berkeley scholars, and uses notions and distinctions forged by recent and contemporary analytic philosophers of perception. Berkeley's Idealism both advances Berkeley scholarship and serves as a useful guide for teachers and more

Product details

  • Hardback | 328 pages
  • 160 x 236 x 26mm | 557.92g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195381467
  • 9780195381467

About Georges Dicker

Georges Dicker is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Philosophic Exchange at The College at Brockport, State University of New York. He is the author of Dewey's Theory of Knowing, Perceptual Knowledge: An Analytical and Historical Study, Descartes: An Analytical and Historical Introduction, Hume's Epistemology and Metaphysics: An Introduction, Kant's Theory of Knowledge: An Analytical Introduction, and of numerous journal more

Review quote

Berkeley's Idealism: A Critical Examination is a thorough, penetrating, and philosophically rich critique of Berkeley's idealism. Dicker patiently analyzes Berkeley's arguments for the idealistic thesis and uncovers the sophisms and false premises that they rely on. He also astutely examines the metaphysics of mind and physical objects that grew out of Berkeley's idealism. Berkeley's Idealism deserves a place on every Berkeley scholar's bookshelf alongside Jonathan Bennett's Central Themes and Learning from Six Philosophers, Kenneth Winkler's Berkeley: An Interpretation, and George Pappas' Berkeley's Thought. * Notre Dame Philosophical Review *show more