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LECTURE 9

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LECTURE 9

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  1. LECTURE 9 BISHOP BERKELEY PRIMARY AND SECONDARY QUALITIES & THE “CONCEIVABILITY” ARGUMENT

  2. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY QUALITIES • THE PRIMARY QUALITIES ARE EXTENSION, FIGURE, SOLIDITY, GRAVITY (WEIGHT OR MASS), MOTION, AND REST. • THE SECONDARY QUALITIES ARE ALL THE REST OF THE SENSIBLE QUALITIES – AND ALL HAVE NO EXISTENCE OUTSIDE THE MIND.

  3. FROM WIKIPEDIA(EDITED) • Primary qualities are properties of objects that are independent of any observer, such as solidity, extension, motion, number and figure. They exist in the thing itself. • Secondary qualities are properties that produce sensations in observers, such as color, taste, smell, and sound. They can be described as the effects things have on certain people.

  4. HYLAS CLAIMS THAT THIS DISTINCTION WILL DEFLECT PHILONOUS’S ARGUMENTS • BERKELEY (AS PHILONOUS) ARGUES THAT THE SAME REASONS FOR TAKING SECONDARY QUALITIES TO BE “IN THE MIND” APPLY TO THE SO-CALLED PRIMARY QUALITIES.

  5. SIZE, SHAPE, SOLIDITY, MOTION THESE ALL VARY WITH THE STATE OF THE OBSERVER: OBJECTS ARE PERCEIVED AS LARGE BY SMALL OBSERVERS AND WHEN THEY ARE FAR AWAY THEY ARE PERCEIVED AS SMALL. THINGS ARE PERCEIVED AS HAVING DIFFERENT SHAPES WHEN PERCEIVED FROM DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES – AND SO ON.

  6. “ALL THE QUALITIES ARE IN THE MIND OF THE OBSERVER” ACCORDING TO BERKELEY THE PRIMARY-SECONDARY DISTINCTION IS ILL-CONCEIVED BECAUSE THE SAME VARIATION WITH THE PERCEIVER APPEARS IN BOTH CASES. AND WE CANNOT EVEN IMAGINE OBJECTS JUST HAVING PRIMARY QUALITIES.

  7. THE “CONCEIVABILITY ARGUMENT”(RECONSTRUCTED) • TO CONCEIVE OF A SITUATION IS TO IMAGINE HOW THAT SITUATION WOULD BE. (2) TO IMAGINE AN OBJECT EXISTING UNPERCEIVED WOULD BE TO IMAGINE HOW THAT OBJECT WOULD BE IS IT WERE UNPERCEIVED. BUT:

  8. MORE PREMISES (3) TO IMAGINE AN OBJECT EXISTING IS TO IMAGINE HOW THE OBJECT WOULD BE IF PERCEIVED. • IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO IMAGINE AN OBJECT AS HOW IT WOULD BE IF UNPERCEIVED AND AS HOW IT WOULD BE IF PERCEIVED. THEREFORE:

  9. CONCLUSION • IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO CONCEIVE OF AN OBJECT EXISTING UNPERCEIVED (!). (“BERKELEY’S PRINCIPLE”): “TO BE IS TO BE PERCEIVED.”

  10. DO OBJECTS CEASE TO EXIST WHEN NO ONE IS PERCEIVING THEM?!! BERKELEY: NO. TWO ANSWERS (FROM DIFFERENT PARTS OF BERKELEY’S WORKS). (PHENOMENALISM): TO SAY THAT AN OBJECT EXISTS WHEN NO ONE IS PERCEIVING IT JUST MEANS “IF SOMEONE WERE TO BE PERCEIVING IT, IT WOULD APPEAR THUS-AND-SO.”

  11. BERKELEY’S FAVORED ANSWER GOD IS ALWAYS PERCEIVING ALL THE “OBJECTS” (FROM EVERY POSSIBLE POINT OF VIEW). BERKELEY HAS AN ARGUMENT FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD – WHICH WE WILL NOT STUDY IN DETAIL. ROUGHLY: GOD IS REQUIRED TO EXPLAIN WHY OUR PERCEPTIONS ARE ORDERLY AND OCCUR ACCORING TO REGULAR LAWS.

  12. HOW CAN WE ANSWER THESE ARGUMENTS? GO BACK TO THE “SENSIBLE OBJECTS” ARGUMENT. DISTINGUISH TWO SENSES OF “PERCEIVE” (AND “SEE”, “HEAR”, ETC.). WE SEE, HEAR AND FEEL OBJECTS “MEDIATELY”, I.E., BY HAVING SENSATIONS. IF WE HOLD FAST TO THIS IDEA, WE CAN RESIST BERKELEY’S ARGUMENTS.

  13. THE CONTINUITY ARGUMENT FELT HEAT (THE SENSATION) IS INDEED IN THE MIND. BUT PHYSICAL HEAT (WHICH IS THE MOTION OF MOLECULES) IS IN THE OBJECT. AS WE FEEL DIFFERENT DEGREES OF HEAT, BY MOVING CLOSER TO A FIRE SAY, THE FIRE DOES NOT GET PHYSICALLY HOTTER.

  14. THE CONCEIVABILITY ARGUMENT WE SHOULD NOT ADMIT THAT TO CONCEIVE OF SOMETHING IS TO CALL UP AN IMAGE OF IT. WE CAN CONCEIVE OF MANY THINGS FOR WHICH WE CANNOT FORM AN IMAGE. IT IS CONCEIVABLE THAT THE EARTH’S POPULATION SHOULD EXCEED 60 BILLION. THAT SOMETHING EXISTS UNPERCEIVED SEEMS (TO ME ANYWAY) TO BE QUITE CONCEIVABLE.