Philosphy berekly

Dupee, mozilla Philosophy The initial groundwork for Berkeley’s position is the truism that the materialist is a skeptic. In the writing of his three dialogues, Berkeley develops two characters: Hylas (the materialist) and Philonous (Berkeley himself). Philonous draws upon one central supposition of the materialist to formulate his argument of skepticism against him; this idea is that one can never perceive the real essence of anything. In short, the materialist feels that the information received through sense experience gives a representative picture of the outside world (the representative theory of perception), and one can not penetrate to the true essece of an object. This makes logical sense, for the only way to perceive this real essence would be to become the object itself! Although the idea is logical, it does contain a certain grounding for agnosticism. Let the reader consider this: if there is no way to actually sense the true material essence of anything, and all knowledge in empiricism comes from the senses, then the real material essence can not be perceived and therefore it can not be posited. This deserves careful consideration, for the materialist has been self-proclaimed a skeptic! If the believer in this theory were asked if a mythical beast such as a cyclops existed he would most certainly say no. As part of his reply he might add that because it can not be sensed it is not a piece of knowledge. After being enlightened by the above proposed argument, though, that same materialist is logically forced to agree that, because the “material substratum1” itself can not be sensed, its existence can not be treated as knowledge. The materialist belief has, in effect, become as futile as proving that the cyclops exists; his ideas have lead him into skepticism. Having proven that the materialist is, at best, a doubter, Ber…

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