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Berkeley and the Ineffable.pdf


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THOMAS

BERKELEY

AND

M.

LENNON

THE

INEFFABLE

of what he took to be its moral
and religious
implications,
was
about
the
concerned
of his
very
proper
Berkeley
interpretation
work. For one thing, he tried to indicate how the various notable parts
of what he was trying to refute fit together. With
respect to what will
concern me here, Berkeley
rests on the theory
tells us that materialism
of abstract ideas, and that this theory in turn rests on a certain view of
Berkeley's
language. Despite
lengthy insistence on these connections
to the Principles,
in the introduction
the literature
has generally
Because

to ignore them. My thesis is that Berkeley
is right about these
and that taking them seriously offers a philosophically
and
to
was
of
what
up
historically
interesting
interpretation
Berkeley
what he was rejecting as materialism.
To make
specifically
concerning
out this thesis, I shall follow a course opposite
to Berkeley's,
beginning
to
that Berkeley
with an argument
regards as his ultimate objection
to
and
then
abstract
ideas
and
I'll
materialism,
only
turning
language.
not insist on the foundations
image of one thing resting on another.
abstract
ideas,
My aim is to show that the three issues of materialsm,
are (to change
and language
from
of a piece woven
the metaphor)
the same question. The question
of Cartesian
is the very possibility
a metaphysics
to Berkeley
and Lockean metaphysics,
which according
chosen

connections

cannot

even

be

expressed.1

1.

THE

MASTER

ARGUMENT

was prepared,
at least in the person of his spokesman
in the
Berkeley
on a single argument,
to stake his entire position
Three Dialogues,
which for this reason has recently been dubbed his Master Argument.
of the way
The argument
the first
appears
three-quarters
through
a
which
the
of
has
materialism,
proponent
dialogue,
point by
Hylas,
to admit that one aspect after another of a reality he
been forced
the mind
in fact exists only in the mind. Since
thought existed outside
that
for
exist only in the mind because
colors,
Hylas agreed
example,
under
he was forced to agree
conditions,
vary
they
varying perceptual
Synthese 75 (1988) 231-250.
?

1988

by Kluwer

Academic

Publishers.