Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Speussipus, Noam Chomsky and George Berkeley

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4 ideas

7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 4. Abstract Existence
Abstract ideas are impossible [Berkeley]
     Full Idea: We have, I think, shown the impossibility of Abstract Ideas.
     From: George Berkeley (The Principles of Human Knowledge [1710], Intro 21)
     A reaction: He achieves this by an attack on universals, offering the nominalist view that there are only particulars. There seems to be a middle ground, where universals don't actually exist, but there are settled conventional abstraction, beyond particulars.
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 5. Reason for Existence
I do not believe in the existence of anything, if I see no reason to believe it [Berkeley]
     Full Idea: It is to me a sufficient reason not to believe the existence of anything, if I see no reason for believing it.
     From: George Berkeley (Three Dialogues of Hylas and Philonous [1713], II p.205)
     A reaction: This may just be a reasonable application of Ockham's Razor, but I fear that Berkeley painted himself into corner by demanding too many 'reasons' for everything.
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 6. Criterion for Existence
I know that nothing inconsistent can exist [Berkeley]
     Full Idea: I know that nothing inconsistent can exist.
     From: George Berkeley (Three Dialogues of Hylas and Philonous [1713], III p.224)
     A reaction: Fine, but the problem is to assess with confidence what is inconsistent. Human imagination seems to be the test for existence. But what else can we do?
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 3. Anti-realism
Berkeley does believe in trees, but is confused about what trees are [Berkeley, by Cameron]
     Full Idea: I think that we should consider Berkeley as believing in trees; we should simply claim that he has false beliefs about what trees are.
     From: report of George Berkeley (The Principles of Human Knowledge [1710]) by Ross P. Cameron - Truthmakers, Realism and Ontology 'Realism'
     A reaction: I can be realist about spots before my eyes, or a ringing in my ears, but be (quite sensibly) unsure about what they are, so Cameron's suggestion sounds plausible.