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Existence of the Material World

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    Sooner28posted 3 years ago

    Bishop Berkeley makes this argument (simplified) to argue against the existence of an external material world.

    1.  "Material objects" are simply collections of "sensible qualities" (sensory data).

    2.  Sensible qualities are mind-dependent.

    3.  Therefore, material objects are mind-dependent. (1,2).

    4.  Therefore, there is no external material world. (3).

    I am really looking for people with science backgrounds to give me their objections to premise 1 and 2.  However,  if anyone has a good argument against Berkeley's premises, aside from, "He is crazy," or, "I don't like that conclusion," then feel free to make it!  I want more clarity on this argument.

    I'm also not a Berkeley expert, so I refer you to this source- http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/berkeley/

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      riddle666posted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Interesting!(though Descartes in another form)
      I too have been plagued by this for years. My take was a little different. It's like this. Suppose an adult with all faculties except for the absence of all sense organs weer born, what would happen? What will he think? For him, there is no world. He does not even move because he doesn't know he is standing. He will not even feel any movements and all he knows is that of a consciousness of self, with darkness all around.
      So if that was the case, as Berkeley argues, then what are we seeing? From where did we got the perfect shapes that we see(using only one sense for simplification)? Are we hallucinating? Without any prior sensation or awareness we can't have any knowledge of material world. As there is no way of having any knowledge, we should not see any. But as we see(which can be prevented by placing my own hand in front of my eyes), then there is only one reason, there is one. So, we can only define existence(for in the end it is a question of semantics rather than properly formulated arguments), cannot depend on "experience".
      PS: I presume he put forward the argument for god. If his is the case, if no material world is outside, then I am the sole person existing and even god is my mere thought. I AM the ETERNAL BEING.

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        Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Berkeley says they come from God tongue.  Annoying huh?

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          riddle666posted 3 years ago in reply to this

          He is refuting his own argument, if there is no material thing 'outside',either god is only inside my mind(concept), or god is non-material and merely a concept(again inside my mind).
          In short, I am god.

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            Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Well we are part of the mind of God!

            I just wish he hadn't brought God into it.

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              riddle666posted 3 years ago in reply to this

              No that was not his argument. His argument is there is no material thing outside mind.[mind is a product of matter, for mind too is a concept]. So to be part of god's mind, there should be a continuous matter which can form at least two minds(like it is said of the dinosaurs of yore that it has a nerve center near the tail to control). There is nothing outside my mind, and I can have only one mind(his argument), so god cannot be outside my mind, so god is a concept.
              Rather he is making an argument where there is none by cleverly hiding his premises and by getting away without any definition. That is all his argument is centered on the vagueness of the term "mind".

    2. PhoenixV profile image79
      PhoenixVposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I think its a deductive fallacy.

      We have perception of physical objects. For instance,  someone that is color blind has a slightly different perception of an object as opposed to a majority of observers. The object has not changed in any way to suit the observer.  Perceptions vary, however the object remains the same. Because people have perception, and indeed various perceptions of the same object,

      2 it could be said that "perception is mind dependent"

      3  but NOT  "the objects themselves being perceived".

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        Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Interesting take.

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        riddle666posted 3 years ago in reply to this

        His 1st premise is false -""Material objects" are simply collections of "sensible qualities" (sensory data).".
        It is not material objects but the perception of material objects, which is the "sensible qualities". An object exist by the definition of "exist", not by our sensation of it.

        1. PhoenixV profile image79
          PhoenixVposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          An object exist by the definition of "exist".


          How long is that true?

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            riddle666posted 3 years ago in reply to this

            I'm not saying it is not a deductive fallacy,  I forgot to put the too after 'his first premise is false'.


            Simple, define 'exist', you will know that existence has nothing to do with perception while Berkeley's argument is centred on perception.

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        riddle666posted 3 years ago in reply to this

        They(Augustine, Berkeley, Plantiga....) are trying to make premises from their accepted conclusion, god exists, rather than forming the premises and derive conclusions from that.
        I wonder why they are deliberately trying to deceive!!
        Most people are more happy to be deceived than face reality, may be that explains.

    3. psycheskinner profile image81
      psycheskinnerposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      1.  "Material objects" are simply collections of "sensible qualities" (sensory data).

      Material objects are collections of atoms in various configurations

      2.  Sensible qualities are mind-dependent.

      These atoms are not mind-dependent

      3.  Therefore, material objects are mind-dependent. (1,2).

      N/A

      4.  Therefore, there is no external material world. (3).

      N/A

      1. A Thousand Words profile image80
        A Thousand Wordsposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Thank you psycheskinner.

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        Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

        So can you describe the atoms without using any human sensory data?  And if you think you are being scientific... http://discovermagazine.com/2009/may/01 … ace-cosmos

        Further, you can't deny premise 2.  Pleasure and pain don't exist outside of a mind.  You would only be denying premise 1.

    4. Don W profile image85
      Don Wposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I knew this argument reminded me of something. Probability waves in quantum physics. The idea that an electron is only a probability wave and does not exist in any specific position until it is observed and the probability wave is collapsed. Did Berkeley arrive at a conclusion that science is only now able to confirm through experiment?

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        Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Perhaps so!  Wouldn't that be amazing...Though I think Berkeley would have to be reworked to make him completely jive with "probability waves," he was pretty close.

        http://discovermagazine.com/2009/may/01 … ace-cosmos  Maybe something like this?

  2. Zelkiiro profile image84
    Zelkiiroposted 3 years ago

    This hypothesis is silly. If I clock you in the back of the head with a pipe, and you didn't know I was coming, how does your brain know to react to it if the pipe doesn't *really* exist?

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      Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

      It exists because you perceive it.

      1. PhoenixV profile image79
        PhoenixVposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        He did not conjure the pipe. It had to objectively exist, to find and use.

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          Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Nope.  God caused it to exist.  Berkeley actually says at one point he is comfortable with saying we are perceiving God's perceptions.

          It's quite strange.

          1. PhoenixV profile image79
            PhoenixVposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Yep, whether the pipe is concurrently generated by aliens,  God  or a machine does not whimsically negate its reality.

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              Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

              Of course not.  He is just arguing everything is mental.  Berkeley specifically says mountains and rivers do EXIST, just not outside of a perceiver.

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            riddle666posted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Actually he is very primitive, because psalms says 'we are god'. Also before him  Mansoor Al-Hallaj and Upanishads said the same thing - "I AM GOD". He is yet to evolve ! wink

          3. PhoenixV profile image79
            PhoenixVposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Even in the scenario of -  a reality we observe as in a God - Inception- Matrix type thingy where we are inside a dream or w/e, I think an error in deduction would remain.

            In the above case-  we are perceiving God's perceptions.

            Would we not be "perceptions perceiving God's perceptions.? Instead?

            Refuting a subjective idealism; ie  suggesting that "anything" including the mind does not exist.

            Berkeley's assumption is that he survives in his own premises.

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              Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

              No!.  Berkeley said that minds exist.  I know it seems like cheating right?

 
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