Idealism: perception

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  • Idealism
    • Berkeley
      • 'How do we know that there is a material world?'
      • There is no good reason to believe that there is a real world
      • We can only be sure of 3 things
        • Our mind
        • Our ideas
        • God
    • Perceiver ==> perception
    • Denies that there is a real world
    • Scepticism about realist theories as there is a logical gap between reality and perception
    • Idealism and primary/ Secondary properties
      • Both mind dependant and objective
      • Berkeleys attack (secondary qualities)
        • Sensations: we all feel different things, some can find a room hot, others may find it cold
        • Taste: we all taste things differently, some like the taste of coffee, others dont
        • Perceptions are relative (primary and secondary qualities)
          • Colour: based on the angle/light, the colour of an object can appear different
          • Speed: to someone watching a train, they look like they are moving fast, to a person on the train, they are stationary
    • Idealism and God
      • Berkeley: an object has 'real being' as long as it is perceived by the mind
        • God is omniscient and therefore all real beings exist in the mind of God
          • God tells us what the world is like based on our ideas
            • We have free will as God does not influence our choices, he just provides the perceptions
    • The master argument
      • It is impossible for something to exist without being perceived: to be is to be percieved
      • If we cannot imagine what something is like, then we cannot say that it exists
    • Evaluation
      • Strengths
        • The world is as it appears
          • we are experiencing ideas directly in our minds, so if something is blue it is because my ideas say it is
            • Solves the problem of scepticism because objects are mind dependant
        • Empiricism
          • We cannot prove nor disprove the real world, but we can understand the world through primary and secondary qualities
            • What there is, is all that we can experience
      • Weaknesses
        • It is 'absurd': it goes against our intuitions that there is nothing but ideas and no physical world
        • Leads to solipsism
          • What about other minds? this is the idea that only oneself and their mind exists
        • Role played by God
          • not everyone believes in God and it is intellectually dishonest to use God as a way to solve problems with idealism
          • God is an idea in our minds, so we cannot prove his existance
        • Other issues
          • Regularity of the universe
          • Illusions, hallucinations and dreams
          • Continued existance

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