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Chapter 3-2

Bill Stone

on 7 February 2017

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Transcript of Senses

Overheard in 18th century England: “Did you hear that George Berkeley died?
His girlfriend stopped seeing him.”
Berkeley’s girlfriend
If a man says something and no woman hears it . . .
Is he still wrong?
Sexist humor
If a tree falls in the woods,
and no one hears it,
does it make a sound?
Not if it lands on a bunch of pillows!!
Silly Humor
Ultimate reality is mental or spiritual in nature.
It is made up of many minds
It is non physical
All objects are mind-dependent collections
To be is to be perceived
Subjective Idealism
Berkeley thought Locke’s representative realism was dangerous
Berkeley thought that even Locke’s primary qualities were subjective
George Berkeley on the Representation of Reality
If we experience only our experiences (and not reality), how can we be sure we know anything about the real world?
Before the development of sentient creatures on the planet Earth, there were no colors, no sound, no odors. There were no experiences because there were no experiencers.
Pragmatic Nature of Knowing
We live in an epistemological shell with no doors
The fallacy of objectification is a constant temptation
We have all lived in a condition of confusion regarding the location of object/events
Epistemic Loneliness
“If we arbitrarily divide the range of all electromagnetic wave radiation into sixty “octaves,” then visually we can perceive only a single octave, from about 3800 to 7200 angstrom units.”
“It is a bit unnerving to realize how little physical reality we humans perceive, and how many more realms of reality exist beyond our perceptual range that other creatures naturally know and use.” (Ex.bat’s radar system)
Sensory Limitations and Reality
The Mind Manufactures Experience
Consider vision as a paradigm for the transduction process of all our senses
What are “light waves”?
How much can we trust the senses?
How much do the senses lie to us?
Is there any way we can “get around” them and find out what is really going on in the world beyond our sense?
Berkeley eliminates the problem of how the mind relates to the body.
His notion of space & time are relative
Experiences are mental events provided by God.
Mind - Body
Sensory objects are present to us in sense experience
What is present to us in sense experience consists solely of our ideas
Ideas exist solely in our minds
Therefore, sensible objects exist solely in our minds
Mental Dependency of Ideas
We can only know what reality is like in our ideas.
God directly gives us experience without intermediate step of external physical matter.
If a tree falls in the woods,
and no one hears it,
does it make a sound?
Experience = Knowledge of Reality
Can not know about world outside our own private experience.
George Berkeley

Is the grapefruit yellow?
“Language captures and crystallizes our perceptions, whether or not those perceptions are correct.”
Our Senses Deceive
Our senses constitute our interface – the boundary of contact between two adjacent realms – with reality
Transducer – any substance or device that converts one form of energy into another different form of energy
We Never See the Real World
Full transcript