Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Berkeley's arguments in the first of Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous for the claim that the objects of immediate perception are existentially dependent on the mind perceiving them are examined. This claim is central to Berkeley's idealism, since once he has established it, he uses it as the basis from which to argue that apart from minds nothing exists but what these minds immediately perceive.;The first section is an examination of Berkeley's grounds for limiting objects of immediate perception to sensible qualities. The next three sections provide an account of the three arguments which Berkeley employs in his attempt to convince the materialist of the central claim that sensible qualities are existentially dependent on the mind perceiving them. In section 2, it is concluded that this the Argument from Perceptual Relativity plays no positive role in Berkeley's case for the central claim. In sections 3 and 4, the Argument from the Causal Theory of Perception and the Identity Argument (based on the claim that there is no distinction between hedonic sensations and sensible qualities) are considered. It is concluded that these arguments are used by Berkeley in his case for the central claim, but that they can only play this role because they involve the assumption that there is no distinction in immediate perception between the act of awareness and the object of awareness. This assumption is defended in an argument found later in the First Dialogue (the Flower Argument), which I also examine in section 3. In section 5, Berkeley's so-called Master Argument is considered. The conclusion drawn is that the Master Argument involves the assumption that in conception, there is no distinction between the act of awareness and the object of awareness.;The principal conclusion of this thesis is that Berkeley's case for the central claim that the objects of immediate perception are existentially dependent on the mind perceiving them rests on the assumption, defended in the Flower Argument, that there is no distinction between acts of awareness and objects of awareness.
Woolcott, Glen, "Berkeley's Idealism: Arguments Of The First Dialogue" (1996). Digitized Theses. 2646.