Berkeley’s Philosophy Essays Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Theory, Perception, Power, Passage, Value, Materialism, Sense, Karl Marx

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2021/01/10

Following the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines

George Berkeley’s Treatise, and the passage being discussed, sought specifically to undo all John Locke had set forth to establish. The passage itself attempts to explain how the inner workings of our minds, as well as our perceptions help establish the outside world. In a sense, Berkeley sought to explain and prove the outside world’s physical beings, entities, or bodies, were based solely on our inner sensibilities and perceptions. These individual outer bodies had no impact on one another without us having an idea about it. Berkeley’s passage acknowledges the only true power in the things that make up our external world is the power we give them within our minds. We perceive them to be something that contains power or hold sway over our lives, therefore, they take on that power.
The account, as stated, is a direct criticism of philosophers such as John Lock, who prided themselves on materialist thinking. Locke involved his philosophies with a sense of gathering. An individual had the right to the land they worked; they had the right to own property. Locke also speaks about an individual’s rights, as if they are a physical thing to be held and turned over in one’s hand. It is all materialistic, and based on power. However, Locke contradicts himself, basing many of his philosophies on materialism, and then attempting to shed the title by stating all people are born a blank slate, and should have the same chance at gaining the same things in life. Berkeley attempts to state firmly that there is simply nothing to gain. We only think there is, because we have placed value on certain things. We allow society to dictate value. Locke privatized the right to own land, giving it value. Granted, owning land was a hot commodity long before Locke said anything about it, but he made it valuable to the commoner. Berkeley recognizes land is only land, and it is only seen as valuable based on our perception. If we did not see it as something to own, and did not recognize ownership, or even materialism, as something to be sought after as a piece of the sociological hierarchy, there would be no reason to seek it. Essentially, the passage criticizes materialism because determines that we set standards for what material things are worth; they are not just worth that.
It is easy today with the scientific research we have at hand, to say that the argument presented by Berkeley was enough to put the Corpuscularianism argument to rest. The Corpuscularian Theory of Perception involves corpuscles, which were postulated to be larger than atoms. Atoms were to be too small to see. Corpuscles, however, were big enough to see, and were to be divisible. Newton eventually combined the theory with alchemy, believing Corpuscularianism could be used, particularly with mercury, when inserted into metal to change the metal’s appearance. The central belief of the theory is that physical matter has both a primary and a secondary form, both of which could be viewed by the perceiving mind under the right circumstances. Of course, this theory is incorrect. We know now it is not true and that it and the postulations aligning with alchemy are false. At the time of its hypothesis, however, it was not an adequate argument against Corpuscularianism. In fact, Berkeley’s argument appears to align somewhat perfectly with the theory. Berkeley proposes physical matter holds the value that we give it, but also that it is perceived how we perceive it. In a sense, he insinuates all matter around us is viewed in varying ways depending on the individual. Corpuscularianism was not so bold, but it did suggest matter could be reconfigured, and our perception of it could be changed. While the theory does not state perceptions of matter vary from person to person, both ideas are similar by suggesting that our perceptions are not wholly what they appear to be in our mind’s eye, and that sometimes we cannot trust what we see, but must look deeper. Therefore, Berkeley’s Treatise, at the time, was not an effective argument against the Corpuscularian Theory of Perception.

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WePapers. (2021, January, 10) Berkeley’s Philosophy Essays Example. Retrieved June 30, 2022, from
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Berkeley’s Philosophy Essays Example. Free Essay Examples - Published Jan 10, 2021. Accessed June 30, 2022.

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