Berkeley's Subjective Idealism

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Different philosophers have different ontologies, for instance some philosophers, such as Locke, believe that objects have primary and secondary qualities and that those objects exist independent of our mind and are composed of a substance that they call “matter”. Berkeley’s “subjective idealist” ontology, which may seem unreasonable to most at first, is strong enough to counter most objections. The main thesis of this essay will be presenting Berkeley’s ontology and what he argues for, explaining his claims and conclusion, followed by an objection and a reply for Berkeley to the objection.

In order to understand Berkeley’s argument and where it comes from it is important to analyze the ideologies of at least one of his predecessors. For
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And so, all the things we perceive are ideas and objects are a collection of ideas. He also believes that there must be something distinct that knows and perceives these ideas, he refers to it as “mind”, “spirit” or “soul”. And so Berkeley contends that there are no such things that are material, he thinks that objects such as mountains, rivers, tables only “exist” because we perceive them or because they are perceived by other spirits, he goes on to argue that all the objects listed above are perceived through senses and that we only perceive our own ideas and sensations, hence these objects couldn’t exist unperceived. He objects to the fact that there are things, objects that exist without being perceived, because he believes that to “exist” is to be perceived, so objects couldn’t possibly be out of the mind that perceives them. In order to support his theory, one of his arguments is that you can’t separate in your own thoughts the existence of a perceptible thing from its being perceived, he goes on to argue that it is impossible for us to conceive of a copy or resemblance unless it is between two ideas, because the only thing an idea can resemble is another idea. Berkeley counter argues Locke’s epistemology, by saying that primary qualities cannot be conceived as separate from secondary qualities, which relate to the senses, therefore they both exist in
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