Berkeley's and Hume's Philosophy About God Essay

1565 Words Feb 11th, 2008 7 Pages
Berkeley's and Hume's Philosophy about God

When people think about empiricists, they usually discuss views of great philosophers such as George Berkeley and David Hume. Empiricists believe that all knowledge comes from the senses. Rationalists, on the other hand, believe that we can gain knowledge through the inspection of innate ideas. Although Berkeley and Hume are both empiricists, they still have different opinions about the existence of God. Berkeley's philosophy uses God as the central figure in his metaphysical system. However, Hume uses scientific observation to postulate his theories and he does not rely on God to support his arguments. I will argue that Hume's Philosophy is stronger then Berkeley's
George Berkeley was an
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He says that some of our ideas are not real, such as ideas that come from our imagination or memory. The way we can distinguish real ideas from false ideas, is that real things are more clear and vivid. Berkeley says that real ideas come to us unmeditated and because they are involuntary, we can not control them as we please. From this idea, Berkeley suggests that there must be some higher being that controls the sensation and ideas we have. He concludes by saying that this higher being must be God.
This view places God as the ultimate perceiver because an object does not exist if I perceive it; it only exists if God perceives it. Everything exists because it is being perceived and continues to be perceived in God's mind. However, God allows us to view and experience his ideas through sensations. Although all ideas come from God, Berkeley still argues that "none of these things has a mind-independent existence out in the world" (Goldstein). The problem with Berkeley's metaphysical system is that he relies and retreats to God only when he needs him and does not actually prove the existence of God. He merely states that since our sensations are not caused by us, they must be caused by God. This view is weak and not very persuasive because Berkeley concludes that there can be no other reasonable explanation for ideas, therefore it must have been God that put them in our minds.
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