... eve through sense experience. Just as these objects do not possess any primary or secondary qualities, they also can not have the ability to cause change in something else. In fact, these tertiary qualities are also ideas perceived only in the mind. Given that objects are ideas and humans possess minds to perceive them with, the nature of both ideas and minds deserves careful consideration. Berkeley assumes the view that ideas are passive and only perceivable in a mind.
He goes on to state that these ideas are existent only when a mind is perceiving them. This is logical, for when something is not being ruminated upon it does not exist in the realm of knowledge at that particular time. As an example, if I were to move to another country and, after some time, forget about my old house in America, it would not exist to me anymore. In accordance with the im materialists' view, my actively perceiving mind would be electing not to reflect back upon the past. Thus, only the active mind can create the purely passive idea. Since an idea only exists when it is being perceived or reflected upon, this brings into question the nature of reality.
For instance, assume that a person attends an art museum early on Sunday morning. As that person views the artwork, the paintings themselves are sensible things, or ideas, actively being perceived by a mind; in short, they exist. However, when the museum closes and the person goes home, does the artwork continue to exist? Obviously the person pursues other activities of the day, and he ceases to think about what he did earlier. However, at a certain time those paintings were part of what the person knew to be true through sensation; the artwork was part of the person's reality. Do the paintings therefore cease to exist since they are no longer being thought of? Berkley argues that such objects still exist because the mind of God is always perceiving them. Unlike the materialists' view, the im materialist puts God at the center of his views.
In truth, God is the 'omnipresent external mind which knows and comprehends all things, and exhibits them to our view in such a manner and according to such rules as He Himself has ordained and are by us termed the " laws of nature.' 4' It is important to stress the idea that God shows people the ideas in his mind, and these ideas make up the reality beheld by the human mind. Therefore, for any person to perceive something, the idea must be in the mind of God first. The fact that there are two distinct minds raises questions about the nature of these minds. The idealist proclaims that the human mind is strictly finite init's ability to have sense experience.
With this being the case, a person can only have a single sensation at a time. Since sensations are the same as ideas, humans can only have one idea at once. On the other hand, God's mind is infinite and is thus able to have multiple perceptions. These perceptions of God are also ideas, and it follows that these ideas comprise the reality beheld in the finite human mind. Instead of the materialists' belief in the representative theory of perception, where a material object has real (primary) qualities which humans perceive as sensible (secondary) qualities, Berkeley has posited an alternate theory.
This is that God upholds all of the ideas which comprise human reality, and people perceive these ideas as sensations directly from God's infinite mind. It should also be noted that just as the finite mind is different from the infinite mind, the ideas in each mind have some certain distinctions. The finite mind can only contemplate a limited range of thoughts. To illustrate this, let the reader attempt to imagine an infinite number of stars. After some intellection, the reader will realize that it is an impossible task.
This is because the human mind can only think in terms of bounded entities; thus, in the above mentioned case, the reader may have thought of a great many stars. However, the stars were finite in number and could therefore not represent the notion of infinity. In short, the finite mind can only conceive finite thoughts. Not only this, but, as previously discussed, humans can perceive only one thought at a time.
If the reader does not think this to be the case, then let her attempt to imagine a small boy and a thunderstorm as completely separate ideas. Although both ideas may be thought of, the only way for this to occur is when they a replaced in the same mental picture. In summary, the human mind has important limits which can easily be observed. On the contrary, the infinite mind of God is limitless in its ability to perceive ideas. In God's mind, an infinite thought (a thought without boundaries) can exist. This infinite idea's existence in God's mind is more that possible; it must necessarily be the case.
This is because infinite concepts such as the number system and the universe must come from, as do all thoughts, a mind. However, since the human mind is finite and therefore incapable of conceiving boundless thoughts, then those infinite ideas must arise from the infinite mind of God. Not only does God's mind contain infinite thoughts, but it also must possess the ability to think of, in the least, many thoughts at once. This is necessarily the case for the collection of God's ideas which people call reality to exist; if God did not have this ability then external objects would not exist when the finite mind was not perceiving them.
Thus far the im materialist position has been considered in its parts; at this point it shall be viewed as one simple model. Let the reader picture an isosceles triangle which is divided into three parts: the top, middle, and bottom. At the apex of the figure is God's infinite mind. The middle portion of the triangle is occupied by the finite minds of people.
Lastly, the bottom section contains the ideas perceived by humans. Because God is at the pinnacle of the figure, He also perceives the ideas that people do. However, since the human mind is finite, it can not conceive of the infinite ideas in God's mind at the apex of the triangle. Now, the concepts of either perceiving or being perceived can be added to the picture.
Both the top and middle portions of the figure are minds, so both of these sections are perceives. At the bottom of the model are ideas, and since they do not act of their own volition, they are perceived. As previously shown, perceives are active and the perceived is passive. Lastly, the concept of existence can be applied to the triangle. Since existence is that which is either perceived or perceives 5, and each part of the model has been shown to meet one of these criteria, then the entire triangle must be considered to exist.
In the final analysis, it is evident that Berkley's im materialist position is logically feasible. From his definitions of minds and ideas to his careful attribution of their respective qualities, George Berkeley has produced a compelling argument for his views. However, this is not all that he has done; in fact, Berkeley has shown the necessary importance of God. In the materialist view, a belief in God is not logically necessary to uphold the 'material substratum 2.' Berkeley shows that God must exist, for He is at the heart of Berkeley's position.
In short, the materialist view allows for atheism as a possible option. Notes. George Berkeley. 'Three Dialogues Between Hy las and Philo nous.' Reason and Responsibility. Ed. Joel Feinberg p.
175. 2. Berkeley, p. 165. 3. Berkeley, p.
165. 4. Berkeley, p. 191. 5. Berkeley, p.