George Berkeley’s Understanding of Philosophy of Information

George Berkeley’s Understanding of Philosophy of Information

June 27, 2021 Off By Felso

Berkeley, like his predecessor Locke, argued that everything we perceive directly and unmediated is ideas in our own minds, that there are no innate thoughts, that all our ideas are the result of perceptual experience, and that our knowledge derives from ideas we have through sense experience. There is only one exception here for knowledge derived from ideas: knowledge of spiritual beings or of one’s own self.

According to Berkeley, I cannot be said to have an idea of ​​my own mind or me, since I have no direct perceptual experience of my own mind or me, but only perceive directly and unmediatedly the various qualities or activities of my mind.

However, it cannot be concluded from this that it is meaningless to talk about the mind or me. For, in addition to an infinite number of ideas, there is something that knows and perceives these ideas, and in addition to activities such as perceiving, willing, imagining and remembering, there is an active being that performs these activities, which is the mind or the soul or the self.

Even though it would be contradictory to speak of ideas as things that exist by themselves independently of the human mind or an act of perception, it is conceivable that objects with qualities similar to our ideas of primary qualities exist independently of the human mind. To this idea Berkeley responds that an idea can only resemble another idea, whereas a sound or a shape can only resemble another sound or another shape, and nothing else. Moreover, according to him, we can never know whether the ideas in our minds resemble the qualities of objects, because everything that we perceive immediately is our own ideas, and since our ideas and the qualities resembling these ideas are different in principle from each other, we cannot compare our ideas with these similar qualities.

While still in Trinity College, Berkeley had studied Locke and Malebranche and began to suspect the existence of matter substance. In his work Towards a New Theory of Vision, he focused on extension, which is the fundamental characteristic of material substance, and attempted to show experimentally how the perception of space is formed in the senses of sight and touch. According to him, the connections of the senses of sight and touch are not a logical necessity, but come only from habit. The conclusion drawn from this is that the primary qualities, which are accepted as objective in Locke, are also subjective like the secondary qualities. That is, they do not actually exist in the object. It is the human mind that attributes these to objects like secondary qualities. Thus, Berkeley rejects Locke’s distinction between primary and secondary qualities and accepts only secondary qualities.

Berkeley concludes from this that all our knowledge is factually dependent on seeing and other sensory experiences. We can never perceive space or size. When we look at an object, we have different views or perceptions from different perspectives. We do not see distance. The distance of objects is suggested by our experience. What we see consists of the qualities of objects as far as our sense of sight can perceive. Nor do we perceive the proximity of an object; When we go towards it or move away from it, we have different views of it.

Thus, our objective understanding of space is not realized. For this reason, we are far from perceiving the object purely: For example, when we look at the paper in front of us, what do we actually perceive with the sense of sight? It is a pure white surface. Is this white surface, the only object of our perception, an objective thing independent of our perceptual equipment? If it were, there should be no change in color in light changes; Again, it should not look different when we look closely and look different when we look from a distance. So this white surface is nothing but our own sensation. Thus, this mental content-ide becomes the only object of our sensory perception.

Berkeley rejected Locke’s distinction of primary and secondary qualities, arguing that there are only secondary qualities.

In this case, Berkeley first asks the question of what kind of relationship is there between the work of the mind and the objects outside the mind. And he asserts that he is absolutely sure that he has not discovered any object independent of his own ideas; When we grasp the existence of external bodies, we do nothing but think entirely of our own ideas. Nothing seems easier than imagining trees in a park or books on a table, with no one looking at them.

But is all this nothing more than certain ideas that we realize to be found in our minds, which we call trees and books? And can we also say that we were not thinking or perceiving them at the time? It is impossible to even think of anything except that it is related to a mind, it has a certain perception for us.