Sunday, March 18, 2012

Yaniv's objections

Yesterday I had a Skype discussion with a fellow named Yaniv, who claims to believe in noumena, though by the term I suspect he means something dramatically different from what Kant and others have meant, historically. It is probably best to leave that word behind for now, and try to explain his view using different terminology. Yaniv suggested that we instead posit the existence of mind-independent things, or MITs for short, and that these are no less real than experiences or ideas.

this blog is not dead

Although I have struggled to keep this blog updated, I have not forgotten it completely. However the difficulty of the topic---Berkeleyan idealism---as well as the relative rarity of opportunities for developing my views on it by discussing them with others, has resulted in long dry spells. I hope to rectify this, but in the mean time simply be aware that I will not neglect it completely.

Commentators are especially welcome! Please don't be put off by the fact that some post or another is very old. I do periodically check back, I promise!

Also, I have moved this blog from its previous address to the more aptly-named I will not move it again, however, so feel free to bookmark the new address with confidence.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

thesis (1.3)

We might want to say that, though a well-accepted definition of "cause" remains elusive, we can still talk about causes of various kinds, and even make general statements which are true regardless of the kinds of causes to which we might choose to apply them. This fact seems fairly well-evident; for even if we have some favorite linguistic or metaphysical account of causality, certainly not everyone agrees, and yet we should like to say that those on both sides of the disagreement are able to understand and affirm true statements about causality. Consider for instance a naive speaker of English who has never considered the question of what precisely constitutes a cause: why should we deny that he can wield the language, which includes such terms as "cause" and "effect"? Surely it is not necessary that a speaker must abstractly analyze his speech before he can successfully use it to communicate; otherwise what shall we say, for instance, of young children who are just beginning to learn to form meaningful sentences? So if we wish to deny that naive speakers can speak meaningfully about causal relations, it seems fair to insist on some other reason than simply that he hasn't bothered to lay out an adequate definition of causality.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

theses (1.1) and (1.2) of a planned overview of idealism

Before we can defend idealism, we must define it. To that end, I would like to draw up a number of theses which can perhaps be tied together at some later time. While I hope for all of them to be useful in some way, I cannot guarantee that they will all be necessary for defining idealism. We shall have to wait and see where they lead.

Therefore I offer up the first thesis:
(1.1) Our conception of the material world affords a model of experience.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Response to David M. Armstrong

I wrote a brief response to David M. Armstrong's criticism of Berkeley as found in the editor's introduction to Berkeley's Philosophical Writings (1965, 1980, ISBN 0-02-064170-2).  It's just a brief overview, but I don't know if I'll ever get around to fleshing it out, though, so here it is in its current form.  Feedback is always appreciated!

--Ben Wallis

P.S. The original essay (the one by Armstrong) is also available here.