Phl 302
Dr. Uzgalis
Winter 1996


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READING GUIDE: BERKLEY

Brief answers to 2 and 6 are due in class on ...

The First Dialogue between Hylas and Philonous

  1. On pp. 217-19 Hylas and Philonous start discussing skepticism and its relation to the doctrine of material substance or matter. Why does Hylas think Philonous a skeptic? How does Philonous go about meeting this challenge?

  2. On p. 220 Philonous makes a distinction between things perceived immediately and things perceived mediately. How does Philonous use this distinction in defining "sensible things"? What follows about the causes of sensations?

  3. On p. 221 Hylas asserts that to exist is one thing while to be perceived is another. Philonous uses the example of great heat to begin his attack on the independent existence of material substances. How does this argument go? What role do pleasure and pain play in this argument? On p. 223 he extends the argument to other degrees of heat and to cold. Why does Philonous use the example of a hot and cold hand put into the same vessel of water? What is the point of the example of the pain of the pin pricking the finger on p. 225?

  4. On p. 225 Hylas acknowledges that heat and cold are only sensations existing in our minds, but he continues "there remain qualities enough to secure the reality of external things." How does Philonous respond to this point? On p. 225 Philonous takes up tastes, on p. 226 odors, and on p. 227 sounds. Do any of these cases add anything new to the argument? If so what?

  5. Hylas tries to hold the line with color. "Pardon me," he says, " the case of colours is very different. Can any thing be plainer, than that we see them on the objects? How does Philonous respond? What is the distinction between real and apparent color? What is the relevance of microscopy to this distinction? --jaundice? Finally, Hylas is led to maintain that light is an external material substance? Why? How does Philonous respond?

  6. On p. 233 Hylas makes the distinction between primary and secondary qualities. What does adopting this distinction do for Hylas? What strategy does Philonous propose to follow in dealing with this distinction. On p. 234 Philonous takes up extension. What role does the mite play in this argument? --microscopy? Philonous continues with motion and solidity on p. 236. Is there anything new to the argument here?

  7. On p. 237 Hylas makes a distinction between absolute and sensible extension and motion. What is this distinction? How does Philonous respond? What does Philonous mean when he says on p. 239 that "I cannot frame abstract ideas at all?" What role does this attack on abstraction play in the attack on the primary/secondary quality distinction?

  8. On p. 240 Hylas begins to consider what slips he may have made in the argument. He begins by saying he did not sufficiently distinguish between a object and sensation. How does Philonous respond? What does the distinction between active and passive roles in perception contribute to this response?

  9. On. p. 242 Hylas introduces the notion of a material substratum and later substance as a support for qualities. How does Philonous respond to this suggestion? On p. 244 Hylas suggests that while ideas singly may be mind dependent, when combined into groups they may exist outside the mind. How does Philonous respond? What role does the thought experiment about a tree or house supposed existing independently of the mind play in this response? On p. 246 Hylas considers that if objects exist in the mind then our senses deceive us because "they suggest something of outnes or distance." How does Philonous respond?

  10. On p. 248 Hylas expounds the representative theory of perception. Ideas are perceived immediately, while real, external objects are perceived through the mediation of ideas. How does Philonous respond? What role does the principle that it is imposible that any thing but an idea can be like an idea play in this response?

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