EXERCISE: BERKELEY ON PRIMARY AND SECONDARY QUALITIES
In the First Dialogue between Hylas and Philonous Berkeley gives a
series of arguments to show that various qualities are mind dependent (and
thus not parts of independently existing material substances). You will be
divided into groups. Each group will deal with two arguments. The first of
these will be done by all thegroups, the second will vary from group to group.
What I want you to do is:
- Reconstruct two of these arguments and determine if they have a similar
- Explain in what way these arguments are skeptical or relativistic.
A. Reconstruct both arguments and determine if they have a similar
structure. (The numbers in the following list correspond to the number of
B. Now that you have reconstructed the arguments and compared them, answer the following questions:
- a.Take what I will call the "bucket of water argument" about hot and cold
on Pg. 223--25. List and number the premises, draw a line and write the
conclusion underneath it. b. Reconstruct the argument about taste on Pg. 225
in the same way. c. Compare it with the bucket of water argument. Is the
structure the same or different?
- a. Reconstruct the "bucket of water argument" on Pp. 223-5.
b. Reconstruct the argument about odors on Pg. 225 in the same way.
c. Compare it with the "bucket of water" argument. Is the structure the same
- a.Reconstruct the "bucket of water argument" on Pp. 223--5. b. Reconstruct the argument about sounds of P. 227. c. Compare it with the "bucket of water" argument. Is the structure of the two arguments the same or different?
a. Is there any similarity between these arguments of Berkeley and the arguments a skeptic would give to show that knowledge of X is not possible?
b. What do Berkeley and the skeptic have in common (if anything)? In what ways, if any do they differ?
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Last Updated: 8/96