View Full Version : Berkeley, Coherence theory of truth, reality
03-23-2004, 08:18 AM
Recently in my History of Philosophy class, we discussed the works of Berkeley. Now, of course he is best known for his immaterialism....which is mostly a crock as we know. However, I've been thinking. Is there any difference between sensory perceptions and hallucinations for Berkeley?
According to the coherence theory of truth, a proposition consists in its being a member some suitably defined body of other propositions. Well let's think about something. I know, when I'm sitting here, that my computer is in my room. When I leave, I don't necessarily know that it's still in my room. The losers that I unfortunately live with on this floor could have came in and destroyed it for all I know. When I return to my room, my computer is still here. The conclusion could be made the coherence theory of truth is used to understand that my computer is still sitting on my desk in my room. Perhaps the coherent nature of my observations leads me to believe my computer is still in my room.
Now, what about hallucinations. Let's say I hallucinate that a snake is in my room on the floor. When I leave, I do not know that its there. However, when I return its still on the floor. Suppose I come to my conclusion the same way I conclude my computer is in my room.
'Esse est percipi' - Berkeley's "To be is to be perceived." Does that ring true in this situation? Are things "to be" just because they are perceived?
The question is......Is there any difference then between my empirical perceptions and my hallucinations? If so, how do I know?
Give me some feedback.
03-25-2004, 06:33 PM
If you cannot find a way to disprove to your self that the snake is not on the ground then it is on the ground.the universe is only what "I" or one's self percieves it to be.
03-25-2004, 07:55 PM
I think a good way of knowing is if you get bitten by the snake and if you're able to sit down at your computer and play FFR. If actual harm comes to you in the form of a snake bite, then it's probably real.
02-23-2006, 04:46 PM
Newer members, give me some feedback.
02-23-2006, 05:16 PM
lol The Matrix lol
It is basically the same point though... I agree that reality IS perceptions. Or more accurately... what we define as reality is our attempt at organizing our perceptions.
You only assume that the computer is the same because it appears to be the same.... it has the same physical properties, etc. But you can't know that it is the same computer as the one you saw when leaving the room. For all you know... the computer could have been replaced by one exactly identical to it and had all your files/preferences/etc put on it.
Berkely's stance seems similar to a philosopher I had to read for my Personal Identity course named David Hume. Hume was an empiricist, and his conclusion was that personal identity over time was something we invent as a convenient means of connecting similar sense perceptions.
For all practical purposes, such absolutist stances are fairly worthless... but they can't be disproven. There is no way for you to prove that the world exists when you aren't receiving any sensory input from the world.
02-23-2006, 05:33 PM
...why do I remember reading this thread somewhere? Oh, right. 2004.
To be is to be perceived... that could mean a ghost someone swears they saw would be real. Whether or not it is actually real for everyone else, who cares. It is real to that individual, so under that definition it must exist(but only to that person).
But with the case of the snake, if everyone else agrees they see it, then it must be real, right? As long as everyone agrees they are seeing the same thing, then I guess it's there.
Then there's the case of double-image paintings(like the painting of the face of an old woman that is also a young woman). Just because I don't see the young woman doesn't mean it's not there.
I think people overanalyze things all the time. What is perception and reality? How can we prove it? We can't because it's whatever we think it is, not what it actually is. But what's what actually is? Isn't is what we perceive? (I'm just spinning in circles here, btw).
How do I know if the color blue I see isn't the color green for everyone else? Does the universe end? What happens if we travel back in time? Who shot J.R.? It boggles my mind.
02-24-2006, 05:23 AM
Well what do you know, I'm currently in an intro to philosophy class and we just finished discussing Berkeley's Idealism and skepticism and all that. It's kind of interesting, but by the end the arguments were just going in circles around details and it started to bug me. But in any case, here's how I see it.
Our reality consists of everything we perceive through our senses. All of our empirical beliefs stem from this. (That's not to say things cannot exist because we don't perceive them, but in that case they are not part of our little sphere of reality as we understand it.)
Now, consider a situation in which everything we believe is indistiguishable from what we believe right now. You can have really realistic dreams like this; dreams in which nothing you do can prove to you that it is not reality. Even if something illogical happens, the state of mind you are in causes you to make sense of it somehow and you still cannot distinguish it from reality (I'm not saying all dreams are like this, but they certainly do occur). I had a dream just the other day where I was trying to prove to myself that it was real, and I pinched myself, asked a friend, and everything. The pinch hurt (or more likely, my mind was being tricked into believing that it hurt), and my friend told me that this was real. The results of all that led me to believe I was indeed in reality, when of course I wasn't. (If you try a test like "see if the snake can cause harm to you", you still cannot distinguish the situation from reality, because your mind will be tricked into believing everything about the bite that you would believe in reality.)
Dreams are the most plausible scenario for this kind of thing, but theoretically, it is conceptually possible to have a Matrix-like scenario or some other such thing in which reality as we know it is indistinguishable to us from some sort of "higher" reality or whatever. Sure, it seems highly unlikely that we will wake up and realize our entire life was just a long dream, or that we have been pod-people for all this time, but the fact that it is conceptually possible is enough to say that we are unjustified in believing what we think we know.
Still, even though all this says we have no way of being completely certain that what we believe is real actually is real (and then that goes into the definition of "reality"...), that doesn't mean it isn't that way. Of course it's still possible that everything really is exactly how we think it is... but I suppose it's a little arrogant of us to just assume so without the slightest question.
02-24-2006, 11:02 AM
It all stems from labels. Basically to sum up every legit thought already posted here you are the sole proprieter of your reality. You control every aspect of what you perceive and how you interact with it. You call an apple an apple because #1 you were taught that and #2 you accepted it into your reality without much question.
You see/feel/hear the snake as clearly as any other then yes you're gunna believe it's a part of your reality. Even if say, a friend bust in and pondered why you were standing very still looking at your rug, that probably wouldn't shake your belief in the snake's presence. It could be argued that because you know not to trust every thing you see because of the above statements then you should be able to discern between true "reality" and perceived reality (I mean true reality as in the reality of the majority) but as it's well known: Crazy people don't know they're crazy.
I actually find myself wondering sometimes is this REALITY? do I go into the actual corpral world when I'm supposedly asleep? are any of you real, even those I meet face to face? if so and if this is not the corpral world as we think it is, how in fact am I able to interact with you?
great post Corey
02-24-2006, 12:43 PM
The problem is, are you referring to reality in an objective or subjective sense? [And a further problem is, due to the human mind, objective only means.. minimally subjective.]
In an objective sense, we cannot define reality, for reality is not an objective term. Objective reality is an oxymoron. Reality is defined according to your perceptions: And we don't have control over those perceptions. "A snake is on the ground" could be phrased as "A unified collection of atoms working as a single, imperfect, machine inhabits a certain space on perceived matter." The sentence itself implies animals, places, direction, and so much more that's subjective, whatever "objective reality" it possesses [sp?] disfigured by our senses.
To use a metaphor: Just like we are free, but we do not have free will, the snake is on the ground, but only in a certain sense.
Some other philosopher, I think Hume, completely ripped him apart, tore him a whole bushel of new assholes. He explains it much better than I am, after all: The man was brilliant, not just a cuspidor for the thoughts of better men. [like me, I mean]
Berkeley fell to the problem that so many other philosophers managed to avoid: He believed in God, but with a blind faith. At least Descartes, Pascal, etc. believed in God for what they believed were rock solid reasons. Berkeley was a bishop before he delved into philosophy, I believe, and it shows.
03-22-2006, 07:43 PM
truth only consists of what you believe to be true so in theary everbody is living in a different reality truth is only what you believe
always follow the truth and you'll never get lost
03-22-2006, 07:48 PM
to add to the reality part you will never know the answer to your question because there is no such thing as reality because everbody sees something different
ill give you an example an african tribe that is made up intiarlly of blacks and is complaeatly isolated and has never seen the outside of there homes dont you think that it would be very easy for them to think that they are the only people on the planet so it dosent matter you cant answer that question because reality is relative
03-23-2006, 07:05 PM
i think he's on to something
03-25-2006, 08:37 AM
Considering that everything we do is all coming from are minds. Whatever your mind tells you is true, will be true, No mater how much you question it. When you hullicinate you will hullicinate somthing that wouldn't seem right, becuase how else would you know you were hullcinateing. I could hullicinate
a cup on the table but how would i know that was a hullicination. If you see somthing you shouldnt be seeing your brain goes mad, i dont mean mad mad i mean it will overwork itself questioning why your seeing it. Your brian knows when somthing isnt right becuase it will tell you it not right.
"we die, but do we really die?"
"yes we do"
"no you dont get it, you have to contantly question reality and areselfs"
"aahhhhh i see...........but do i really see?"
"your getting it now"
"yea i get it......or do i really get it?"
"Now your just taking the mic"
"yea i am.........................but am i really taking the mic?"
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