April 25, 2010

Quote of the Day: Turbayne on Alleged Refutations of Berkeley

The argument [for idealism] achieves [a proof of the external world] in a most ingenious yet simple way, by accepting the sceptical conclusion of one such as Hylas, that all we can ever know of the external world is certain ideas or appearances, and then admitting, as any consistent empiricist must, that these appearances are real. After all, it is a jest to hold, as do the philosophers, that the things we see and touch are mere illusions.[18]

[18] This final step illuminates the irony inherent in Dr. Johnson's notorious ostensive refutation of Berkeley's 'ingenious sophistry', by exclaiming while 'striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it "I refute it thus"'. Such an argument, and also G. E. Moore's celebrated proof of an external world, 'By holding up my two hands and saying, as I make a certain gesture with the right hand, "Here is one hand", and adding, as I make a certain gesture with the left, "and here is another"', amount to nothing but vindications of the empirical realism of Kant and Berkeley.


Colin M. Turbayne, "Kant's Refutation of Dogmatic Idealism", The Philosophical Quarterly 5 (1955): 235

Posted by Kenny at April 25, 2010 9:42 PM
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Comments

I believe the Maverick Philosopher had an article up you'd find interesting, if you've note seen it. Arguing that while Lycan's Moorean refutation of Eliminative Materialism worked, it would not work against Idealism. Seems related to this post.

Posted by: Joseph A. at April 28, 2010 2:42 AM

Interesting. Where is that post at?

I've argued, similarly, that Moore's original 'proof of an external world' might work against skepticism, but not against idealism.

Posted by: Kenny at April 28, 2010 9:07 AM

Here, though some posts followed afterward with Valicella defending his view (Click on the Moore thread on the right side to see.. well, more Moore.)

Posted by: Joseph A. at April 29, 2010 10:39 PM

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