I just got done with my history of modern philosophy class a couple weeks ago, so this is relatively fresh in my mind. Berkeley runs into a problem between God and volition, which Hume addresses in Book VIII (maybe IX?) of An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding. If God is responsible for our ideas, then God must be responsible for evil. But if evil is a defect, then God would not be perfect since he gives us defective ideas. Thus, God couldn't be responsible for our ideas of evil.
Yes, I've read this criticism. I suppose one could use Leibniz's explanation of the best of all possible worlds, that if evil ideas are perceived, then evil ideas are necessary for us on the whole
, and would not be considered evil when considered in their full context.
That said, Berkeley's external mind does not really warrant an all-powerful, good God, but simply supports it if you already believed in it. As per my above criticism, I suspect that the inconsistency in infering an external mind despite rejecting induction of a material world is probably a means to squeeze God in by hand. I'm less bothered by the theological problem his idea of God causes than the inconsistency and justifiability of the method.
I think Berkeley would have been more effective by doing away with both God and the material world, leaving only ideas. Berkeley cannot account for both agency and God, which leads to many contradictions in his system.
Exactly. But I think Berkeley was against idealism. The ideas we perceive must be our perceptions of them only, not actual independently existing ideas. I find the idea that all minds create and perceive ideas much more powerful.
I worked through some thought experiments and it seems to hold up better than the external mind so long as we make all created ideas in principle
available to other minds.
For instance, if you create the idea of a red ball in a room (i.e. you place a red ball in a room), and I seem to enter the room, I perceive your idea (since you still perceive it too) and you perceive mine of me being in the room.
But shared experience is probably not a huge problem if we create our own ideas. After all, if I perceive you saying you saw the same red ball, could I not have created this idea of you saying so?
Relational Quantum Mechanics has a similar idea. Instead of the cat actually becoming alive or
dead, I simply perceive both alive and dead, but these perceptions are independent. You too perceive alive and dead, but the only perception of you that is associated to my perception of alive is the one that also perceived alive. Different, but some similarity.
I agree with you that Berkeley's system rests of the idea that dualism is wrong, and that the mind is immaterial. The former is in disagreement with Descartes, and the latter is an agreement.
Thanks. Just checking. I suppose it's an understandable point of departure for the time.