Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Comprehensive Novel > Sophies World > Berkeley
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
like a giddy planet round a burning sun

Alberto walked over to the window facing the town. Sophie followed him. While they stood looking out at the old houses, a small plane flew in over the rooftops. Fixed to its tail was a long banner which Sophie guessed would be advertising some product or local event, a rock concert perhaps. But as it approached and turned, she saw quite a different message: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HILDE!

"Gate-crasher," was Alberto\'s only comment.

Heavy black clouds from the hills to the south were now beginning to gather over the town. The little plane disappeared into the grayness.

"I\'m afraid there\'s going to be a storm," said Alberto.

"So I\'ll take the bus home."

"I only hope the major isn\'t behind this, too."

"He\'s not God Almighty, is he?"

Alberto did not reply. He walked across the room and sat down again by the coffee table.

"We have to talk about Berkeley," he said after a while.

Sophie had already resumed her place. She caught herself biting her nails.

"George Berkeley was an Irish bishop who lived from 1685 to 1753," Alberto began. There was a long silence.

"Berkeley was an Irish bishop ..." Sophie prompted.

"But he was a philosopher as well..."


"He felt that current philosophies and science were a threat to the Christian way of life, that the all-pervading materialism, not least, represented a threat to the Christian faith in God as creator and preserver of all nature."

"He did?"

"And yet Berkeley was the most consistent of the empiricists."

"He believed we cannot know any more of the world than we can perceive through the senses?"

"More than that. Berkeley claimed that worldly things are indeed as we perceive them, but they are not \'things.\' "

"You\'ll have to explain that."

"You remember that Locke pointed out that we cannot make statements about the \'secondary qualities\' of things. We cannot say an apple is green and sour. We can only say we perceive it as being so. But Locke also said that the \'primary qualities\' like density, gravity, and weight really do belong to the external reality around us. External reality has, in fact, a material substance."

"I remember that, and I think Locke\'s division of things was important."

"Yes, Sophie, if only that were all."


"Locke believed--just like Descartes and Spinoza-- that the material world is a reality."


"This is just what Berkeley questioned, and he did so by the logic of empiricism. He said the only things that exist are those we perceive. But we do not perceive \'material\' or \'matter.\' We do not perceive things as tangible objects. To assume that what we perceive has its own underlying \'substance\' is jumping to conclusions. We have absolutely no experience on which to base such a claim."

"How stupid. Look!" Sophie thumped her fist hard on the table. "Ouch," she said. "Doesn\'t that prove that this table is really a table, both of material and matter?"

"How did you feel it?"

"I felt something hard."

 "You had a sensation of something hard, but you didn\'t feel the actual matter in the table. In the same way, you can dream you are hitting something hard, but there isn\'t anything hard in a dream, is there?"

"No, not in a dream."

"A person can also be hypnotized into \'feeling\' things like warmth and cold, a caress or a punch."

"But if the table wasn\'t really hard, why did I feel it?"

"Berkeley believed in a \'spirit.\' He thought all our ideas have a cause beyond our consciousness, but that this cause is not of a material nature. It is spiritual."

Sophie had started biting her nails again.

Alberto continued: "According to Berkeley, my own soul can be the cause of my own ideas--just as when I dream--but only another will or spirit can be the cause of the ideas that make up the \'corporeal\' world. Everything is due to that spirit which is the cause of \'everything in everything\' and which \'all things consist in,\' he said."

"What \'spirit\' was he talking about?"

Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved