Causal Analysis Argument about the Media
The main point in the cosmological argument is the first cause.
Of course, the ideas that constitute the world are the effects of God's causal influence on our sensory modalities, and are therefore encountered as level 2 physical objects in the standard way. But Berkeley argues that from the character of these ideas and their relations we grasp something further, viz. that a particular sort of mind wills them (this is part of his argument for taking it that the world's substance is a deity somewhat of the personal type offered in revealed religion. ) Parallel reasoning applies to finite spirits. In DeM Berkeley discusses the kind of experience that has self-awareness as its object; he calls it "reflexion" (DeM 40). But at P27 and elsewhere we learn that we have knowledge of spirit by its effects, and infer therefore that notions too are the objects of awareness: a second-order awareness, so to speak, consisting in grasp of the significance of ideas acquired in the standard sensory way. The signal point is that without experience as such we do not come by notions; so Berkeley's empiricism is unequivocal (P22, 1D200).
Causal Analysis Essay Format | The Pen and The Pad
There is an important point to be noted at this juncture, anticipated in the presentation given above of Berkeley's P1-7 argument. It is that where Berkeley uses his habitual locution "without the mind" we do better to use "without reference to mind." The point of this recommendation is illustrated by what is at stake in contemporary debates about "realism" and "anti-realism". In this connection realism is the claim that the entities in a given domain exist independently of knowledge or experience of them. The anti-realist denies this. One way of sketching why he denies it is offered by the idiom of relations. Thus recast, realism is the view that the relation between thought or experience and their objects is contingent or external, in the sense that description of neither relatum essentially involves reference to the other. On the anti-realist's view, to take the thought-object relation as external is a mistake at least for the direction object-to-thought, because any account of the content of thoughts about things, and in particular the individuation of thoughts about things, essentially involves reference to the things thought about – this is the force of the least that can be said in favour of notions of broad content. So realism appears to offer a peculiarly hybrid relation: external in the direction thought-to-things, internal in the direction things-to-thought. It is a short step for the anti-realist to argue that thought about (perception of, theories of) things is always and inescapably present in, and therefore conditions, any full account of the things thought about; the poorly-worded "Master Argument" in Berkeley, aimed at showing that one cannot conceive of an unconceived thing, is aimed at making just that elementary point (P23, 1D200). The best example of such a view is afforded by the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory, in which descriptions of quantum phenomena are taken essentially to involve reference to observers and conditions of observation. Such a view does not constitute a claim that the phenomena are caused by observations of them; no more does anti-realism claim this in respect of the subject-matters in which it argues its case, for it is not a metaphysical but an epistemological thesis. This is why anti-realism is not idealism, for idealism is a metaphysical thesis about the constitution of reality (namely: that reality is mental), not, as anti-realism is, an epistemological thesis about the relation of thought or experience to that reality. In expressing his view the anti-realist therefore does best to say: "anti-realism is the thesis that, with respect to a given domain, any full description of the objects of thought or experience in that domain has to make essential reference to the thinker or experiencer and the conditions under which the thinking or experience occurs".