Berkeley's Master Argument and Perspecitivism
47 , 2018-03-13 , 法政大学文学部
Berkeley’s infamous ‘Master Argument’ has been severely criticized by various philosophers such as B. Russell and T. Nagel. In Master Argument, Berkeley seems to infer from ‘we cannot conceive SOME SENSIBLE OBJECT EXISTS without ideas being perceived’ to ‘we cannot conceive SOME SENSIBLE OBJECT EXISTS WITHOUT IDEAS BEING PERCEIVED. This appears like arguing from ‘we cannot say SOME SENSIBLE OBJECT EXISTS without language being used’ to ‘we cannot say SOME SENSIBLE OBJECT EXISTS WITHOUT LANGUAGE BEING USED.’ The latter inference is obviously invalid, and so the former seems to be invalid, too. But I think that the argument as to ideas cannot be rejected as so obviously invalid. In this paper, I try to investigate the difference between the two and to point out some aspects of Master Argument. In my interpretation, Berkeley’s point in the argument is that any idea must be conceived by some point of view, and that all our thoughts constructed from ideas are necessarily perspectival. He rejects the ‘absolute conception of reality’ or non-perspectival view of the world as an ‘abstract idea.’ I try to construct infinite regress version of Master Argument on Berkeley’s behalf.On the other hand, B. Williams has made it clear that we have indeed an ability to imagine non-perspectival scene or ‘view from nowhere’ by using perspectival and perceptual ideas. If that is the case, Berkeley’s metaphysical project seems to receive serious damages. But I think that there is a way to save Berkeley’s point without dismissing Williams argument and that it is possible to reconstruct or to reinterpret his metaphysics as a version of objective perspectivism.