Friday, 12 February 2016


 Image result for TO BE IS TO BE PERCEIVED

This particular statement is said by George Berkeley. He said it in Latin language - “Esse est percipi” which means to be is to be perceived. According to him we cannot know if an object is, but we can only know if an object is perceived by a mind. Therefore, we cannot think or talk about an object’s being. We can only think or talk about an object’s being perceived by someone. All that we know about an object is our perception of it. The existence of an idea cannot be separated from its being perceived. If an idea or object is not perceived, then it does not exist. Everything in the universe depends on perception.

Image result for ideas are ‘modesBerkeley attacked the notion that ideas are ‘modes’ in a subject mind. He wanted us to see that the ideas are objects in the mind, not properties flowing from it. And he goes on to explain that there is a real distinction between the mind and the objects of the mind. We don’t know their innermost secrets; we do not know why one idea follows another. God surely knows, because He is their creator and absolute sustainer.

Image result for TO BE IS TO BE PERCEIVEDThough we hold indeed the objects of sense to be nothing else but ideas which cannot exist unperceived; yet we may not hence conclude that they have no existence except only while they are perceived by us, since there may be some other spirit that perceives them though we do not. According to Berkeley things like trees, books and mountains are groups of ideas or sensible qualities and are therefore as much within the mind as the latter are. A tree is a group of ideas touched, seen and smelled; a cherry, a group of ideas touched, seen, smelled and tasted. The sensible qualities or ideas without which we should have no conception of a tree or cherry, don’t belong to some unseen, untouched, untasted substance, for the very conception of such a “something I know not what” is incoherent and rests upon the false view that we can conceive something in complete abstraction from ideas of sense.

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According to Berkeley we perceive trees and cherries directly by seeing, touching and tasting them, just as the plain man thinks, we do, whereas his opponents regard them as perpetually hidden from us by a screen of intermediaries that may be always deceiving us. Berkeley considered that by this view he had refuted skepticism of the senses, for, according to his theory, the objects of the senses are the things in the world: the trees, houses and mountains, as compounded of sensible qualities or ideas cannot exist without the mind.

Gilson, Etienne and Thomas Langan. Modern Philosophy: Descartes to Kant. New York: Random House, 1963.

Berchert M. Donald. “George Berkeley”. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. New York: Macmillan Reference.

Friday, 5 February 2016



I would like to share my views on the topic: ‘I can doubt everything. There is nothing true.’ From my point of view I would say that I cannot doubt everything, because the moment I doubt something, that clearly shows that I believe in something and hence I cant doubt anything that I see.

This idea is mainly inclined with the skeptics. Their attitude is to question the reliability of the knowledge claims that are made by the philosophers and others. Philosophical skeptics have been engaged in questioning alleged human achievements in different fields to see if any knowledge has been or could be gained by them. They have questioned whether any necessary or indubitable information can actually be gained abut the real nature of things. Some skeptics have held that no knowledge beyond immediate experience is possible, while others have doubted even this.

Image result for descartes I CAN DOUBT EVERYTHING. THERE IS NOTHING TRUERene Descartes raised in the skeptical atmosphere of the early seventeenth century insisting that it was possible to overcome all doubt and to find an absolute basis of knowledge. By applying the skeptical method more thoroughly than the skeptics had, he claimed an indubitable truth as well as an indubitable criterion of true knowledge and a whole system of truths about reality could be found. Descartes started by rejecting all beliefs rendered dubious by the skeptical problems about sense experience, the possibility that all we know is part of a dream. In the process of trying to doubt everything Descartes claimed one basis of the indubitable truth-‘ I think therefore I am’ (Cogito ergo sum) is encountered. The very fact that ones doubt of his own existence makes one aware of the truth that one exists.

The skeptics have been continually been attacked and refuted in the history of philosophy and have been occasionally set forth as a serious view. Many people or opponents have argued from the beginning or from the time of the Greeks upto the current moment that skepticism flies in the face of common sense and ordinary belief.

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Skepticism has not functioned in philosophy as merely one more position, alongside idealism, materialism and realism. Instead, it has been like an anonymous letter received by a dogmatic philosopher who does hold a position. Skeptical arguments are usually parasitical, in that they assume the premises of the dogmatist and show problems that ensure on the standard of reasoning. The skeptical critique has thrived on the desire to find a coherent and consistent account of knowledge and beliefs about the world.


v Rescher, Nicholas. Skepticism. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1980.

v Slote, Michael A. Reason and Skepticism. New York: Humanities Press, 1970.

v Encyclopedia: Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd Edition, Donald M Borchet.

Sunday, 10 January 2016


Image result for Descartes 

                        Descartes’ most famous statement is Cogito ergo sum,” I think, therefore I exist.” With this argument, he proposes that the very act of thinking offers a proof of individual human existence. Because thoughts must have a source, there must be an “I” that exists to do the thinking.

Image result for Descartes                        In arguments that follow from this premise, he points out that although he can be sure of nothing else about the existence he can’t prove beyond a doubt that he has hands or hair or a body, he is certain that he has thoughts and the ability to use reason. He asserts that these facts come to him as “clear and distinct perceptions”. He argues that anything that can be observed through clear and distinct perceptions is part of the essence of what is observed. Thought and reason, because they are clearly perceived, must be the essence of humanity.

                        Consequently, he says that a human would still be a human without hands or a face. He also says that other things that are not human may have hair, hands, or faces but a human would not be a human without reason, and only humans possess the ability to reason. He firmly believed that true knowledge can be directly gleaned not from books but only through the methodical application of reason. Because he believed that every human possesses the ‘natural light’ of reason, he believed that if presented all his arguments as logical trains of thought, then anyone could understand them and nobody could help but be swayed.

Image result for KantKant:
                        The first thing to observe is that Kant explicitly says that reason is the arbiter of truth in all judgments. He says that it is necessary for the law of reason to seek  unity, since without it we would have no reason, and without that, no coherent use of the understanding, and lacking that, no sufficient mark of empirical truth.”

                        His earliest statement of the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) appears in his first published work, the 1663 geometrical exposition of Descartes’ principles of philosophy. The book states ‘Nothing exists of which it cannot be asked, what is the cause or reason/ why it exists.

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                        Since existing is something positive, we cannot say that it has nothing as its cause, therefore we must assign some positive cause, or reason, why a thing exists, either an external me that is me outside the thing itself, or an internal one, me comprehended in the nature and definition of the existing thing itself.

                        His understanding of Descartes’ rather nuanced view according to which God does not need a cause in order to exist, but there is a reason why God does not need a cause. What altar of refuge can a man find for himself when commits reason the majesty of reason? There is much to be said about this image of reason, which ascribes to reason the same exhaustiveness, dominance, and omnipresence that traditional theologies ascribe to God. This passage leaves no room for anything that is beyond or against reason.

                        Spinoza’s insistence that even the non- existence of things can be explainable is crucial. It allows him, for example, to argue that were God not to exist, his non- existence must be explainable. Since God is a substance, he argues his existence or non- existence cannot be caused or explained externally. Hence, were God not to exist, he would have to be the cause of his non- existence, just as a square, circle is the cause of its non- existence. But since God is not a contradictory entity, He cannot internally rule His own existence, and hence He must exist.

Image result for Leibniz:                        If there were two indiscernible individuals, then God would have acted for no reason to treat them differently. But there is a reason for everything. So, there are no indiscernible yet numerically distinct things.

                        He who says there is no need of reason has a reason behind it.


·        Copleston, Fredrick. “A History of Philosophy.” Modern philosophy, Vol 4, Descartes to Leibnez, New York : Doubelday and Company, Inc., 1960.
·        “Descartes” www.stanfordedu.stanford university. 14 Feb 2015.
·        Gilson, Etienne and Langan, Thomas. “A History of Philosophy.” Descartes toKant, New York: The colonial press Inc., 1963.
·        Kantwww.stanfordedu.stanford  university. 10 Sep, 2008.

·        Spinoza, Benedict. “The Collected works of Spinoza.” Vol. I, Translated and edited by Edwin Curley, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985.