The Scope and Significance of George Berkeley's Language Model

The Scope and Significance of George Berkeley's Language Model

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As is well known, George Berkeley (1685-1753) believed that nature is best understood as a language, i.e. as a collection of passive, contingently related, non-causal signs. But, this feature of Berkeley's philosophy, which has become known as his language model, has received little attention in the current philosophical literature. The orthodox view is that Berkeley's language model functions strictly as a pedagogical or illustrative device that does not substantively contribute to his philosophical theses. Hence, it is argued, the model does not merit any significant philosophical attention. I disagree and have devoted my dissertation to clarifying the scope and significance of Berkeley's language model. I argue that Berkeley's language model functions as a pedagogical device as well as an investigative tool that Berkeley uses to derive many of his substantive philosophical claims. More specifically, my dissertation attempts to show that the language model plays an important and crucial role in substantiating several of Berkeley's claims about the existence of God, vision, the aims of science, and the nature of sensible objects. This is not to say that Berkeley's model functions strictly as an investigative tool nor do I propose that we deny the illustrative power of the model. Rather, I believe that the model functions as both a pedagogical device and an investigative tool and that we can learn a great deal more about Berkeley's philosophy by paying attention to his application of the language model.Locke exemplifies this distaste for figurative language, claiming in the Essay that, If we would speak of things as they are, we must allow, that all of the Art of Rhetorick, besides order and clearness, all the artificial and figurative application ofanbsp;...

Title:The Scope and Significance of George Berkeley's Language Model
Author:Amanda Lewis Printz
Publisher:ProQuest - 2007


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