•  22
    In this paper I look at a particular narrative, famously articulated by Reid, that holds that Descartes’s ‘Way of Ideas’ leads inevitably to Berkeley’s immaterialism. In the service of examining this narrative more closely, I consider Andrew Baxter’s early 18th century criticisms of Berkeley, and especially Baxter’s view that immaterialism begins with a dream hypothesis and is therefore self-undermining. I suggest that a careful consideration of Baxter’s criticism is illuminating in a number of …Read more
  •  4
    Feminist Interpretations of Mary Astell (review)
    Hypatia Reviews Online 2017. 2017.
  •  28
    The Cartesian Roots of Berkeley's Account of Sensation
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (2): 214-231. 2017.
    On the old story about early modern philosophy, Descartes is a “rationalist” who devalues the senses, and Berkeley an “empiricist” who rejects this. Berkeley plays into this story in his Notebooks, where he writes: “in vindication of the senses effectually to confute wt Descartes saith in ye last par. of the last Med: viz. that the senses oftener inform him falsly than truely”. But when we turn to this “last par.,” we find Descartes maintaining that “my senses report the truth much more frequent…Read more
  •  139
    It is sometimes suggested that Berkeley adheres to an empirical criterion of meaning, on which a term is meaningful just in case it signifies an idea (i.e., an immediate object of perceptual experience). This criterion is thought to underlie his rejection of the term ‘matter’ as meaningless. As is well known, Berkeley thinks that it is impossible to perceive matter. If one cannot perceive matter, then, per Berkeley, one can have no idea of it; if one can have no idea of it, then one cannot speak…Read more
  •  59
    Berkeley, meaning and minds: Remarks on glezakos' comments
    Philosophia 37 (3): 409-413. 2009.
    This is a response to Stavroula Glezakos’ commentary on my paper, in which I address three main points: (1) whether Berkeley is entitled to argue via inference to the best explanation, (2) whether Berkeley’s likeness principle might be too strict, and (3) whether the texts support my reading.
  •  56
    Acts, ideas, and objects in Berkeley's metaphysics
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (4): 475-493. 2013.
    Berkeley holds that objects in the world are constituted of ideas. Some commentators argue that for Berkeley, ideas are identical to acts of perception; this is taken to proceed from his view that ideas are like pains. In this paper, I evaluate the identity claim. I argue that although it does not follow from the pain analogy, nonetheless the texts suggest that Berkeley does think ideas and acts are identical. I show how Berkeley can account for objects persisting over time and being perceivable…Read more
  •  53
    Berkeley on the “Twofold state of things”
    International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 80 (1): 43-60. 2016.
    Berkeley writes in his ThreeDialogues Between Hylas and Philonous that he “acknowledge[s] a twofold state of things, the one ectypal or natural, the other archetypal and eternal[.] The former was created in time; the latter existed from everlasting in the mind of God”. On a straightforward reading of this passage, it looks as though Berkeley is an indirect perception theorist, who thinks that our sensory ideas are copies or resemblances of archetypal divine ideas. But this is problematic because…Read more
  •  121
    Berkeley and God in the Quad
    Philosophy Compass 7 (6): 388-396. 2012.
    In a familiar limerick attributed to Ronald Knox, the narrator asks how a “tree/should continue to be/when there’s no one about in the Quad,” and is subsequently reassured that its continuous existence is guaranteed by God’s being “always about in the Quad” observing it. This is meant to capture Berkeley’s so‐called ‘continuity argument’ for the existence of God, on which the claim that objects exist continuously over time is supposed to entail the existence of a Divine Mind that continuously pe…Read more