Modern Philosophy Refutation of Berkeley by Dr. Samuel Johnson
Philosophy where it can be said to be the study of wisdom and truth. It is the usual expectation by many that those with extensive experience in philosophy will have more peace of mind than their unknowledgeable counterparts. On the contrary, it is widely the case that those considered as laymen are less disturbed mentally and are as such less of skeptics. They question less and take it easy with questionable knowledge and facts or ideas put forth by various scholars. Quest for knowledge on some of the common sense things sometimes ends up in new knowledge while at times it is an exercise in futility only bringing us back to the same starting point or even in a bigger confusion. In order to visualize this, we take a case of George Berkeley and Dr. Samuel Johnson in a perceived dialogue where their views pertaining to the existence of matter are observed
Berkeley: How are you doing?
Dr. Samuel: I am very much ok Bishop Berkeley.
Berkeley: I have been looking forward with great expectations to meeting you.
Dr. Samuel: What a coincidence? It has been my biggest hope that I will finally be able to have a one on one chat with you and may be getting to exchange ideas. This stems from my criticism of your treatise on the principles of human knowledge.
Berkeley: I get your point. I got a chance to hear about you hitting a rock thereby feeling a lot of pain. Why would anyone yearn to do such a thing?
Dr. Samuel: It raises a lot of questions, more than we can readily find answers to. It seems quite normal for anyone to just accept your work and postulations. My quest for more knowledge and a better understanding of all phenomena, search for answers as to why things are the way they are, contributed to my strong desire and urge to finally meet you in person.
Berkeley: I salute you, for your efforts in analyzing my treatise on the principles of human knowledge. I respect you for the fact that you are very keen on details and embrace the whole idea of inquisitiveness in what may seem to many people an occurrence characteristic of nature. It is people like you and me that captivate people’s interest in what may seem obvious or normal. By virtue of our nature to seek knowledge and truth that goes beyond the ordinary sense impression, we enable humanity to get a better grasp of the events that surround it. This is because most people are prone to making assumptions, which may prove costly at a given point in time depending on the situations, and circumstances that come one’s way.
Dr. Samuel: That is well said my fellow philosopher. I appreciate your recognition of my efforts in trying to analyze and make sense of philosophy at large . The world of philosophy is one that cannot be understood in isolation without bringing into consideration the various aspects of nature or the physical world that influence its conception to a great extent. One may have his or her own weaknesses but this does not mean that we just put forth subjective conceptions without due regard to their effect on actions of other people.
There are those kinds of people who have little time to question certain aspects of ideas put forth by people they consider to be well versed in their field or area of specialization. This is partly due to the frenzy of activities and “don’t care” attitude of the modern person that puts him/her at risk of the outcome of his or her own understanding of the ideas advanced.
Berkeley: You speak well my learned friend concerning the role of philosophers in analyzing and giving a meaning to the perceptions of knowledge that exist within and without us. However, what perplexes and saddens me most is your rebuttal of my postulation on the nonexistence of matter. Hitting a stone hard that you rebound from it to feel real pain thereby proving the existence of matter was uncalled for.
Dr. Samuel: This is just one of the effects of putting forth such an abstract idea that finds no basis in the physical world that we live in. I can construe a case of a driver who in a hurry attempts to drive through a building to save time oblivious of the real truth on the existence of matter. Such a person may end up losing his or her life and as such never get the chance to comprehend what is expected. How much pain will humanity have to endure before you rethink your stand and come up with a more realistic view?
Berkeley: Hey! The most important step to comprehending what I intended to be construed in my treatise is getting a deeper sense of things. Your actions can be for lack of a better word be termed as naïve and a consequence of hard headedness. It was quite unexpected especially of a person of your caliber and status to almost break his or her leg while trying to prove something that is very much obvious to any other Tom, Dick, and Harry. It is never enough for anyone to construe an idea or concept in its literal sense. A farther inspection of what lies deep within is always bound to bring out the underlying arguments…
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