Tag Archives: berkeley


This found its way onto my Tumblr dash. It’s an interesting read. It seems unlikely that he would fabricate all of this, but there’s something about it that seems a little extreme. Having worked as a lecturer at the U of I (which, as we all know, is just as prestigious as UC Berkeley) and having worked WITH lecturers at the U of C, I’ve seen things done both ways: lecturers get basically complete freedom with how/what they teach and as long as they get good reviews, it’s all fine (U of I), or they have to teach to rather specific rules/guidelines, to the point where their instruction has to be similar enough to other lecturers so that there can be a common final for all sections of a particular class, even if the sections are all taught by different people (U of C). It can be hard either way, I think.

But either way, that seems to be only part of what this guy’s saying in his statement.

Edit: here’s a different perspective.

TWSB: My sunshakes bring all the spheres to the loop, and damn right, it’s hotter than yours

I apologize profusely for the title.

“Helioseismology is the study of the interior of the Sun from observations of the vibrations of its surface.”


Acoustic energy is used to “see into” the sun in a way similar to using ultrasound to see into the human body. The sun’s oscillations, first captured in the 1960s, have been used to try and understand the composition and dynamics of our star. According to here (which is an excellent cite full of info regarding this), “helioseismology is rather like trying to understand how a piano is built from the sounds that it makes when you drop it down a flight of stairs.”

Gotta love science.

And Berkeley’s Statistics program.



Today’s song: Prisencolinensinainciusol by Adriano Celentano

Taking Down Berkeley!

So Berkeley’s “to be is to be perceived” thing has been bothering me ever since we studied him last semester. So today I worked out a quick (and probably logically flawed) argument against his idea.

In case you may not know, here’s his idea in a few sentences: nothing exists if it is not being perceived in some sense by someone. This would make him the advocate of the idea that a room winks out of existence when everyone leaves it, but he’s got his catch to establish the idea that this does not occur…he says that God is constantly watching everything*, and therefore everything is always in existence (handy, huh?). But basically, he says that there is no material underpinning to the world—everything is and exists solely because it is perceived. There is no material world, existence is dependent on perception.

So because I have no job, no life, and an online class that is extremely easy and therefore takes up very little of my time, I sat around today and tried to work out a semi-coherent argument stating that there is something independent of our perceptions, and this thing is necessary for existence. This is confusing, but it works out in my head, so now I have to write it in a coherent manner. I want to see if other people can follow this train of thought, so I’m going to break it into little small sentences that build on each other in a sequential manner. It kind of work likes a proof, but I didn’t really feel like making a proof, so this is what you get.


  1. Existence cannot be perception due to the fact that to perceive something (the “positive”) requires space (the “negative”), or something in which the thing is perceived.
  2. The “negative,” or space, is imperceptible by itself.
  3. You need to perceive the “positive”, or things, in order to perceive the negative.
  4. But to perceive the positive, you need to perceive the negative.
  5. If existence were to be solely perception, it would be impossible for the things we perceive to exist because we are unable to perceive space, the quality that allows things to exist.
  6. However, one cannot perceive the positive without the negative, or the negative without the positive.
  7. If we take Berkeley’s theory as the base, then we have to perceive things in order for them to exist.
  8. Because of this idea, that means we would have to perceive space to perceive at all, since perceiving the negative is necessary to perceive the positive.
  9. However, we are not able to perceive space.
  10. But since we are able to perceive things, that must mean that space exists in some sort of sense.
  11. Space, therefore, must exist independent of our perception, because we can’t perceive it and yet we know it is there because we can perceive the positive, or things.

In fact, I’d say that space, not perception, is necessary for existence.

Does that make any sense at all? If it does, does it seem like a circular argument? I’d like to hear your reactions to this, especially if it seems unclear.


*Yes, he has a way of explaining how God exists if no one is necessarily perceiving him…don’t ask me to explain it, though, ‘cause I can’t remember it.

If Plato and Bishop Berkeley had released albums…

This is what they would look like.

Yes, I’m that geeky.

Claudia can’t do math, but she sure can make stupid album covers. Useful talent right there.
Berkeley was the one who said “existence is perception,” and Plato, of course, had his famous Allegory of the Cave.

I have the feeling that this is going to be the summer of the album covers, I’m saying that right now.

It’s 4:45 AM…do you know where your daily blog is?

Right here!

So I’m done with all the actual tests for finals week, but I still have my written final for Modern Philosophy due tomorrow. Or today. Whatever the hell you qualify 5 in the morning as.
Yes, I stayed up this late (early) ‘cause I had basically NO TIME to write this final until about 4 this afternoon, and, me being me, I procrastinated until about 11. The essay on Hume I cranked out in like 15 minutes, but I’ve been slowly and painfully churning out this damn Berkeley essay for the past six hours.
But now I’m done! DONE WITH FINALS WEEK! So of course, since I did my Modern final tonight, I felt it necessary to list the philosophers we covered in order from my favorite to my least favorite. Hmm, what will my #1 be…?
1. Leibniz
I LOVE THIS MAN WITH ALL MY SOUL. I really, really like the way he works through the logic of his philosophy, even though his writing style basically looks down its nose at you, insulting you under its breath because it’s not totally obvious to you right away. But yeah, this guy has taken over my life.
2. Kant
Kant freaking rocks, and not just because his name can be used in a lot of stupid puns. I loved the way he demonstrated that math is not something of which we have a priori knowledge, and I just love the way he basically redefined how we should go about doing philosophy.
3. Hume
I like Hume, but I’m not a fan of the way he argued his way down to that there is no such thing as causality (cause and effect…if I hit the billiard ball with the stick, it will move forward), but because that’s the only way we can get around in the world, we can rely on it. But he does aggressively argue against something that we all take for granted to be true.
Take that, causality!
4. Berkeley
Berkeley interests me, and I don’t really know why. I think it’s because I totally disagree with his “to be is to be perceived” idea, and therefore I want to argue against it. So Berkeley would be in pretty good standing on this list, except for the fact that I had to write something like this at 4:30 in the morning because of him:
“The ‘common sense’ factor of Berkeley’s philosophy is explained as this: it is not simply the lack of direct perceptions of material substance that causes the belief that it doesn’t exist—it’s also the fact that there is no way to explain its existence. There is no reason for the material to exist if perceptions are sensory and can be linked to something that already has reason to exist, like the mind. Qualities do not need something on which they must be projected if they already exist in and out of the senses and are perceived that way. The absence of the material world preserves the parsimony Berkeley so strongly desires.”
5. Spinoza
AAAH SPINOZA! Despite the fact that I don’t know what to think of his philosophy (his logic works out so that his philosophy proves itself), he’s a cute, innocent looking little guy who was excommunicated ‘cause of what he believed. Poor little Spinoza. I sympathize for him.
6. Descartes
I love Descartes. Descartes is great. He’s the founder of modern philosophy, guys! But the reason he’s so far down on this list is because of his whole “evil deceiver” thing. Yes, the extreme doubt is good, but seriously, Rene…the evil deceiver? Ah, well. He had to get his ideas past the church somehow. Sneaky little guy.
7. Locke
Locke bothers me. I don’t really know why; I didn’t really pay that much attention those few days we were covering him. They were right before Spring Break. Haha.


So there you go.