Sunday, 14 July 2013

Idealism

Continuing to amend backdrop:
Yesterday


Spot the difference.
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Currently listening to:


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Last night's dinner:

Becoming a big fan of Red Mullet.

Coated in plain flour

Fried

Served with carrots in tomato sauce

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Does the physical world exist?

I think it does though I accept that I could be wrong.

The view that the physical world is a figment of each individual's perception has many problems that require resolving not least that of continuity. For example, if my place of work is a figment of my perception does it vanish overnight when I go home and then only re-constitute itself the following morning when I return.

Or, as Monsignor Ronald Knox put it in his famous limerick:

There was a young man who said, 'God
Must think it exceedingly odd
        If he finds that this tree
        Continues to be
When there's no one about in the Quad.'

One solution to that problem was proposed by Bishop Berkeley (1685 - 1753), or as Monsignor Knox put it:

Dear Sir:
         Your astonishment's odd:
I am always about in the Quad.
        And that's why the tree
        Will continue to be,
Since observed by
            Yours faithfully,
                                God.

But, despite my firm belief in God, I prefer Dr Johnson's refutation of the Idealist position:

After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley's ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it -- "I refute it thus."
Boswell: Life

I refute it thus!
A full-size bronze statue, by William Fawke, of Dr Johnson aiming at the rock.

But, clearly, it's not as simple as that.

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Miscellany:

Went shopping for bikes today and was surprised how cheap they can be, eg this bike from Decathlon costs only £109.99. Sorely tempted.


2 comments:

  1. The difference - the building on left all pink - thought at first it was the open blinds.......

    ReplyDelete