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Análisis filosófico

versión On-line ISSN 1851-9636


BETTCHER, Talia Mae. Berkeley's dualistic ontology. Anal. filos. [online]. 2008, vol.28, n.2, pp. 147-173. ISSN 1851-9636.

In this paper I defend the view that Berkeley endorses a spirit-idea dualism, and I explain what this dualism amounts to. Central to the discussion is Berkeley's claim that spirits and ideas are "entirely distinct." Taken as a Cartesian real distinction, the "entirely distinct" claim seems to be at odds with Berkeley's view that spirits are substances that support ideas by perceiving them. This has led commentators to deflate Berkeley's notion of "entire distinction" by reading it as analogous to the categorical distinction between substance and accident. I argue that rather than taking Berkeley's notion of "entire distinction" in either of these ways (as a "real distinction" or else a mere categorical distinction between substance and accident), it ought to be understood as insisting upon a radical dissimilitude between spirits and ideas. This dissimilitude requires that ideas cannot be viewed as analogous to modes or accidents which inhere in a substance. Moreover, spirits and ideas cannot be understood in terms of a single, gradated scale of reality. Instead, for Berkeley spirits and ideas occupy two entirely different scales of reality and consequently the very term 'thing' applies to them in different (non-analogical) senses. In this way, Berkeley endorses a severe dualism that occurs at the highest level of his ontology.

Palabras clave : Dualism; Ontology; Analogy; Berkeley, George.

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