Paper Topics


Choose one of the following passages. Carefully explain what you take to be the central issues, positions, and arguments. What is the objection that Hylas is pressing against Philonous? If there are different reasonable interpretations, say which interpretation you think is best and why.


Your paper should include a statement of your thesis at the beginning. It should also give the reader an overall sense of the structure of your paper. The first part of the paper should involve an account of what you take Berkeley to be saying in the passage you have chosen (i.e., what are Hylas' or Philonous' positions and arguments?). The second part should involve a critical assessment of Berkeley.

“Weigh in” philosophically. What do you think? Do you think that Philonous successfully answers the objection(s)? Why or why not?  


You can cite the text by using the same style I use in the syllabus.


(1)   3D I pp. 30-32. Start with Hylas “One great oversight I take to be this . . .” End with Philonous ‘But examine your own thoughts, and then tell me whether it be not as I say?’

(2)   3D III pp. 64-7. Start with Hylas “Answer me, Philonous. Are all our ideas perfectly inert beings?’ End with Philonous ‘There is therefore upon the whole no parity of case between spirit and matter.’

(3)   PHK 150-155 and 3D III. pp. 70. Start with Hylas “You are not aware . . .” End with Philonous “. . . which is sufficient to entitle them to all the guilt of their actions.”

(4)   You may choose another passage. But you must “clear” it with me.


5 pages (typed, doubled spaced).