Philosophy Essay Example: Indirect Realism and George Berkley's Idealism

Published: 2022-03-29
Philosophy Essay Example: Indirect Realism and George Berkley's Idealism
Type of paper:  Argumentative essay
Categories:  Philosophy
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1241 words
11 min read

The question of indirect realism has been one of the fields in philosophy that have attracted several thoughts as to whether philosophies of perception and mind are a representation of the nature of conscious human experience. The field has taken into consideration one of the epistemological questions to find out whether the world and nature around us is the real world itself or it is just a mere internal perceptional copy of what the world generated by neural processes in the human brain. The counter-argument that surrounds indirect dualism is the fact that our conscious experience is far from the real world hut a representation of internal, miniature replica of the world. In essence, indirect realism is an equivalent to the accepted view on how perception within our natural conscious, which states that human being, cannot and will not perceive external world as it is but just only our ideas as well as interpretation to show the same way the world is. On the other hand, Berkley's idealism offers an argument that the real word exists but in the experiences that the mind has interacted with in the life of human being. Berkley's ideas based on this argument of reality in mind restricts the mid to god. He asserts that human beings and animals, as well as other spirits, are commonly thought to be while everything else is existing just as features of the experience entrenched in these minds. Thus, idealism and Berkley's realism concur that both perceptions of what the world present to humanity are just mere thoughts and perceptions, but there is no discrete reality of them having attachment with the physical world, that individual may choose not to believe the real word at or let the mind formulate things to our perception.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

It is through this counter-argument that I will base my conceptual essay examining some claims that are made by indirect realism as well as looking at the fundamental issues or problems the claims have caused for the theory. Indirect realism initially arose while there was the need to solve some of the problems that were faced by human beings based on common sense realism. At the time, it became apparent that our senses would always give us the true information concerning nature and external world. This belief modified the ideas that were presented by the common realism suggesting that anything we perceive directly, we became aware of it and as opposed to it being thought to us by the word (reality). This perception was crowned by an assumption that human sense always will give true information denying the existence of the physical world or the objects in it. By realism, suggesting that what humans perceive is immediately is jot of the world; the indirect realists distanced themselves from the existence of the physical world. However, the claimed that objects in the world cause human sense data and the sense data that people experience subsequently represent what the external world is to an extent. For instance, when I see a rabbit, I may not perceive it as a direct object as common sense would have it, it means that I have no sensory contact with the rabbit and what comes to my mind is just a mental representation or an inner-like picture that relates the rabbit with the picture. Therefore, my visual experience is not direct to the rabbit. Nonetheless, indirect realism has the claim that rabbit caused the picture in mind but I may accept that what I am aware of is the rabbit representation, which my senses have produced.

Berkley's idealism, on the other hand, gives regard to physical science. This is referred to as atomism. His belief is because bodies are made miniature of particles. It was believed that these small particles made the body and the two possesses primary but not secondary properties. In fact, one of the great philosopher Descartes agreed that bodies possessed the primary qualities. This means that they had shape, motion, size, as well as impenetrability but lacked smell, hardness, taste, sound or color. The latter group of qualities was qualified to represent sense generation such as color being generated in mind through the eye. The most important thing is, therefore, to accept that these secondary qualities make the component of the way people experience the world. It, therefore, follows that the world of science is quite different from the world of experience. In addition, these worlds are not just different, but they exist in far apart realms of thought. The interpretation to this idea is that if an individual accepts the things that are only in the mind, then what he or she is aware of is just ideas in mind rather than objects in the external world.

In regards to primary and secondary qualities based on the indirect realism, John Locke argued that these qualities represent "nothing" within the object themselves, but they have powers to produce several sensations in human beings thus, they are essential. One of the major objections to indirect realism is that it seems the world becomes unknowable. That it only makes sense for us to us to claim that X resembles Y if is impossible for Y and us to be directly aware of X for us to make a comparison between the two. The assertion made by the example then creates an essential epistemological issue for indirect realism for the theory states that our senses experience the primary qualities of the rather than the actual attributes of the object within the external world. Nonetheless, the same case is attributed to the statement that people cannot be accurately aware of the looks of the external world. Therefore, we do not have exact ways to check whether our senses experiences does resemble with the external world.

Indirect realism also elicited the veil of perception. This refers to things, which we see indirectly and not as they exist in themselves for there is an existence of a "veil" impenetrable. This is because the things that we see and perceive are objects that exist independently of our sensation. The perception of this did create fundamental problems for indirect realism since the sense would only seem to hold some speculative realism considering say that A is caused by B when it is almost impossible for us to tell what B is, moreover, the perception veil will seem to prevent us from having the same sense.


In conclusion, we are now anchored to the common sense that keeps on clinging on to the two principles of realism and idealism. One is that people are directly aware of the physical objects while the other is that the material objects are a creation of independent of our thought that exist far outside our mind. This has since created the dilemma of the philosophy making it difficult to hold both of the principles. If the human being is directly aware of the ideas in mind and not on the external world, then the naive part of ourselves cannot be maintained. Berkley in defending his thought brought the natural explanation that God did not create a mind-independent world in us but instead produced the experiences directly. These experiences are therefore deemed to have constituted a physical world, and this belief asserts that we are acquainted with the physical world, and consequently this depletes any barrier that made skepticism a temptation. God becomes the existence of the world at all times.

Cite this page

Philosophy Essay Example: Indirect Realism and George Berkley's Idealism. (2022, Mar 29). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism