Three Dialogues Between Hylas And Philonous
The Three dialogues between Hylas and Philonous is a book written by George Berkeley in which he discusses the concept of reality as we perceive it and perceptual relativity which argues that the same object can appear to have different characteristics depending on the observer's perspective. For those of you who are hearing about him for the first time, George Berkeley was an Anglo-Irish philosopher who advanced the theory of “immaterialism”. He was an idealist, i.e. someone who believes that reality is fundamentally mental.
In the Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, Berkeley presents himself as Philonous, which literally means as “lover of mind”. Hylas is his contemporary philosophical adversary, literally meaning “matter”, which Hylas aptly argues in favor of in the dialogue. Here I am going to present his views on reality as a mind-dependent subjective sense of ideas, rather than something materialistic, which is taken from his first dialogue.
The dialogue begins with Hylas encountering Philonous on an early morning and asking him a question that he has been contemplating about for some time, that there is no such thing as mind-independent material objects in the world, only ideas and the minds that have them (by mind-independent material objects he means object whose existence can be shown in the real tangible world and not in the form of ideas). His stance is against this proposition and feels Philonous would agree with him. However Philonous disagrees and a battle of wits ensues in which Philonous systematically destroys Hylas’s views of materialism. Philonous spends the rest of the Dialogues making the case that his idealist view is the most commonsensical view in the world. His goal is to prove that, not only is his theory simpler and better supported by the evidence, but it is even immune to skeptical worries and atheistic challenges; the materialism which Hylas ascribes to, on the other hand, is...