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Berkeley: Principles of Human Knowledge

4. Against Indirect Realism

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about a possible objection to Berkeley’s immaterialism—that of the indirect realist—tracing first the objection itself and then Berkeley’s response to it.


In this course, Professor Tom Stoneham (University of York) explores the philosophy of George Berkeley, focusing in particular on his ‘Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge’ (1710) as well as his ‘Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonaus’ (1713). The course begins by considering the social, historical and intellectual context of the late 17th century, thinking in particular about the rise of experimental science. After that, we turn to the overall aim of Berkeley’s philosophical project—expressed in the phrase “in opposition to sceptics and atheists”, which was the subtitle for both of his major works. In the third module, we describe Berkeley’s basic world-view, before moving on to two counterarguments to his views—and Berkeley’s response—in the fourth and fifth modules. In the sixth module, we think about one more defence of Berkeley’s view of the world, including the role of God.


Tom Stoneham is a British philosopher, Professor of Philosophy at the University of York, England. He was educated at Oxford University (MA) and the University of London (MPhil, PhD) and is a specialist in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophical logic and the philosophy of George Berkeley.

He lectured at the University of Oxford between 1994 and 2000, before moving to the University of York where he was Lecturer, then Reader, and, from 2008, Professor. He served as Head of Department of Philosophy at York in 2006-2014.

Stoneham has published on a variety of philosophical topics, including self-knowledge, metaphysical nihilism and issues in the philosophy of logic and language. He is primarily known for his work on the philosophy of George Berkeley. He is the author of Berkeley's World: An Examination of the Three Dialogues (Oxford University Press, 2002), as well as of various other journal articles and book chapters on the topic.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Stoneham, T. (2018, August 15). Berkeley: Principles of Human Knowledge - Against Indirect Realism [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Stoneham, T. "Berkeley: Principles of Human Knowledge – Against Indirect Realism." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,