Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous
Doth the reality of sensible things consist in being perceived? Or is it something distinct from their being perceived, and that bears no relation to mind?
Is it not a great contradiction to talk of conceiving a thing which is unconceived?
You indeed said, the reality of sensible things consisted in an absolute existence out of the minds of spirits, or distinct from their being perceived. And pursuant to this notion of reality, you are obliged to deny sensible things any real existence: that is, according to your own definition, you profess yourself a skeptic.
Ask the gardener why he thinks yonder cherry tree exists in the garden and he shall tell you, because he sees and feels it; in a word, because he perceives it by his senses. Ask him, why he thinks an orange tree not to be there and he shall tell you, because he does not perceive it. What he perceives by sense, that he terms a real being and saith it is, or exists; but that which is not perceivable, the same, he saith, hath no being.
I am not for changing things into ideas, but rather ideas into things; since those immediate objects of perception, which according to you, are only appearances of things, I take to be the real things themselves.
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