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Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous

George Berkeley

First Dialogue 176–180

Summary First Dialogue 176–180

But here is another objection that can be made: it is not true that there is no way to tell which of these impressions is veridical; we can use a thermometer to take the temperature of the water, and thus verify whether it is hot or cold. Berkeley has a reply to this as well, and once again this reply depends on his empiricism. If we need to use fancy instruments, he would tell us, then we are not talking about what is immediately perceived. According to the empiricist, what is immediately perceived is only what comes to us directly through our senses. And it is only the heat we feel that comes to us through our senses, not any information that we receive from a thermometer.

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