Molyneux’s Question in Berkeley’s Theory of Vision

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THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, ISSN: 0495-4548, Vol: 32, Issue: 2, Page: 231-247

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Juan R. Loaiza
UPV/EHU Press, Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
Arts and Humanities
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I propose a reading of Berkeley's Essay towards a New Theory of Vision in which Molyneux-type questions are interpreted as thought experiments instead of arguments. First, I present the general argumentative strategy in the NTV, and provide grounds for the traditional reading. Second, I consider some roles of thought experiments, and classify Molyneux-type questions in the NTV as constructive conjectural thought experiments. Third, I argue that (i) there is no distinction between Weak and Strong Heterogeneity theses in the NTV; (ii) that Strong Heterogeneity is the basis of Berkeley's theory; and (iii) that Molyneux-type questions act as illustrations of Strong Heterogeneity.

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