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Berkeley on the Activity of Spirits

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This paper propounds a new reading of Berkeley's account of the activity of finite spirits. Against existing interpretations, the paper argues that Berkeley does not hold that we causally contribute to the movement of our bodies. In contrast, our volitions to move our bodies are but occasions for God to cause their movement. In answer to the question of wherein then consists our activity, the paper proposes that our activity consists in the dual powers to produce (1) our volitions – the acts of willing – and (2) our ideas of imagination.
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Keywords: Berkeley; activity; causation; occasionalism; spirit; volition

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Seoul National University,

Publication date: 2012-05-01

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