Berkeley writes in his ThreeDialogues Between Hylas and Philonous that he “acknowledge[s] a twofold state of things, the one ectypal or natural, the other archetypal and eternal[.] The former was created in time; the latter existed from everlasting in the mind of God” (254). On a straightforward reading of this passage, it looks as though Berkeley is an indirect perception theorist, who thinks that our sensory ideas are copies or resemblances of archetypal divine ideas. But this is problematic because Berkeley’s rejection of scepticism seems partly to rest on a rejection of indirect perception. In this paper, I consider, and reject, three different approaches to solving this problem: (i) that Berkeley’s remarks on archetypes are unrepresentative; (ii) that Berkeley is indeed committed to divine archetypal ideas (but that these are in some relevant way different from material archetypes); and (iii) that Berkeley thinks divine archetypal ideas are identical to human ideas. I finally settle on a fourth strategy, which involves reading Berkeley’s archetypes as divine powers to produce ideas. I claim that this reading is consistent with the texts, that it has an etymological basis and philosophical precedent, and that it resolves the problems associated with the other three approaches to archetypes.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Archetype, Berkeley, Divine ideas, Divine powers
Persistent URL
Journal International Journal for Philosophy of Religion
Frankel, M. (2016). Berkeley on the “Twofold state of things”. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 80(1), 43–60. doi:10.1007/s11153-015-9541-2