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Berkeley's Doctrine of Mind and the “Black List Hypothesis”: A Dialogue


  • Stephen H. Daniel


Clues about what Berkeley was planning to say about mind in his now-lost second volume of the Principles seem to abound in his Notebooks. However, commentators have been reluctant to use his unpublished entries to explicate his remarks about spiritual substances in the Principles and Dialogues for three reasons. First, it has proven difficult to reconcile the seemingly Humean bundle theory of the self in the Notebooks with Berkeley's published characterization of spirits as “active beings or principles.” Second, the fact that Berkeley did not publish his Notebooks insights on mind has led some to claim that he later rejected his early views. Third, many of the Notebooks entries on mind have a ‘+’ sign next to them, which has been understood for decades to comprise a Black List of views about which Berkeley had doubts or subsequently rejected. In my dialogue, I describe how Berkeley's “congeries” account of mind (1) differs from Hume's bundle theory in a way that complements Berkeley's published remarks and (2) undercuts the claim that he later rejected his early views. Most importantly, (3) I show how a careful analysis of the British Library manuscript of the Notebooks refutes the Black List hypothesis.