Revised Dialogue of Berkeley, Kant, and Hume

Revised Dialogue of Berkeley, Kant, and Hume

Shayla Calvert

May 6, 2015

Intro to Philosophy

Section 1

Revised Dialogue of Berkeley, Kant, and Hume

Berkeley, Kant, and Hume decide to meet up and discuss their ideas at a park bench with a coffee at hand. They have decided to get to the bottom of everyone’s ideas and prove to one another of how we really come to know anything.

Berkeley:  I am pleased that we all decided to meet up on this lovely day.

Hume:  It is about time we get to the bottom of whose ideas are true and whose ideas aren’t.

Kant: I agree so let’s get started! Who would first like to express what their ideas are?

Hume: Since Berkeley planned this get together I think he should go first.

Berkeley:  Hume it would be my pleasure.  I would first like to start out by saying that I have given these ideas of mine long and hard thoughts and it is the most logical way that I believe that we come to know things.  I think we feel things that we call sensory impressions.


Hume: Okay so far I agree with what you are saying.

Berkeley:  Good Hume, now I will continue by saying that these [1]sensory impressions give us an idea of what exactly the outside world is without there actually being an outside world.

Kant: We all agree so far with what you are saying to be true about all of us having sensory impressions but what are your other ideas?

Berkeley:  I believe that things are [2]either perceived or to be perceived.

Hume: Do you see a dilemma in what you are saying Berkeley?

Berkeley: Yes there is a dilemma, but I haven’t yet finished.  I am guessing you are referring to the dilemma for such an example as [3]if a tree falls in the forest and no one sees it fall has it really fallen?

Hume: Yes that is the dilemma I was speaking about

Berkeley:  Yes Hume, but see [4]God perceives things that we don’t perceive so there is no dilemma in my statement.  After all Hume we cannot not perceive things.

Hume: Why is it that we can’t not perceive things?

Berkeley:  The answer to your question Hume is very simple.  You see [5]we cannot perceive an object that is independent of the mind.  If we are to conceive of such a thing then we ought to be thinking of them, which is conceiving.

Hume:  While this is a very interesting concept Berkeley, it is very intriguing.  What do you think Kant?

Kant:  I agree with the thought of sensory impressions as I earlier stated but I will save my disagreements until the end when I get to completely hear all of the ideas you both have to offer.

Hume:  Well I am now going to tell you my ideas because Berkeley’s ideas don’t hold all truth.

Berkeley: Well go on, explain your ideas to us.

Hume: Well first, [6]I believe that we do have perceptions, but where we get these perceptions from is unknown to us.  It could be our imagination or something else, but we just don’t know and can’t know exactly.

Kant: Hume you really think this is true?

Hume:  Yes I really do believe this to be true.  I think that as Berkeley said we [7]have sensory impressions, but I believe that we bundle these impressions up.  While some philosophers believe in causation, I believe that [8]we take past experiences and try to make sense of them into our present experiences.  We rely on our previous impressions in our lives to predict the outcome of a certain situation you are currently in.

Kant: Hume now that your beliefs have been brought out now let me explain mine which is complete truth.

Hume:  I have one more belief and then you may talk about your beliefs Kant.  I think that we [9]can only truly know the things that we can experience.  What I mean by this is that the metaphysical theories that modern philosophers among us try to prove is simply untrue.  I like to call this “airy sciences” because they only have “air” of the science to back it up.  I think that as philosophers, we should use our “accurate and just reasoning” to be able to analyze and break apart these metaphysical theories.  Now you may go Kant.  Sorry to go on about this but this is a very important belief of mine.

Berkeley: Go ahead Kant and explain the ideas you have and we can discuss them.  Hume, please no interruptions this time.

Kant: Hume, [10]you have “awoken me from my dogmatic slumber”.  We can’t see what exactly is there, but it has to be there.  Hume I believe that we have to have causation to make sense of the world.

Hume: Why do we need that to make sense of the world?

Kant:  [11]The categories that we put such things into help us to experience many things.  Without these categories it would be hard for us.  I also believe that [12]every being that is rational exists as an end in themselves and not just as a means.

Berkeley: Now that we have all expressed our beliefs can we agree that we have sensory impressions of the world?

Kant: I agree as I think Hume does to, right?

Hume: Yes we are all in agreement.


Berkeley:  Now to get this straight, I believe that [13]we perceive things and what we don’t perceive God perceives for us.  My other thoughts are that [14]we are constantly perceiving because to conceive to an object that is independent of the mind is conceiving.   Hume being a radical empiricist skeptic believes we [15]take experiences that we have had in the past and use them for the current experience at hand.  Hume also stressed that [16]as modern philosophers we must use our accurate reasoning to analyze metaphysical theories in order to speak of complete truth within.  Kant you believe that [17]causation is what helps us to not only make sense of the world, but also helps us to categorize things so we can better experience the world.  Tell me if I misunderstood anything that either of you said.

Kant: What you have said states my beliefs well.

Hume: Yes sounds good to me also.

Berkeley: Very well then, I believe that we now have to decide which belief of ours could possibly hold the most truth.

Hume:  I believe that Kant’s explanation puts a little bit of both of our ideas within his since he too believes in sensory impressions and the thought that [18]causation is how we make sense of the world.

Berkeley: I feel the same way as you do Hume.  Although we all three still have our own thoughts on how we come to know truth, Kant’s ties both of our ideas into his beliefs. Hume, unless you have more proof to your claims, I feel as if we should agree with Kant.  At least until a greater truth is known which could out rule Kant’s beliefs and bring about a more trusting one.

Kant:  I am very glad to see that you see it my way and I wish you all the best with finding the real truth within your ideas.  Good luck with all your endeavors to find truth. Goodbye.

Hume: Have a good day.  I am sure we will be meeting again when I am able to get proof to back up my beliefs.

Berkeley: Yes good day to you two.

Works Cited

“Berkeley, Hume, Kant.” Intro to Philosophy. 3 Feb. 2015. Lecture.

Brown, Charlotte & Morris, William. “David Hume.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Web. 6 May. 2015.

Downing, Lisa. “George Berkeley. “Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Web. 6 May. 2015

Flage, Daniel. “George Berkeley.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Web. 3 Mar. 2015. <>

Kant, Immanuel. “Respect for Persons” Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals. 3 Mar. 2015. Print.

Lorkowski, C.M. “David Hume.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Web. 3 Mar. 2015. <>.

[1] Lecture, 2/3/15

[2] Flage, Daniel. “Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.” George Berkeley

[3] Lecture 2/3/15

[4] Lecture, 2/3/15


[5] Downing, Lisa. “Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.” George Berkeley. 2.2.1 The Master Argument

[6] Lecture 2/3/15

[7] Lecture 2/3/15

[8] Lorkowski, C.M. “Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.”  David Hume. Section 4. Skepticism

[9] Brown, Charlotte & Morris, William “Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.”  David Hume. 3. Philosophical Project.

[10] Lecture 2/3/15

[11] Lecture 2/3/15

[12] Kant, “Respect for Persons” p. #1

[13] Lecture 2/3/15

[14] Downing, Lisa. “Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.” George Berkeley. 2.2.1 The Master Argument

[15] Lorkowski, C.M. “Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.” David Hume. Section 4. Skepticism

[16] Brown, Charlotte & Morris, William “Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.”  David Hume. 3. Philosophical Project.

[17] Lecture 2/3/15

[18] Lecture 2/3/15

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