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BOOK REVIEWS i59 well-being. This solution is not at all the same as that which Descartes had given earlier in the fourth Meditation concerning conscious and moral evil (A.T., 7:6]; 9/1: 48), where he takes up again the classical thesis of the ontological imperfection of the created being and the various degrees of perfection, in order not to blame God for the negation of perfection which, on the positive side, is a constituent part of the created being and it is in virtue of this that man is given the gift of responsibility. According to Landucci, the discovery of Descartes' precarious balance of solutions regarding the justification of God represents a kind of crossroads in modern thought, because, by exploiting the permeability of the texts and the objective divergence and convergence of the same arguments in the limited period of a few decades, it is not impossible for him, though it is sometimes difficult, to demonstrate that modern theodicy is essentially a Cartesian problem. Indeed, all that was needed to disturb that balance was to generalize to the whole universe the argumentation regarding machines that Descartes had developed in the sixth Meditation. Comparing a watch that works badly to the idea of a perfect watch, Descartes says, is a simple denominatio extrinseca that concerns my thought--and the result would be Spinoza, for whom, indeed, the reduction of evil to extrinsic denomination was universally valid, whereas if one generalized to the whole of creation Descartes' solution to the relationship in man between mind and body--the corruption of nature in this case is verus error naturae--one would get Malebranche. Landucci's book is very well thought out, valuable and indispensable for scholars of both Descartes and Leibniz, and especially for those wishing to venture upon a comparison between Cartesian theodicy and that of Leibniz. The latter, in our opinion, cannot be reduced, for the history of philosophy and theology, to a mere re-proposal of classical, Christian, Renaissance, or any pre-Cartesian ideas. GIUSEPPE TOGNON University of Rome A. C. Grayling. Berkeley: The Central Arguments. La Salle: Open Court, 1986. Pp. xii + 218. $96.95. Here is a subde but spirited defense of many of Berkeley's central arguments. The tools of philosophical analysis have often been used to show where Berkeley went wrong; Grayling uses them to try to show that Berkeley got much right. Along the way, some of Berkeley's leading critics are combatted, and Berkeley's views on issues like existence and conceivability are studied in relation to the work of recent philosophers. To understand Berkeley, Grayling holds, three levels over which his arguments range must be distinguished: the level (1) of the content of our sensory states, (2) of our common-sense beliefs, and (3) of a metaphysical theory that tries to account for both sensory states and common-sense beliefs. One of this book's merits is its sustained effort to show the relation between these levels and to keep track of which of them Berkeley is at any time conducting his argument at. At the third level, Berkeley departs radically from the views of other philosophers, but at the second level, Grayling argues, he is closer to the common-sense view than are 16o JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY ~7:1 JANUARY 198 9 many other philosophers. For, central to the common-sense view, thinks Grayling, are the beliefs (~) that the properties we perceive in bodies belong inherently to them, and (2) that bodies exist whether we human beings perceive them or not. Since many philosophers have held that the intrinsic properties of bodies are different from those they appear to us to have, they deny the first of these beliefs. But Berkeley, argues Grayling, preserves both of these beliefs, for he rejects any distinction between how things appear and how they are, while insisting that bodies exist whether perceived by us or not. God, of course, is central to reconciling Berkeley's metaphysics to common sense, for he must not only perceive things when we do not, but he must perceive the same things we perceive. If the tree in the quad does not have the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 159-161
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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