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Hume Studies Volume 27, Number 1, April 2001, pp. 99-127 Dialogue between Berkeley and Hume LOUIS FRÉDÉRIC ANCILLON Translated from the French by CHARLOTTE STANLEY Berkeley. How can we look at ourselves without laughing?1 Hume: It is good to be merry, but I don't see the connection here. Berkeley: Oh! It was never more sensible. What did I do in my Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous2 and what did you do in your Philosophical Essays?3 While metaphysicians of every century, exhausting themselves in research on the first principles of things, lean on the reality of concrete objects on the one hand, and on the reality of axioms and their correspondence with what happens outside of us on the other, we have amused ourselves by taking these two foundations away from them, the only ones on which they could stand; in return for which, they are, if I'm not mistaken, up in the air, and (if the expression were not too free for such serious personages) literally "tossed in a blanket." Two little Idealisms have done it: one, which is yours and is called transcendent, denies (in things) the ontological connection of cause and effect [87] which produces and regulates their existence; the other, which is mine, denies the things themselves. Could it be called physical [corporel], sensible [sensible], phenomenal [phénoménique] idealism? I don't know. To me there is even something a little unnatural in the association of these words; but names do not mean anything here, and while waiting for my view to receive the honors of a labeling commensurate to yours and which distinguishes it from yours with both brevity and accuracy, I consider it the match and the twin of yours. At least it strikes metaphysics just as severely. That science, which we Charlotte Stanley is the co-translator, with John L. Stanley, of Georges Sorel, The Illusions of Progress (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969), and other works. She is presently translating Pierre Bayle. 100 Louis Frédéric Ancillon grasp and destroy from two sides, seems to be like a tree in our hands. I intercept all communication between the roots and the ground; you remove all the effects of the sky on the top: think how the middle must fare.4 Hume: Your comparison is valid, and I believe that under the rubric Berkeley -Hume or Hume-Berkeley wonderful things should happen. But I'm not entirely happy with the role you're assigning to me, and it seems to me that in my Enquiries I explained your system forcefully enough, with enough good will and partiality for you to admit me into your domain, while allowing me mine, where, moreover, you'll always be welcome when you do me the honor of working in it. I hope that in your domain you'll allow me to pass alternately with my caterpillar's teeth from the root to the top, and from the top to the root of your metaphysical tree, all for the greater good of the cause. Two sappers build a better trench than one. Berkeley: I admire your zeal; I'll even add what your modesty doesn't allow you to say: that your superior talents would make an excellent acquisition for the good cause. But, between us, let it be said that you scare me, your views and intentions are suspect to me. I have religion; I only [88] destroy in order to build. I don't like false attacks, and I don't like the great truths that make man's happiness to be attacked under the pretext of uprooting prejudices and combatting error. See the title of my book: Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous. The design of which is plainly to demonstrate the reality and perfection of human knowledge, the incorporeal nature of the soul, and the immediate providence of a Deity: in opposition to Sceptics and Atheists. Hume: Nothing is more edifying than this title; thus the effect it must have produced on all godly souls worked as well on me. But you know that edification, no more than comparison, is not always reason, and that I...


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