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Idealistic Studies

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published on May 20, 2014

Inge-Bert Täljedal

Esse est Percipi and Percept Identity in C. J. Boström’s Philosophy

Berkeley’s ‘esse is percipi’ has been criticized for imply­ing epistemological solipsism, the main argument being that different minds cannot harbor numerically one and the same idea. Similarly, C. J. Boström, the dominating Swedish philosopher in the nineteenth century, was early scorned because his principle of esse est percipi al­legedly contradicts the simultaneous claim that two spirits (God and a human, or two humans) can perceive the same thing under qualitatively different appearances. Whereas the criticism against Berkeley is here regarded as valid, it is argued that Boström successfully defended himself by employing a dual concept of meaning, resembling Frege’s Sinn and Bedeutung some thirty years later, and by postulating an ontology that permits human minds to share in the divine ideas that constitute reality.

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