Malebranche on Ideas

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (2):241 - 285 (2004)
I sketch a new interpretation of Malebranche's conception of ideas, thus shedding new light on various of his key doctrines, such as the efficacy of ideas, involuntarism concerning the eternal truths, indirect perception, and vision in God. Briefly, I argue that Malebranche's ideas may be construed as "possible divine volitions," where these are conceptually distinguishable aspects of God, primitively possessed of representational content, by whose exercise God manifests His efficacy. I also defend the claim that Malebranche, in fact, does not subscribe to a "veil of ideas" representationalism, and give two alternative accounts of what he means by saying that we perceive bodies only "indirectly."
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DOI 10.2307/40232216
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