David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
British Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (4):623 - 646 (2011)
This paper is the first of a two-part reexamination of causation in Descartes's physics. Some scholars ? including Gary Hatfield and Daniel Garber ? take Descartes to be a `partial' Occasionalist, who thinks that God alone is the cause of all natural motion. Contra this interpretation, I agree with literature that links Descartes to the Thomistic theory of divine concurrence. This paper surveys this literature, and argues that it has failed to provide an interpretation of Descartes's view that both distinguishes his position from that of his later, Occasionalist followers and is consistent with his broader metaphysical commitments. I provide an analysis that tries to address these problems with earlier `Concurentist' readings of Descartes. On my analysis, Occasionalism entails that created substances do not have intrinsic active causal powers. As I read him, Descartes thinks that bodies have active causal powers that are partly grounded in their intrinsic natures. But I argue ? pace a recent account by Tad Schmaltz ? that Descartes also thinks that God immediately causes all motion in the created world. On the picture that emerges, Descartes's position is both continuous with, and a subtle departure from, the Thomisitic theory of divine concurrence
|Keywords||causation Occasionalism laws of physics|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
John Hedley Brooke (2012). Reconciling Religious Tradition and Modern Science. Zygon 47 (2):322-336.
Similar books and articles
Helen Hattab (2007). Concurrence or Divergence? Reconciling Descartes's Physics with His Metaphysics. Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (1):49-78.
Andrew Pessin (2010). Divine Simplicity and the Eternal Truths: Descartes and the Scholastics. Philosophia 38 (1):69-105.
M. T. (2003). Cartesian Causation: Body-Body Interaction, Motion, and Eternal Truths. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 34 (4):737-762.
Geoffrey Gorham (2004). Cartesian Causation: Continuous, Instantaneous, Overdetermined. Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (4):389-423.
C. P. Ragland (2005). Descartes on Divine Providence and Human Freedom. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 87 (2):159-188.
Stephen Menn (1990). Descartes and Some Predecessors on the Divine Conservation of Motion. Synthese 83 (2):215 - 238.
Helen Hattab (2000). The Problem of Secondary Causation in Descartes: A Response to Des Chene. Perspectives on Science 8 (2):93-118.
David Cunning (2003). Descartes on the Immutability of the Divine Will. Religious Studies 39 (1):79-92.
Paul Hoffman (2009). Essays on Descartes. Oxford University Press.
Walter Ott (2008). Régis's Scholastic Mechanism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (1):2-14.
Dan Kaufman (2003). Infimus Gradus Libertatis? Descartes on Indifference and Divine Freedom. Religious Studies 39 (4):391-406.
Julie R. Klein (2003). The Question of Pantheism in the Second Objections to Descartes's Meditations. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 77 (3):357-379.
Added to index2011-07-29
Total downloads52 ( #34,935 of 1,140,287 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #140,127 of 1,140,287 )
How can I increase my downloads?