Cartesian causation: body–body interaction, motion, and eternal truths

Abstract
There is considerable debate among scholars over whether Descartes allowed for genuine body–body interaction. I begin by considering Michael Della Rocca’s recent claim that Descartes accepted such interaction, and that his doctrine of the creation of the eternal truths indicates how this interaction could be acceptable to him. Though I agree that Descartes was inclined to accept real bodily causes of motion, I differ from Della Rocca in emphasizing that his ontology ultimately does not allow for them. This is not the end of the story however, since two of Descartes’s successors offered incompatible ways of developing his conflicted account of motion. I contrast the occasionalist view of Nicolas Malebranche that changes in motion derive directly from divine volitions with the non-occasionalist claim of Pierre-Sylvain Regis that such changes derive from a nature distinct from God. In light of Della Rocca’s interpretation, it is noteworthy that the issue of eternal truths is relevant to both alternative accounts. Indeed, Regis took the doctrine that such truths are created to provide crucial support for his alternative to an occasionalist account of body–body interaction. What does not help Della Rocca, however, is that Regis’s view of motion requires a fundamental revision of Descartes’s ontology.Author Keywords: Descartes; Malebranche; Regis; Causation; Motion; Eternal Truths
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 13,022
External links
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
Jonathan Bennett (1994). Descartes's Theory of Modality. Philosophical Review 103 (4):639-667.
Andrew G. Black (1997). Malebranche's Theodicy. Journal of the History of Philosophy 35 (1):27-44.
Desmond Clarke (2000). Causal Powers and Occasionalism From Descartes to Malebranche. In John Schuster, Stephen Gaukroger & John Sutton (eds.), Descartes' Natural Philosophy. Routledge. 131--48.

View all 24 references

Citations of this work BETA
Walter Ott (2008). Régis's Scholastic Mechanism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39 (1):2-14.
Similar books and articles
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.
Babu Thaliath (2008). The Ontological Causation. Journal of Dharma 33 (1):33-56.
Kristoffer Ahlstrom (2010). What Descartes Did Not Know. Journal of Value Inquiry 44 (3):297-311.
William Jaworski (2005). Hylomorphism and Mental Causation. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 79:201-216.
Irene Switankowsky (2000). Dualism and its Importance for Medicine. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 21 (6):567-580.
Daniel Garber (2004). Leibniz on Body, Matter and Extension. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 78 (1):23–40.
Eva Kit Wah Man (2007). A Contemporary Reflection of a Confucian Theory of the Body. The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 7:173-177.
Thomas M. Lennon (2007). The Eleatic Descartes. Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (1):29-45.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-09-02

Total downloads

13 ( #136,785 of 1,410,432 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #75,847 of 1,410,432 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.