Occasionalism in the Malebranche-Arnauld Debate

Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst (1992)
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The philosophical and theological debate between Nicola Malebranche and Antoine Arnauld is one of the most important philosophical exchanges of the late seventeenth century. One of the most significant products of this debate is Malebranche's clarification of his theory of causality, known as occasionalism. A theory of causality, in this case, is a theory in answer to the question, what is the extent of God's causal agency in the world and what room does that leave for causality in created substances? Occasionalism is a version of the view that God is the only causal agent. Arnauld's principal criticisms are directed against the details of Malebranche's account rather than the main thesis. Contemporaneously with this debate, Arnauld was carrying on his celebrated correspondence with Leibniz. Arnauld claims to Leibniz that the latter's own theory of causality, the theory of concomitance, is indistiguishable from occasionalism. By examining the details of occasionalism, as they are discussed in the Malebranche-Arnauld debate, it may be established to what extent Arnauld's claim is true



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Malebranche versus Arnauld.Monte Cook - 1991 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 29 (2):183-199.
Occasionalism and the Cartesian Metaphysic of Motion.T. M. Lennon - 1975 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume 1 (1):29.

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