Philosophers' Imprint (forthcoming)

Colin Chamberlain
Temple University
Do the senses represent causation? Many commentators read Malebranche as anticipating Hume’s negative answer to this question. I disagree with this assessment. When a yellow billiard ball strikes a red billiard ball, Malebranche holds that we see the yellow ball as causing the red ball to move. Given Malebranche’s occasionalism, he insists that the visual experience of causal interaction is illusory. Nevertheless, Malebranche holds that the senses (mis)represent finite things as causally efficacious. This experience of creaturely causality does important explanatory work for Malebranche: it explains why Aristotelian philosophers and ordinary folk have difficulty recognizing occasionalism’s truth.
Keywords Malebranche  causation  contents of perception  sensory perception  Hume
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