Supernaturalism, occasionalism, and preformation in Malebranche

Perspectives on Science 11 (4):443-483 (2003)
Authors
Karen Detlefsen
University of Pennsylvania
Abstract
Malebranche is both an occasionalist and an advocate of the preformationist theory of generation. One might expect this given that he is a mechanist: passive matter cannot be the source of its own motion and so requires God to move it (occasionalism); and such matter, moving according to a few simple laws of motion, could never fashion something as complex as a living being, and so organisms must be fashioned by God at Creation (preformationism). This expectation finds a challenge in Kant's depiction of the relation between causation and generation. According to Kant, preformation is the generation theory one would expect the advocate of the pre-established harmony to endorse, while the occasionalist would endorse a theory whereby God directly forms the organism upon every insemination. I make sense of Malebranche's position in light of Kant's suggestion by examining the relation Malebranche sees between science and metaphysics, the roles that he believes empirical investigations and final causes have in scientific practice and explanation, and the role of the supernatural in Malebranche's philosophy.
Keywords Malebranche, Nicholas  pre-existence  preformation  occasionalism  generation  teleology  scientific explanation
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1162/106361403773082261
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 38,086
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

Critique of the Power of Judgment.Immanuel Kant - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
The Spontaneous Generation Controversy From Descartes to Oparin.John Farley - 1979 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 30 (1):93-96.

View all 24 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Boyle’s Teleological Mechanism and the Myth of Immanent Teleology.Laurence Carlin - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (1):54-63.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Occasionalism and General Will in Malebranche.Steven M. Nadler - 1993 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 31 (1):31-47.
Malebranche's Occasionalism.Alan Baker - 2005 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 79 (2):251-272.
François Lamy, Occasionalism, and the Mind-Body Problem.Fred Ablondi - 2008 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (4):pp. 619-629.
The Cambridge Companion to Malebranche.Steven Nadler (ed.) - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Causation, Intentionality, and the Case for Occasionalism.Walter Ott - 2008 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 90 (2):165-187.
Descartes and Malebranche on Thought, Sensation and the Nature of the Mind.Antonia Lolordo - 2005 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 43 (4):387-402.
Malebranche.Andrew Pyle - 2003 - Routledge.
Causality and Human Freedom in Malebranche.Fred Ablondi - 1996 - Philosophy and Theology 9 (3-4):321-331.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
55 ( #124,597 of 2,313,339 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #205,543 of 2,313,339 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature