Malebranche and the General Will of God

Central to Nicolas Malebranche?s theodicy is the distinction between general volitions and particular volitions. One of the fundamental claims of his theodicy is that although God created a world with suffering and evil, God does not will these things by particular volitions, but only by general volitions. Commentators disagree about how to interpret Malebranche?s distinction. According to the ?general content? interpretation, the difference between general volitions and particular volitions is a difference in content. General volitions have general laws as their content and particular volitions have particular contents. The ?particular content? interpretation holds that all of God?s volitions have particular contents. The difference between general and particular volitions is whether the content of the volition is in accordance with the laws that God has established. A proper interpretation of this distinction is essential to understanding Malebranche?s theodicy, as well as his account of occasionalism and God?s causal activity in the world. In this paper, I defend the ?particular content? interpretation of the distinction
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DOI 10.1080/09608788.2011.624706
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Steven M. Nadler (1993). Occasionalism and General Will in Malebranche. Journal of the History of Philosophy 31 (1):31-47.

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