occasionalism


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Related to occasionalism: Double aspect theory

occasionalism,

metaphysical doctrine that denies that finite things have any active power and asserts that God is the only cause, whereas physical events and mental states are only occasions for God's action. Muslim theologians in the 8th cent. developed a version of occasionalism as an alternative to Aristotelian theories of causality. Occasionalism gained currency in the West in the 17th cent., when Arnold Geulincx and Nicolas Malebranche developed theories to resolve the problem of interaction in general, and of that between mind (immaterial) and body (material) in particular, which was posed by the dualism of René Descartes.

Occasionalism

 

in 17th-century Western European philosophy, a trend that idealistically resolved the problem of the relationship between body and soul posed earlier by the dualist philosophy of Descartes. Adherents of occasionalism included J. Clauberg, A. Geulinex, and N. de Malebranche.

The inability of Cartesian dualism to account for the way in which the soul influences the body and vice versa served as the point of departure for occasionalism, which maintained that interaction between body and soul is essentially impossible. According to the occasionalists, that which appears to be the bodily stimulus of some thought or act of will is in reality nothing more than the occasion for the true active cause, which can only be god.

The occasionalists regarded the interaction of body and soul as the result of a continual “miracle”: the direct involvement of the divinity in each separate instance. This idealist revision of Cartesian philosophy reached its culmination in Malebranche, who stated that it was impossible for the body to influence the soul. Furthermore, one body could not even influence another body. In the philosophy of G. Leibniz, occasionalism was revised as the theory of predetermined harmony.

REFERENCES

Vvedenskii, A. I. Dekart i okkazionalizm. Berlin-Petrograd-Moscow, 1922.
Bykhovskii, B. E. Filosofiia Dekarta. Moscow-Leningrad, 1940. Pages 138–48.
Lenoble, R. Mersenne, ou la naissance du mécanisme. Paris, 1943. (Contains excerpts from the writings of the occasionalists as well as references.)
Balz, A. Cartesian Studies. New York, 1951.
Callot, E. Problèmes du cartésianisme. Cardet-Annecy, 1956.

V. V. SOKOLOV

References in periodicals archive ?
29) For Leibniz's denial of occasionalism, see G 2.
This is neither occasionalism nor concurrentism (76-7, 85-6); rather, Schmaltz is recommending mere conservationism.
Francois Lamy, Occasionalism, and the Mind-Body Problem, FRED ABLONDI
But Suarez rejected occasionalism because it denies that things have natures which are natural sources of action and efficacy.
Fourth, formal causality in nature comes under especially heavy attack from the Christian Cartesian, Malebranche, whose doctrine of occasionalism was an important target for Leibniz.
Manfred Kuehn outlines the intellectual situation at Konigsberg at the end of Kant's schooling, with focus on competing accounts of relations among substances--real change physical influx, occasionalism, and universal harmony--arguing centrally that Kant's Thoughts on the True Estimation of Living Forces was an act of rebellion (not discipleship) against Martin Knutzen, leader of the dominating, anti-Wolffian Pietists, who argued for the sufficiency of influx (aligned with Locke and the Aristotelian tradition) and the dangers of preestablished harmony (especially its alleged conflict with free will).
Occasionalism and Occasional Causation in Descartes' Philosophy, DAVID SCOTT
The distinction between general and particular volitions is central to Nicolas Malebranche's theories of divine activity, theodicy, and occasionalism.
Generally, the sorts of topics found in the collection are: the origin and nature of matter, the problems of dealing with the new conception of matter in science, early Modern views on the implications of microscopy, the nature of occasionalism, the problems of mind-body and body-body interaction, and the role that tolerance played in religion and philosophy.
Accordingly, the nomic theory is incoherent and ultimately collapses into what is here called neo- occasionalism, and powers turns out to be the only available option for those who believe that properties genuinely confer dispositions on their bearers or accept even a minimal realism about dispositions.
In the above surdetermination and most direct presentation of Reality, the Whole Object ([O]bject, Surject, Qualon) that intrinsically (in the utmost eidetic-noetic sense) transcends and overcomes all logical predication (transitive and intransitive) between object and subject--as well as between occasionalism and substantivalism, i.
This was clearly the systematization of Ash'arite occasionalism (81) put forward for the explication of the relationship between the universe and God; and by associating this with the mechanistic view of the universe Nursi gave a different color to it.