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Related to occasionalism: Double aspect theory


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.



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.


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.


References in periodicals archive ?
This is the moral version of the objection against occasionalism that physical properties ought to figure into the explanation of physical laws and facts.
Let us begin with the first of these theories, occasionalism.
a new neutral synthesis of ubiquitous doctrines such as substantivalism and occasionalism, as well as absolutism and relativism, for cosmology and cosmogony.
As we alluded earlier, the most salient feature of the new Said period was the systematization of "Ash'arite occasionalism.
Falcato, coming on the heels of Marques, defends occasionalism and repudiates the minimalists' proposal regarding actual meaning derivation from sentences.
This is why we can significantly say that Malebranche's account of general will is related to his account of occasionalism.
One may also add that the new kalam also impacted early modern European explorations of various forms of occasionalism and their epistemological, cosmological, and theological implications.
This doctrine of Geulinex and Malebranche is called the theory of occasionalism.
Hace poco mas de cincuenta anos Majid Fakhry publico el libro Islamic occasionalism en el que revisa a detalle las criticas de Averroes contra las vertientes juridico-teologicas medievales que sostuvieron el determinismo duro y hasta el ocasionalismo.
The efficacy of practical thought in producing the physical events involved in action remains to be accounted for in a way that does not simply collapse into the CTA, at the risk of advocating a kind of occasionalism.
The topic of causation has received considerable treatment from the dawn of philosophy, and the highlights of this story are widely known: Aristotle's four causes, the neo-Platonic doctrine of emanation, the divine intervention found in Islamic and French occasionalism, and Hume's skeptical doubts about causation along with Kant's half-hearted solution.
Fakhry, Majid, 1958, Islamic Occasionalism and Its Critique by Averroes and Aquinas, George Allen and Unwin, Londres.