Malebranche 1638-1715

His the best advocate of Occasionalism and most well known.
His metaphysical position is often called “Panentheism.” (Everything exists in God)

Malebranche was the greatest representative of Occasionalism under the Cartesian influences
Malebranche was in the monastery of “L’Oratoire,” which was founded by Descartes’ friend bishop. the basic traits of this monastery’s philosophy was Augustinian and we find an affinity between in Descartes’ philosophy and St. Augustine who was basically a Neo-Platonist, thus was more close to Plato’s philosophy (in upholding intuition, in particular) than to Aristotle.

Malebranche started to be interested in philosophy by reading Descartes’ “Traité de l’homme.” This was a portion of the unpublished opus, “Le monde.”

Arnould, being a rationalist, published “Des vraies et des fausses idées.,” and
criticized Malebranche’s philosophy. Malebranche was a mystic.

1. De la recherche de la vérité
2. Entretiens sur la metaphysique

Malebranche made inquiry into the methods of truth,
uncovering errors
attaining certain truth.

Unlike Descartes, whom the dualism of mind and matter was the result of his inquiry,
To Malebranche,
The Dualism of Mind and Matter was the starting point of his inquiry (which was pregiven and already established by Descartes)

Mind and Matter are conceived totally separately and unrelated.
Malebranche’s question was, “How do Mind and Matter come together?”

Thinking has 5 modi:
Senses — work to preserve one’s body,
does not give true picture of reality
which is given only mathematically.
Imagination —

Understanding — (or pure spirit) recognizes the object which is an Idea in the Platonic sense, thus is eternal

Inclination or natural movement of spirit — Love of God

Passions — which confuse us

All the genuine knowledge are of clear and distinct ideas
but those ideas are not ours, but Divine.

“Nous voyons toutes les choses en Dieu.” Recherché II, III, IV
(We see everything in God.)

For example, the infinite extension is A Divine Idea
which is one modus of the infinite Spirit (=God)
The intelligible Understanding exists in God.
Why I perceive the infinite extension is because we participate in this intelligible understanding.
In other words,
This “in God” means the Platonic “participation in God.”

I. Occasionalism (1)=Intersubjectivity
As far as Descartes was concerned, there was no problem of the existence of other Egos.
To Malebranche this question of intersubjectivity must be dealt with as the question of Divine Mediation, i.e., all the minds are interrelated in God, God is their foundation.

II. Occasionalism (2)=Mind-Body Problem
God is the Mediator between Mind and Body. Thus, there must be infinite numbers of miracles.

“God have willed that my arm is to be moved in the very instant that I want myself…”

All occasions and motions (between Mind and Body) are solely caused by God.

“Toutes les causes naturelles sont occaionelles!”
(All the natural causes are occasional.)

Malebranche saw all in God,
that made him understand that
all in indeed in God! = Panentheism (Everything is in God) by Malebranche
Pantheism (Everything is God) by Spinoza

We can follow the development of Descartes-Malebranche-Leibniz-Kant-Fichte-Hegel.


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