Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Early Modern PhilosophyMind, Matter, and Metaphysics$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Christia Mercer and Eileen O'Neill

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195177602

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195177606.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 October 2020

Occasionalism and Strict Mechanism

Occasionalism and Strict Mechanism

Malebranche, Berkeley, Fontenelle

(p.206) Occasionalism and Strict Mechanism
Early Modern Philosophy

Lisa Downing

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines a connection between metaphysics and philosophy, namely, the relation between occasionalist metaphysics and strict mechanism. It focuses on the work of Nicholas Malebranche, the most influential Cartesian philosopher after Descartes himself. It is argued that Malebranche is in a poor position to resist attractionism, that is, his combination of occasionalism and strict mechanism is an unstable one. Two, more stable alternatives adjoining Malebranche's position are identified, both of which are genuinely Cartesian: Berkeley's occasionalist openness to Newtonian attractionism (properly understood), and Fontenelle's essentialist Cartesian mechanism. By examining the alternative positions available around the nexus of occasionalism and mechanism, as those positions were occupied by actual philosophers, we gain a better understanding of the logic of the debate over attraction, as well as of the systems of Malebranche, Berkeley, and Fontenelle.

Keywords:   occasionalist metaphysics, philosophy, strict mechanism, Malebranche, Berkeley, Fontenelle, Cartesian mechanism

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .