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Occasionalism – Causation Among the Cartesians - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Occasionalism: Causation Among the Cartesians

Steven Nadler


This book is a collection of essays on the problem of causation in seventeenth-century philosophy. Occasionalism is the doctrine, held by a number of early modern Cartesian thinkers, that created substances are devoid of any true causal powers, and that God is the only real causal agent in the universe. All natural phenomena have God as their direct and immediate cause, with natural things and their states serving only as “occasions” for God to act. Rather than being merely an ad hoc, deus ex machina response to the mind-body problem bequeathed by Descartes to his followers (especially Malebra ... More

Keywords: causation, God, Cartesianism, Descartes, occasionalism, medieval philosophy, seventeenth century, Malebranche, Cordemoy, La Forge

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2010 Print ISBN-13: 9780198250081
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198250081.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Steven Nadler, author
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Author Webpage