Malebranche - Malebranche Malebranche: Some Key Points 1....

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Malebranche Malebranche: Some Key Points 1. Ideas are the immediate objects of knowledge and the ground of truth · all ideas are in God · geometrical truth => idea of intelligible extension · idea of intelligible extension = archetype of the material world · God enlightens us with the idea of intelligible extension but not the idea of the essence of our own mind · Intellectual truths are truths about relations of proportion (based on idea of intelligible extension) or relations of perfection (based on idea of God as supremely perfect) 2. God · the reality of the idea of intelligible extension implies God's existence · in this we "see" that God exists but not what God is · Malebranche also defends our direct knowledge of God’s existence. To think of God at all, is to affirm God’s existence: “we cannot see the essence of the infinite without its existence, the idea of being without being" ( Philosophical Selections , 162) 3. Sense Perception · sensations (color, light, odor, sound, pain/pleasure) are modifications of the soul · the "occasional causes" of sensations are motions of matter that affect our sense organs and ultimately the brain · we do not sense things as extended; we see light, color in intelligible extension · there is no demonstrative proof of the existence of bodies; Malebranche argues for their existence in a way similar to Descartes in Meditation Six (see Philosophical Selections , 83) 4. Occasionalism · Occasionalism is the doctrine that finite things are only "occasional causes" (or "occasions") of changes in other finite things. God is the only real cause of any change that occurs in the world · Laws of nature are "efficacious divine volitions" · Malebranche relies on a variety of arguments in defending occasionalism: · there is a necessary connection between any true cause and its effect; but such a relation only exists between the will of God and what he creates · there is no real distinction between divine creation and conservation, and God always creates things with determinate properties (e.g. bodies are at rest or in motion) · if bodies were able to exist without God's continuously willing their existence, then God would be unable to destroy them · matter (extension) lacks any power to effect change (and we are unaware of any such power in the soul) · if the mind were capable of moving the body it would have to know the exact position of all the particles of matter that make up the body. 5. Freedom · Despite the claims of occasionalism, Malebranche maintains that the human will possesses a freedom sufficient to render human beings responsible for error and sin. 1. The doctrine of occasionalism is the backbone of Malebranche’s philosophy. Roughly, the doctrine asserts
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This note was uploaded on 02/07/2009 for the course PHIL Phil 104 taught by Professor Irwin during the Fall '08 term at UCSD.

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Malebranche - Malebranche Malebranche: Some Key Points 1....

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