Gilson on Idealism & RealismI. Idealist philosophy from Descartes to the logical positivistsA. Descartes: idealist in method, realist in intention. Tried to build a bridge from thought to reality. Implicitly made knowing (thinking) the condition of being.B. Malebranche. Discovered that transitive causality (from one substance to another) within the created order made no sense, from an idealist perspective. Adopted occasionalism: God causes everything, secondary "causes" are only occasions for Divine activity. (MR, 89)B. Berkeley. Denies the existence of matter. Everything physical is a system of ideas in God's mind. Finite spirits do exist, and do exercise real causation (in the exercise of their will).C. Hume extended Malebranche's occasionalism to God, undermining any causal argument for God's existence. Causation is nothing more than the regular succession of ideas in space & time. No room for "metaphysical" causes -- not even within the mind. The "will" consists merely in the perceived sequence of mental states. (MR, 90)D. Kant's Copernican Revolution: the world of nature must conform to the requirements of
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