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Occasionalism

DOI
10.4324/9780415249126-K057-2
Versions
Published
2015
DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-K057-2
Version: v2,  Published online: 2015
Retrieved October 16, 2018, from https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/occasionalism/v-2

Article Summary

Occasionalism was a theory of causation that played an important role in early modern metaphysics. In its most radical form, this theory holds that God is the only genuine cause, with natural events serving merely as ‘occasions’ for divine activity. According to an old textbook view, which has its source in the seventeenth century, occasionalism was introduced as an ad hoc solution to the problem, deriving from Descartes’s dualism, of how mind and body can causally interact. In fact, however, occasionalism has a history that dates from long before Descartes, and it was initially offered as a solution to theological rather than purely metaphysical difficulties. After Descartes, moreover, occasionalism remained significant for reasons that go far beyond the issue of mind-body interaction.

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Citing this article:
Schmaltz, Tad. Occasionalism, 2015, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-K057-2. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis, https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/thematic/occasionalism/v-2.
Copyright © 1998-2018 Routledge.

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