Berkeley on Voluntary Motion: A Conservationist Account

Ruch Filozoficzny 74 (4):71–98 (2018)
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A plausible reading of Berkeley’s view of voluntary motion is occasionalism; this, however, leads to a specious conclusion against his argument of human action. Differing from an unqualified occasionalist reading, I consider the alternative reading that Berkeley is a conservationist regarding bodily motion by the human mind at will. That is, finite minds (spirits) immediately cause motions in their body parts, albeit under the divine conservation. My argument then comports with the conservationist reading from three perspectives: (i) theodicy that the human mind is held liable for sinful actions; (ii) an account of the human mind influencing other minds; and (iii) an improper but necessary directing principle of the human mind. This article is a stepping stone to grasping why the conservationist reading is more coherent than the occasionalist one.
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Archival date: 2019-02-12
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