Causation, intentionality, and the case for occasionalism

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Despite their influence on later philosophers such as Hume, Malebranche's central arguments for occasionalism remain deeply puzzling. Both the famous ‘no necessary connection’ argument and what I call the epistemic argument include assumptions – e.g., that a true cause is logically necessarily connected to its effect – that seem unmotivated, even in their context. I argue that a proper understanding of late scholastic views lets us see why Malebranche would make this assumption. Both arguments turn on the claim that a volition is the only candidate for a cause, because only a volition can include an effect as its intentional content.
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Archival date: 2019-06-27
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