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Descartes on Causation$
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Tad M. Schmaltz

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195327946

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327946.001.0001

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The Scholastic Context

The Scholastic Context

Chapter:
(p.9) 1 The Scholastic Context
Source:
Descartes on Causation
Author(s):

Tad M. schmaltz

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327946.003.0002

This chapter considers the medieval and scholastic context of Descartes's theory of causation. It starts with a brief account of the origins of occasionalism in medieval Islamic theology, and then turns to two different alternatives to occasionalism in the later medieval period, namely, the “concurrentism” of Thomas Aquinas, according to which God “concurs” in the action of secondary causes, and the “mere conservationism” of Durandus of Saint-Pourçain, according to which God merely creates and conserves secondary causes that act on their own. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the metaphysical framework for efficient causality in the work of the early modern scholastic Francisco Suárez that prepares the way for a transition from a more traditional Aristotelian view of causality to what we find in Descartes.

Keywords:   medieval occasionalism, concurrentism, mere conservationism, efficient cause, Thomas Aquinas, Durandus, Suárez

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