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Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, Volume VII$
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Daniel Garber and Donald Rutherford

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198748717

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198748717.001.0001

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Occasionalism, Human Freedom, and Consent in Malebranche

Occasionalism, Human Freedom, and Consent in Malebranche

‘Things that Undermine Each Other’?

Chapter:
(p.150) (p.151) 5 Occasionalism, Human Freedom, and Consent in Malebranche
Source:
Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, Volume VII
Author(s):

Sean Greenberg

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198748717.003.0005

Malebranche’s readers have generally taken him to be unable to reconcile his commitments to occasionalism and to human freedom—acts of consent and the suspension of consent, which Malebranche calls the ‘essence of human freedom’. The chapter argues that Malebranche can explain consent and the suspension of consent without compromising occasionalism: consent requires no causal power because it is a failure; the suspension of consent also requires no causal power because it is a judgment about the true good that agents can make in virtue of their capacity for intellectual attention and which, according to Malebranche, does not require any causal power. In light of the significance of the capacity for intellectual attention to Malebranche’s account of the suspension of consent, the chapter concludes that the real problem of human freedom, for Malebranche, is to reconcile occasionalism and the attribution to human beings of the capacity for intellectual attention.

Keywords:   attention, consent, freedom, judgment, Malebranche, occasionalism, suspension

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