occasionalism
The view that reserves causal efficacy to the action of God. Events in the world merely form occasions on which God acts so as to bring about the events normally accompanying them, and thought of as their effects. Although the position is associated especially with Malebranche, it is much older; many among the Mutakallimun (see kalam ) of 9th-century Islamic philosophy reserved efficient causation to God, and Al-Ghazali transmitted the doctrine to the medieval world, where it is opposed, for example, by Aquinas . The doctrine also bears affinities with earlier criticisms of empirical causation found in the Samkhya school of Indian philosophy, and criticisms later famously associated with Hume . In the philosophy of mind, the difficulty of seeing how mind and body can interact suggests that we ought instead to think of them as two systems running in parallel. When I stub my toe, this does not cause pain, but there is a harmony between the mental and the physical (perhaps due to God) that ensures that there will be a simultaneous pain; when I form an intention and then act, the same benevolence ensures that my action is appropriate to my intention. The theory has never been wildly popular, and in its application to the mind–body problem many philosophers would say that it was the result of a misconceived Cartesian dualism.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Occasionalism — Daisie Radner The seventeenth century doctrine known as occasionalism arose in response to a perceived problem. Cartesian philosophy generated the problem and provided the context for the answer. In the Cartesian ontology, mind and matter are… …   History of philosophy

  • Occasionalism — • The metaphysical theory which maintains that finite things have no efficient causality of their own, but that whatever happens in the world is caused by God, creatures being merely the occasions of the Divine activity. Catholic Encyclopedia.… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Occasionalism — is a philosophical theory about causation which says that created substances cannot be efficient causes of events. Instead, all events are taken to be caused directly by God. (A related theory, which has been called occasional causation , also… …   Wikipedia

  • occasionalism —    Occasionalism is the doctrine that there is no efficient causation within creation. As such, whatever appears to be a case of efficient causation (for example, fire s roasting flesh) is really just the coincidence of events (the fire burns, the …   Christian Philosophy

  • Occasionalism — Oc*ca sion*al*ism, n. (Metaph.) The system of occasional causes; a name given to certain theories of the Cartesian school of philosophers, as to the intervention of the First Cause, by which they account for the apparent reciprocal action of the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • occasionalism — [ə kā′zhənəl iz΄əm] n. in post Cartesian philosophy, the doctrine that, since mind and matter cannot interact, the intervention of God is required to synchronize corresponding acts of mind and movements of the body …   English World dictionary

  • occasionalism — occasionalist, n. occasionalistic, adj. /euh kay zheuh nl iz euhm/, n. Philos. a theory that there is no natural interaction between mind and matter, but that God makes mental events correspond to physical perceptions and actions. [1835 45;… …   Universalium

  • occasionalism —    The theory that God, because He is omnipotent, must be the only real agent and thus the single, proximal cause of all events in the world. It is closely associated in Islamic theology with the doctrine of atomism, according to which God… …   Islamic philosophy dictionary

  • occasionalism — noun A metaphysical doctrine that holds that all events are occasioned (caused) by God himself …   Wiktionary

  • OCCASIONALISM —    the doctrine that the action of the spiritual organisation on the material, and of the material on the spiritual, or of the inner on the outer, and the outer on the inner, is due to the divine interposition taking occasion of the effort of… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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