from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The doctrine that God is the sole causal actor and that all events are merely occasions on which God brings about what are normally thought of as their effects.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A metaphysical doctrine that holds that all events are occasioned (caused) by God himself

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. 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 soul and the body.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In philosophy, the doctrine that mind and matter can produce effects upon each other only through the direct intervention of God; the doctrine of occasional causes. See under occasional.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Malebranche is known for his occasionalism, that is, his doctrine that God is the only causal agent, and that creatures merely provide the “occasion” for divine action.

    Nicolas Malebranche

  • The theory called occasionalism simply concedes that the “local” counterfactual dependence of the behavior of a physical system on a non-physical event requires a miracle.


  • I agree with the shulamite, though, that one of Berkeley's weaknesses is his occasionalism which is, in effect, what the post was criticizing.

    Archive 2005-06-01

  • The effect is (in some sense) as much the cause of A as (in a different sense) A is of B. (Aside: this makes John Cramer's transactional quantum theory sound weirdly Aristotelian.www. html) Consequently, when Hume and the other Early Moderns tossed out finality, they wound up tossing out causation as well and wound up with something weirdly like al-Ghazali's occasionalism.

    November 4th, 2009

  • The theocentrism that is evident in Malebranche's doctrines of the vision in God and occasionalism would lead us to expect that God plays a central role in his moral theory.

    Nicolas Malebranche

  • In 1688, Malebranche published his Entretiens sur la métaphysique et la religion (Dialogues on Metaphysics and Religion), a concise summary of his main metaphysical doctrines of the vision in God and occasionalism that also addresses the problem of evil.

    Nicolas Malebranche

  • The doctrine of occasionalism is reflected in Malebranche's insistence that God is our greatest good since He alone can cause our happiness.

    Nicolas Malebranche

  • Malebranche was concerned to respond to all of these arguments against occasionalism, particularly as they were developed in the work of scholastics such as Suárez.

    Nicolas Malebranche

  • However, occasionalism was already an old doctrine at the time that Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) wrote against it.

    Nicolas Malebranche

  • A sixth and last edition of the Recherche appeared in 1712, and in 1715 Malebranche published his final work, Réflexions sur la prémotion physique (Reflections on Physical Premotion), in which he responded to the claim of the abbé Laurent-François Boursier (1679-1749) that occasionalism leads naturally to the Thomistic position that God determines our action by means of a

    Nicolas Malebranche


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