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Confusing Faith and Reason? Malebranche and Scepticism

  • Julie WalshEmail author
Chapter
Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas Archives internationales d'histoire des idées book series (ARCH, volume 221)

Abstract

When we consider early modern philosophers who engage with sceptical arguments, Nicolas Malebranche is not usually among the first names to come to mind. But, while Malebranche does not spend much time with this topic, the way in which he responds to it when he does is nevertheless valuable. This is because his response underlines the central role of a particular principle in his system: the utter dependence of all created things on God. In this paper, I argue that the end of Malebranche’s engagement with scepticism in general is to show that it is a position, like atheism, that is only possible if one has a disordered imagination. And, importantly, one feature of a disordered imagination is the questioning or denial of what Malebranche takes to be a foundational principle of human knowledge: that we, and all other finite things, utterly depend on God for everything.

Keywords

Doubt Error Existence of the external world Faith Imagination Intelligible extension Occasional cause Rules Theory of ideas 

Notes

Acknowledgement 

I thank Plinio Junqueira Smith, as well as two anonymous referees, for helpful feedback on earlier versions of this chapter.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wellesley CollegeWellesleyUSA

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