Nicolas Malebranche

Nicolas Malebranche (nēkôlä´ mälbräNsh´), 1638–1715, French philosopher. Malebranche's philosophy is a highly original synthesis of Cartesian and Augustinian thought. Its purpose was to reconcile the new science with Christian theology. Beginning with Descartes's dualism between mind and body, Malebranche developed a theory called occasionalism, which denied any interaction of the two realms. To Malebranche, the eternal truths are contained in the divine intellect, and scientific knowledge is possible only because the soul is part of the divine intellect. He summarized his beliefs in his famous assertion that we see all things in God, a statement that led to an extended controversy with the theologian Antoine Arnauld. The philosophy of Malebranche influenced such diverse minds as Leibniz, Berkeley, and John Norris. His chief works are De la recherche de la vérité (1674; tr. The Search for Truth, 1694) and Traité de la nature et de la grâce (1680).

See studies by M. E. Hobart (1982) and C. J. McCracken (1983).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Malebranche
Andrew Pyle.
Routledge, 2002
Treatise on Nature and Grace
Nicolas Malebranche; Patrick Riley.
Clarendon Press, 1992
Malebranche's Theory of the Soul: A Cartesian Interpretation
Tad M. Schmaltz.
Oxford University Press, 1996
The Philosophy of Malebranche: A Study of His Integration of Faith, Reason, and Experimental Observation
Beatrice K. Rome.
H. Regnery Co., 1963
Causation in Early Modern Philosophy: Cartesianism, Occasionalism, and Preestablished Harmony
Steven Nadler.
Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "Malebranche, Models, and Causation" begins on p. 75
The Light of the Soul: Theories of Ideas in Leibniz, Malebranche, and Descartes
Nicholas Jolley.
Clarendon Press, 1998
Passion and Action: The Emotions in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy
Susan James.
Clarendon Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Negotiating the Divide: Descartes and Malebranche"
Descartes and the Resilience of Rhetoric: Varieties of Cartesian Rhetorical Theory
Thomas M. Carr Jr.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Malebranche's Rhetoric of the Incarnation"
Radical Cartesianism: The French Reception of Descartes
Tad M. Schmaltz.
Cambridge University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Huet's Censura, Malebranche, and Platonism"
The History of Scepticism: From Savonarola to Bayle
Richard H. Popkin.
Oxford University Press, 2003 (Revised edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 16 "Scepticism and Late Seventeenth-Century Metaphysics"
Perception and the Physical World: Psychological and Philosophical Issues in Perception
Dieter Heyer; Rainer Mausfeld.
Wiley, 2002
Librarian’s tip: "Malebranche" begins on p. 7
The Renaissance and Seventeenth-Century Rationalism
G. H.R. Parkinson.
Routledge, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "Malebranche" begins on p. 361
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