occasionalism, metaphysical doctrine that denies that finite things have any active power and asserts that God is the only cause, whereas physical events and mental states are only occasions for God's action. Muslim theologians in the 8th cent. developed a version of occasionalism as an alternative to Aristotelian theories of causality. Occasionalism gained currency in the West in the 17th cent., when Arnold Geulincx and Nicolas Malebranche developed theories to resolve the problem of interaction in general, and of that between mind (immaterial) and body (material) in particular, which was posed by the dualism of René Descartes.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on occasionalism from Fact Monster:

  • Science Discoveries: Cosmic Dust & Snotties - Science discoveries from slimy cave critters to cosmic dust.
  • Hebe - Hebe Hebe , in Greek religion and mythology, goddess of youth; daughter of Zeus and Hera and wife ...
  • Roosevelt, river, Brazil - Roosevelt Roosevelt, river, c.400 mi (640 km) long, NW Brazil. It was called the Rio da ...
  • earthenware - earthenware earthenware, form of pottery fired at relatively low temperatures, so that the clay ...
  • smaltite - smaltite smaltite , opaque tin-white to steel-gray mineral of the pyrite group, a compound of ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Philosophy, Terms and Concepts

Play Hangman

Play Poptropica

Play Quizzes

Play Tic Tac Toe