Malebranches Theories In his

most important work, The Search After Truth (De la recherché de la verite) published in 1674-75, the French philosopher/priest Nicolas de Malebranche (1638-1715) investigates various sources of human error and provides a basis for the perception of truth about oneself, about the world, and about God. Male-

branche's three most famous conceptualizations are his doctrines of: occasionalism (i.e., all finite created entities are absolutely devoid of causal efficacy where God is the only true causal agent); vision in God (i.e., persons are as cognitively dependent on the divine understanding as bodies in motion are dependent ontologically on the divine will); and theodicy (i.e., explanation of how God's wisdom, power, and goodness are to be reconciled with the evils and imperfections in the world). Malebranche's theodicy suggests that God always acts in the simplest way possible - a notion that anticipated the psychological law of parsimony - and acts only by means of law like general volitions. Among Malebranche's detractors and critics was the Cartesian philosopher Antoine Arnauld (1612-1694) who was part of the great Malebranche-Arnauld debate that was one of the great intellectual events of the 17th century and attracted the attention of other great thinkers such as Leibnitz, Spinoza, Locke, and Newton. Malebranche's pre-scientific conceptions were in theoretical agreement with the French philosopher/mathematician Rene Descartes (1569-1650) concerning separation of the mind and body, but were in disagreement with Descartes as to how the two entities interact. In Malebranche's approach, unlike Descartes' theory of mind-body interaction, God mediated mind and body interactions. For example, a person's wish to do something becomes an occasion (occasionalism doctrine) for God to cause the individual's body to act. Thus, Malebranche's view of the mind-body relationship may be called a "mind-body parallelism" (such as two separate clocks keeping time together with no influence of one on the other) with divine intervention. Male-branche's theory of psychology asserts that mind is something distinct from the body and is made up of certain objective elements that, although in constant flux, are definitely observable. The mind, according to Malebranche, is composed of "psychic objects." The physical world of the body, on the other hand, is made up of "physical objects" consisting of a different stuff or sort of material from the "psychic objects." Other minor conceptualizations in Malebranche's psychology involve the non-observability of relations; the notions of ideas, sensations, and images; and a characteristic view of the method of introspection (i.e., observing consciousness by looking into one's own subjective experience and reporting on it) that anticipated W. Wundt's later influential employment of the method in the development of experimental/ scientific psychology. The American psychologist Knight Dunlap (1875-1949) observed that Malebranche postulated a mental object for each physical object but failed to provide a mental relation to correspond to a physical relation. Dunlap indicated, also, Male-branche's importance for psychology (especially among the psychoanalysts) in the former's reference to a general school of psychological theory that he called "Malebrachian" or "introspectional," and in which the notion of an "unconscious mind" was advanced. See also FREUD'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY; MIND-BODY THEORIES; MIND/MENTAL STATES, THEORIES OF; OCCASIONALISM, THEORY OF; PARSIMONY, LAW/PRINCIPLE OF. REFERENCES

Dunlap, K. (1926). The theoretical aspect of psychology. In C. Murchison (Ed.), Psychologies of 1925: Powell lectures on psychological theory. Worcester, MA: Clark University Press. Robinet, A. (Ed.) (1958-1967). Oeuvres completes de Malebranche. 20 vols. Paris: J. Vrin. Lennon, T., & Olscamp, P. (1980). Nicolas Malebranche: The search after truth; elucidations of the search after truth. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press.


size, some disastrous events must occur such as war, pestilence, plagues, disease, and/or famine. Modern deliberate attempts to control over-population (called neo-Malthusianism) include limitations in family size and voluntary birth control measures. The worst-case scenario, according to Malthusian theory, is that humanity is destined to live in poverty and hunger. The controversial theory is dismissed largely by many researchers who cite its failure to take into account technological advances in agriculture and food production methods. However, some modern biologists and population experts still argue cautiously concerning the eventuality of Malthus' dire speculations (cf., Ehrlich, 1968; Ehrlich & Ehrlich, 1990). See also MENDEL'S LAWS/ PRINCIPLES; SYSTEMS THEORY. REFERENCES

Malthus, T. R. (1798/1803/1890). Essay on the principle of population. London: J. Johnson/Ward, Lock, & Co. Ehrlich, P. R. (1968). The population bomb.

New York: Ballantine Books. Ehrlich, P. R., & Ehrlich, A. H. (1990). The population explosion. New York: Simon & Schuster. Brown, L. R., Gardner, G., & Halweil, B.

(1998). Beyond Malthus: Nineteen dimensions of the population challenge. Washington, D.C.: Worldwatch Institute.

The Power Of Charisma

The Power Of Charisma

You knowthere's something about you I like. I can't put my finger on it and it's not just the fact that you will download this ebook but there's something about you that makes you attractive.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment