Article ID: CBB001210527

Malebranche on Sensory Cognition and “Seeing As” (2012)


Nicolas Malebranche famously holds that we see all things in the physical world by means of ideas in God. In some writings he seems to posit ideas of particular bodies in God, but when pressed by critics he insists that there is only one general idea of extension, which he calls "intelligible extension." But how can this general and "pure" idea represent particular sensible objects? I develop systematic solutions to this and two other putative difficulties with Malebranche's theory of sensory cognition by appealing to the notion of "seeing as" and to his doctrine that ideas in God have causal powers to affect the mind.

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Authors & Contributors
Ablondi, Fred
McCracken, Charles J.
Pyle, Andrew
Detlefsen, Karen
Sportelli, Silvano
LoLordo, Antonia
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly
Perspectives on Science
Dianoia: Annali di storia della filosofia
Journal of the History of Philosophy
History of European Ideas
Clarendon Press
Oxford University Press
Emory University
Process Press Ltd
Senses and sensation; perception
Soul (philosophy)
Philosophy and religion
Malebranche, Nicolas de
Descartes, René
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm von
Berkeley, George
Locke, John
Régis, Pierre Sylvain
Time Periods
17th century
18th century
Early modern
19th century
16th century
20th century
British Isles
Paris (France)

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