Research Workshop: "Berkeleyan Occasionalism"
Damien Barnes (UCSB / Cal Poly)
Friday November 12, 2021 (12:10pm - 2:00pm) English (bldg. 22) Room 210
George Berkeley proposes a categorical divide between active spirits and passive ideas. Nevertheless, in determining how exactly the “activity” of finite spirits relates to those collections of passive ideas that are our bodies, a puzzle arises: with regards to the causal efficacy of human agents, it is unclear whether (i) the human will serves as a true secondary cause of creaturely events or (ii) God serves as the sole cause of all such events with the human will serving as a merely apparent secondary cause. In this presentation (of a work in progress), I provide a reading of Berkeley on which his account falls somewhere between these two poles. I suggest, contra Jeffrey K. McDonough, that Berkeley’s views regarding the activity of finite spirits are consistent with occasionalism, albeit an occasionalism that is of a narrower scope than Malebranchian global occasionalism.