restricted access François Lamy, Occasionalism, and the Mind-Body Problem

There is a long-standing view that Malebranche and his fellow occasionalists accepted occasionalism to solve the problem of interaction between immaterial souls and extended bodies. Recently, however, scholars have shown this story to be a myth. Malebranche, Geulincx, La Forge, and Cordemoy adopted occasionalism for a variety of reasons, but none did so because of a need to provide a solution to a perceived mind-body problem. Yet there is one Cartesian for whom the “traditional” reading is largely on the mark. François Lamy argues in the second volume of his De la Connoissance de Soi-Meme much as the standard story has it. In this article I discuss and analyze Lamy’s argument, showing how he deals with some of the many concerns that made occasionalism attractive, and how he brings out some of the thorny questions that an occasionalist must face.