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Concurrence or Divergence? Reconciling Descartes's Physics with his Metaphysics
Abstract

This paper interprets Descartes's use of the Scholastic doctrine of divine concurrence in light of contemporaneous sources, and argues against two prevailing occasionalist interpretations. On the first occasionalist reading God's concurrence or cooperation with natural causes is always mediate (i.e., concurrence reduces to God's continual recreation of substances). The second reading restricts God's immediate concurrence to his co-action with minds. This paper shows that Descartes's metaphysical commitments do not necessitate either form of occasionalism, and that he is more plausibly and charitably read as appropriating elements of Scholastic views on concurrence to bridge the gap between his metaphysics and physics.



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