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Malebranche's Natural Theodicy and the Incompleteness of God's Volitions

Andrew Pessin
Religious Studies
Vol. 36, No. 1 (Mar., 2000), pp. 47-63
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20008262
Page Count: 17
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Malebranche's Natural Theodicy and the Incompleteness of God's Volitions
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Abstract

The causal power of Malebranche's God is a function of the content of His will. Yet despite its significance for Malebranche, little exegetical attention has been paid to his notion of volitional content. In this paper I develop the notion of an 'incomplete' volition, note that Malebranche accepted and used something like it, and then examine Malebranche's natural theodicy in its light. This yields a new interpretation in which, unlike previous interpretations, Malebranche actually succeeds in reconciling his seemingly incompatible beliefs that: (1) God alone is causally responsible for all natural states of affairs; (2) God's power is His will; (3) God wills to produce only goods; and yet (4) genuine evils exist.

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