Nicolas Malebranche: God, the beginning of all things

Autores

Alberto Aune

The man and his relationship with the Creator

This French philosopher holds that God is the only true cause, the primum ontologicum, with occasional other causes; as says, we need to know Him to obtain a true knowledge of reality.

Index

  1. A life devoted to God and to knowledge
  2. A thought based on the Creator
  3. His legacy, in a great book
  4. God, the origin of all things
  1. A life devoted to God and to knowledge

Nicolas Malebranche was born in Paris in 1638; he died also in Paris in 1715.
In 1660 he joined the Société de l’Oratoire de Jésus et de Marie Inmaculée (Society of the Oratory of Jesus and Mary Immaculate), whose Latin name was Congregatio Oratorii Iesu et Mariae.
He studied philosophy and theology at the Sorbonne and was ordained priest in 1664.
This congregation was founded in 1611 by Cardinal Pierre de Berulle (1575-1629), who among other activities introduced in France the Order of Carmelite nuns.
This group had a strong French influence in spirituality, in order to focus the spiritual visa on the human aspect of Jesus related to the essence of God.
2. A thought based on the Creator

Malebranche sought a reconciliation between the spiritual tendency, especially Augustinian, which prevailed at that institution, with the thought of René Descartes (1596-1650), creator of the rationalist school of philosophy.

Its main statement is: «We see all things in God»; the knowledge we have is only possible based on the interaction between man and God. Thus, changes in objects or thoughts originate in God and not in objects or individuals.
It was a great promoter of ontological philosophical school alleging that innate ideas in man. Man also has the possibility of, through understanding, to know the divine essence, condition of any other knowledge.
He argued that man partakes of the being of God, living in Him and looking in the ideas of all created things.
We know the world, including corporeal things, through the archetypes present in the mind of God.
The first known is the Infinite, which is not finite but a sensitive knowledge limitation and defective vision.
The average man seizes the moral good, learns something of the eternal and infinite goodness and loves in God when he lives with righteousness, and God lives in mind when the man thinks what is true.
3. His legacy, in a great book

Malebranche Developer these ideas in his fundamental book, o deThe search for truth, published in 1674.
He developed a theory of error that had great influence in his time, saying that between its causes should be considered human custom and conformity.
The spirit, he says, tends spontaneously to produce synthesis to assigning the value and also gives the knowledge available.
Malebranche considers the relationship between soul and body, linked strongly to the distinction of substance thinking and substance raised by external. He thinks in Rene Descartes and his “to see everything in God» and therefore less problematic.
Our spirit also knows the spiritual, that is, the idea of bodies.
The personal self lives entirely for God, but divine causality has to take account of «opportunities» adhered to the self.
The casualism, which involved Malebranche, though partially, was an influential philosophical movement that believed that when there is movement in the soul, God intervenes to produce a corresponding movement in the body and vice versa. This doctrine attempted to synthesize the Cartesian and Augustinian philosophies.
This theory differs from the pre-established harmony between substances or «watch movement”, which held Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, German philosopher and thinker (1646-1716), for whom time should be only one aspect of the relationship between real things and the actual processes in the world.
4. God, the origin of all things

In the thought of Nicolas Malebranche looks the concept of Christian philosophy according to which man does not share the identity of God, his personality and individuality are emphasized by the philosopher but God is the primum ontologicum: the first thing or the beginning of all things, the first thing you need to know to meet there from the rest. Alberto Auné

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