Malebranche on Intelligible Extension: A Programmatic Interpretation

Metaphysica: International Journal for Ontology and Metaphysics 21 (2):199-221 (2020)
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The purpose of this essay is exegesis. I explicate Nicolas Malebranche's (1674, 1678, 1688, 1714) concept of intelligible extension. I begin by detailing how the concept matured throughout Malebranche's work, and the new functions it took on within his metaphysical system. I then examine Gustav Bergmann's “axiomatic” interpretation, as well as the criticism of it offered by Daise Radner. I argue that Radner's criticism of the interpretation is only partly successful; some of her objections can be met; others cannot. I then develop a novel interpretation of the concept, given insights from this dispute. I call it the “programmatic interpretation.” I argue that this interpretation coheres well with Malebranche's famous Vision in God thesis, as well as many of his other commitments. I conclude by considering a certain pertinent objection to my proposal, summarizing the dialectic, and forcefully restating my case.

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Andrew Dennis Bassford
University of Texas at Austin

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References found in this work

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