Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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Although the heart of Berkeley's philosophy is active substance, some argue that Berkeley's notion of causation precludes human agency, an undesirable result for Berkeley. In the hope of securing the ontological status of finite substance in Berkeley's metaphysics, this paper seeks to offer a rather different take on the Cartesian influence supporting Berkeley's views on the causal efficacy of human spirits. After demonstrating the possibility of a Malebranchian occasionalism in light of Berkeley's views on necessary connection, a close examination of Berkeley's works reveals his real stance on what type of connection counts as causal. Employing Descartes's divinely-established natural connection between a finite will and its effects, Berkeley is able to offer a coherent account of finite causation in the natural world that can accommodate free will. This naturalistic interpretation is able to situate Berkeley as one who is influenced by a Cartesian version of causation (though not the one scholars often attribute to him), but is able to legitimately resist the fall into Hume's metaphysically empty position on causation as nothing but constant conjunction.

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