Gavin Young

Date of Award


First Advisor

Brian Conolly

Second Advisor

Christopher Callanan


This thesis explores the history and development of occasionalism and aims to provide a comprehensive and in depth look of this causation theory. The thesis starts by discussing the root of occasionalism in Islamic theology and philosophy and its purpose during that time. It then proceeds to examine the transformation of occasionalism from an argument to defend God to a sophisticated theory of metaphysics in modern philosophy. We will especially look at the work of Malebranche, the most influential occasionalist philosopher at that time, his arguments and his responses to questions and objections about occasionalism. Finally, we will also analyze the necessary consequences of occasionalism, which are determinism and skepticism, and how occasionalism contributed to Hume’s skeptical beliefs. In addition, this thesis includes a translation and analysis of De Deo of Geulincx’s Metaphysica Vera. Through this text, we will have a basic understanding of Geulincx’s occasionalism and what distinguishes it from that of Malebranche.

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