Andrew Platt


Stony Brook University, NY

Causal Powers in Cartesian Physics: Descartes’ Laws of Nature in La Forge and Clauberg

Gary Hatfield (1979) and Daniel Garber (1993) have argued that Descartes’ physics entails that mere bodies are intrinsically passive, and thus do not have any active causal powers or any intrinsic motive force. On their reading, Descartes thinks that the motions of bodies are grounded in God’s activity of continual recreation: the only “force” in Descartes’ physics comes from God. Thus they take Descartes to be a kind of partial Occasionalist: he thinks that the natural motions of bodies are caused by God alone, not by any action of bodies upon one another.