The Arguments for Determinism in Seventeenth-Century Philosophy
It is sometimes the case that a conclusion, accepted because certain premises upon which it is seen to rest are accepted, attains through the influence of custom and habit a degree of plausibility in its own right. Descartes believed that a consideration of the nature of God and His relation to the world led necessarily to the assertion of determinism. Malebranche wants to demonstrate that God is the sole cause. Occasionalism is not proposed as the solution of a strictly philosophical problem, such as that of the union of the soul and the body. Before we can decide whether or not Leibniz was a determinist, we must distinguish between the kinds of necessity which he thought could be asserted. He held that not every sense of necessity was opposed to freedom or implied determinism. In spite of differences of detail and differences in the manner of statement, the arguments for determinism used by the philosophers we have examined are identical.