Philosophy Index

Nicolas Malebranche

Nicolas Malebranche (1638—1715) was a French philosopher and catholic priest. He is best known for the idea of occasionalism — that human action is an occasion of divine intervention in the world.

Malebranche agreed with the rationalist essence of René Descartes, that innate, a priori ideas are the foundation of human knowledge. However, unlike Descartes, who saw mind as a substance of its own, distinct from matter, Malebranche says that ideas exist in God, and that all human thought and action is dependent upon God. According to Malebranche’s occasionalism, all occurances are essentially caused by God.

Selected Works

  • The Search After Truth (1674)
  • Christian and Metaphysical Meditations (1683)
  • Treatise On Ethics (1684)
  • Dialogues On Metaphysics And Religion (1688)


Name: Nicolas Malebranche
Born: August 6, 1638
Died: October 13, 1715