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The Southern Journal of Philosophy

Volume 46, Issue 4, Winter 2008

David Scott
Pages 581-604

Malebranche and Descartes on Method
Psychologism, Free Will, and Doubt

The subject of this paper is Malebranche’s relation to Descartes on the question of method. Using recent commentary as a springboard, it examines whether Malebranche advances a nonpsychologistic account of method, in contrast to the psychologism typically thought to characterize the Cartesian view. I explore this question with respect to two issues of central importance to method generally: doubt and free will. My argument is that, despite superficial differences of emphasis, Descartes and Malebranche adopt positions on doubt and free will that effectively ensure that their respective accounts of method are substantially the same.

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