[Click the back button on your web browser to return to the section of “Signs of the Times” for which the following serves as an annotation.]

Malebranche: Nicolas Malebranche, a philosopher of Christian metaphysics, professed that, as human beings, we process the concepts and realities of ideas through the soul and therefore have a close relationship with God. Malebranche also developed Occasionalism — the idea that “God is the only causal agent, and that creatures merely provide the ‘occasion” for divine action’ (Schmaltz). In Malebranche's theories, no machine exists that can produce such entities, which is exactly why Thomas Carlyle refers to Malebranche in “Signs of the Times.”

Carlyle critiques the state of his nation for losing fundamental relationships with the nature of God and the metaphysical aspects of life. He criticizes the evolution that the mind has undergone. Carlyle. who lists Malebranche with Pascal, Descartes, and Fenelon, regarded him highly because his ideas emphasized a non-mechanical world.

Bibliography

Schmaltz, Tad. “Nicolas Malebranche.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (23 March 2010)


Victorian Web Overview Thomas Carlyle Thomas Carlyle's Works Discussion Questions

Last modified 25 March 2010