An Occasionalist Defence of Free Will

  • Nazif MuhtarogluEmail author
Part of the Islamic Philosophy and Occidental Phenomenology in Dialogue book series (IPOP, volume 4)


The doctrine of occasionalism ascribes all causal power to God. Occasionalists ranging from the Ash‘arites to Malebranche also ascribed freedom to human beings to account for moral responsibility. However, human freedom within occasionalistic metaphysics seems to be problematic at the first glance. This paper aims to open a door for the plausibility of human will within occasionalistic metaphysics. For this aim, I mainly rely on Sadr us-Sharia’s view, a theologian in the Sunni School of Islamic thought, on free will and compare his account of free will with that of Malebranche and draw similar conclusions from both on the nature of human will. The main elements of Sadr’s analysis, especially the categorical distinction between creation and choice, are similar to some elements in contemporary philosophy. Sadr’s ontological assumptions and his application of them to the free will debate seem to be shared in a certain degree by John Searle and Gilbert Ryle in a different philosophical context. By focusing on Sadr us-Sharia’s solution to the problem free will, I show how some elements of his metaphysics illuminate the free will debate as it is understood across many different traditions.

Key words

Category mistake free will occasionalism determinism creation choice divine power omnipotence brute facts nominal facts the theory of acquisition Buridan’s ass consciousness self soul God 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilisophyUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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