A Note on Leibniz's Supposed Flirtation with Occasionalism in the 1669 Letter to Thomasius
Published in Auslegung: A Journal of Philosophy, Volume 23, Issue 2, Summer-Fall 2000, pages 143-152.
NOTE: At the time of publication, author Nicholas Okrent was affiliated with the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. Currently (March 2006), he is a librarian at the University of Pennsylvania Library.
According to the traditional account of Leibniz's early philosophy, he briefly accepted a broadly Cartesian physics by which "only God has the ability to move bodies by continually recreating them in different places..." Some believe that this Cartesianism, which seems to be endorsed in the 1669 letter to Thomasius, indicates that Leibniz accepted a version of occasionalism in that letter. This paper argues that Leibniz does not hold an occasionalistic notion of causation in the 1669 letter to Thomasius. In pursuing a synthesis of hylomorphism and Cartesianism, Leibniz arrives at an account that avoids occasionalism and has striking similaries to scholastic theories about motion.
Nicholas E. Okrent. "A Note on Leibniz's Supposed Flirtation with Occasionalism in the 1669 Letter to Thomasius" Scholarship at Penn Libraries (2000).
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/nicholas_okrent/5