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date: 23 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that despite his reputation as a sceptic, Bayle’s thought is deeply influenced by the metaphysical systems of Descartes and Malebranche. In particular, Bayle shows great sympathy for a number of Cartesian positions, including the ontology of material substance, mind–body dualism, occasionalism, and mechanism. In each case, however, Bayle purports to find unresolvable conflicts between the Cartesian position and other intellectual commitments, including several of the fundamental tenets of Christian theism. The result is a kind of scepticism that might best be characterized as a scepticism of antinomy.

Keywords: Pierre Bayle, occasionalism, mind–body dualism, freedom, theodicy, scepticism

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