By Craig Walton (auth.)
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Additional info for De la Recherche du Bien: A Study of Malebranche’s Science of Ethics
21 Yet this intuition is not to be accepted without any discussion. The objection arises that it is only a product of one's own mind, a human contrivance. In reply, Malebranche suggests we consider, as one instance of this sort of independent intuition, our intuition of space. Space is infmite; we cannot "traverse" that intuition; we cannot comprehend it, for to do so would mean a total measurement of it. 22 We cannot comprehend it, but we can know [connolt] its nature and properties. In fact, it is by way of this intuition of space that geometers are able to develop their demonstrations.
The Malebranche discussed below is of phases four-five, identified by Robinet as the mature Malebranche. " He seems never to have given up the search after truth. 11 Entretiens sur Ia Metaphysique et sur Ia Religion, ed. , Entr. VI, sec. I, 132. , (EM VI/I, 132). 26 MALEBRANCHE 1 S ONTOLOGY faith. But it is not the purpose of ontology to speculate upon possible absolutes smuggled into one's point of departure: "By metaphysics I do not mean abstract consideration of imaginary properties, the chief use of which is to furnish the wherewithal for endless dispute to those who want to dispute.
If attention is shifted 00 EM VIII/X, 188; VIII/XIII, 192. MALEBRANCHE's ONTOLOGY 35 to the possibility of motion from one space to another, or change from one quality to another, Malebranche refers to that aspect of Order not only as truth or quantitative relationship but also as law because such relations constitute the patterns of motion or growth. These laws, taken as most comprehensive of all because inter-relating all other sorts of relation, are the most crucial of all. " 51 And it is in this sense that the Order of laws is "the immutable Rule of all motions of created minds" and the Rule of God Himsel£ 52 If relations of magnitude and the particular models of possible beings which are related in terms of perfection are all considered apart from these latter relations, they are only "abstract," in this sense: To God, they are the rules and models for the possibility of beings, matter, spatiality, quality and temporality.