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Efficient CausationA History$
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Tad M. Schmaltz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199782185

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199782185.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 January 2022

Aristotle and the Discovery of Efficient Causation

Aristotle and the Discovery of Efficient Causation

Chapter:
(p.22) (p.23) Chapter One Aristotle and the Discovery of Efficient Causation
Source:
Efficient Causation
Author(s):

Thomas M. Tuozzo

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199782185.003.0002

Aristotle’s efficient cause differs radically from the mechanistic causes characteristic both of his atomist predecessors and of the post-Aristotelian science of the seventeenth century. Like Anaxagoras’ Mind, Aristotle’s efficient cause fundamentally differs from what it causes to move. It is importantly the first origin of a change, and so unsuited to be a link in a chain of causes-that-are-also-effects. Efficient causes are not substances, but rather forms: either powers, which cause changes in substances other than those in which they reside, or natures (including souls), which essentially reside in the substances which they cause to move. The analysis of these kinds of efficient cause, all in their own way unmoved movers, provides possible models for understanding the most enigmatic case of Aristotelian efficient causality: that by which eternal immaterial minds move the celestial spheres.

Keywords:   Anaxagoras, Aristotle, atomists, chain of causes, efficient causation, mechanistic cause, powers, natures, souls, unmoved mover

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