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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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Efficient Causation in

Efficient Causation in

Spinoza and Leibniz

Chapter:
(p.165) Chapter Six Efficient Causation in
Source:
Efficient Causation
Author(s):

Martin Lin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199782185.003.0009

The seventeenth century was nearly unanimous in regarding causation as a necessary connection. If the cause exists or occurs, then, necessarily, the effect exists or occurs. The source of this unanimity has puzzled scholars. That causation is a necessary connection was not commonly held by medieval philosophers nor is it a commonly held opinion today. What accounts for this surprising seventeenth century consensus? In this chapter, I examine both Spinoza and Leibniz on efficient causation and argue that both regard efficient causation as a form of necessitation. But I conclude that their explicit reasons for doing so are not shared. Thus, their explicit reasoning sheds little light on the puzzle.

Keywords:   causation, efficient causation, Leibniz, necessary connection, necessity, Spinoza

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