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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

(p.165) Chapter Six Efficient Causation in
Efficient Causation

Martin Lin

Oxford University Press

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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