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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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Contemporary Efficient Causation

Contemporary Efficient Causation

Aristotelian Themes

Chapter:
(p.317) Chapter Eleven Contemporary Efficient Causation
Source:
Efficient Causation
Author(s):

Stephen Mumford

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199782185.003.0016

Although there are many contemporary Humean approaches to efficient causation, there is also an alternative, which can be thought of as broadly Aristotelian in origin. The key ideas that characterize the neo-Aristotelian view are: potentialities and natures; there being a source of change within things (the powers); some form of “conditional” necessity; processes, continuous change rather than discontinuity; mutual manifestations; simultaneity and contiguity of cause and effect; and powers that have to be held back rather than stimulated. Empiricist accounts suggest that powers stand in need of stimulus conditions. But this already suggests that without them, they are passive. The Aristotelian idea, in contrast, is that powers tend to manifest when in propitious circumstances. They are released, indeed they will always be active unless they are held back. The neo-Aristotelian metaphysics favors continuity, with natural causal processes having their various stages essentially.

Keywords:   Aristotelian, change, continuity, efficient causation, manifestations, natures, neo-Aristotelian, potentialities, powers, processes

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