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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

Efficient Causation

From Ibn sīnā to Ockham

Chapter:
(p.105) Chapter Four Efficient Causation
Source:
Efficient Causation
Author(s):

Kara Richardson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199782185.003.0006

Later medieval philosophers typically recognize natural, rational, and divine agents. This generous view of the scope of efficient causality invites several debates about its character. Some of these focus on differences between creative and natural efficient causes. Others have to do with differences between natural and free agents. The relationship between efficient causality and final causality is also at issue. These debates contribute to the development of several influential ideas related to efficient causation: the definition of the efficient cause as a giver of being, the view that causal necessity is akin to logical necessity, the identification of a self-moving will as the source of freedom, the view that the efficient cause depends on the final cause for its causality, and the view that only cognitive agents can act for ends. This chapter traces the development of these ideas in the work of several philosophers, starting with Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna) and ending with William of Ockham.

Keywords:   being, causal necessity, efficient causation, ends, final causation, freedom, Ibn Sīnā, William of Ockham

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