Suárez on Propinquity and the Efficient Cause

Dennis Des Chene

in The Philosophy of Francisco Suárez

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199583645
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738456 | DOI:
Suárez on Propinquity and the Efficient Cause

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This essay explores Suárez’s commitment to the important causal principle of propinquity or spatial contiguity. Like many, Suárez accepted the principle of no action at a distance. It is argued that this commitment can be retained even though Suárez fundamentally altered the conception of efficient causality because this principle is independent of causality’s nature. Central to understanding Suárez’s commitment to the principle of propinquity is his account of the medium. Furthermore, the contrast between Suárez’s and René Descartes’ accounts of the causal medium are historically significant for understanding the rise of mechanical philosophy during the seventeenth century.

Keywords: Francisco Suárez; causality; efficient causation; propinquity; medium; René Descartes; mechanical philosophy

Chapter.  6657 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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