The Early Moderns

Kenneth Clatterbaugh

in The Oxford Handbook of Causation

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199279739
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191577246 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

The Early Moderns

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  • Metaphysics
  • History of Western Philosophy


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The early moderns confronted an abundance of causes and types of causal explanations. From Aristotle through the Scholastics they had inherited the doctrine of the four causes, that is, depending upon context the material, formal, final, or efficient cause provides the proper explanation or answer to a ‘Why?’ question. From the Christianization of Aristotle's Unmoved Mover they had inherited the idea of God as creator of the universe. And to the creator role had been added the idea of providence whereby God in some sense ‘manages’ the world of mundane events. Aquinas had actually identified God as the efficient cause of all things.

Keywords: efficient cause; Christianization; Aristotle; creator of the universe; creator role; cause of all things

Article.  8947 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics ; History of Western Philosophy

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