10. Causes

1. Cause and efect

Man has always been looking for the causes of things. Why is this so? Why has this end happened? Men look for the causes of events and phenomena.

Causality is a process that starts from what we call causes and affects other things we call effects.

Cause is a being acting and producing another being. What is produced is called effect. For instance: heat dilates objects. Heat is a being. If we applied it to a metal, this is dilated. Dilatation (effect) is produced by heat (cause).

For heat to dilate something you have to bring it closer. This is a “condition” to produce the effect. In a determinate moment we can take the “opportunity” to check this physical law.

A. Choose the right letter: a, b, c. (If the letter turns into red the answer is correct)

 1. Men have been looking for the causes: a. always     b. sometimes     c. from time to time 2. What produces something is: a. effect     b. chance     c. cause 3. What has been produced is called: a. cause     b. effect     c. condition 4. Heat dilates objects. Heat is: a. effect     b. cause     c. chance 5. Heat dilates objects. Dilatation is: a. effect     b. cause     c. chance 6. Bringing heat close to metal is: a. chance     b. cause     c. condition

2. Different kinds of causes

We can distinguish these kinds of causes: material, formal, efficient and final. For instance: the sculptor makes a sculpture. If there is to be a sculpture there have to be some kind of material, such as marble. This is the material cause.

This sculpture can depict a horse, a man, a house, etc. The row material (marble) can be transformed into different forms, and so into essentially different beings. This is the formal cause.

The sculptor has transformed the piece of marble into a sculpture of a horse, a man or a house. He who has made the sculpture is the sculptor. This is the efficient cause. Before starting to work the sculptor had already in his mind the image of what he wanted, its position, its proportions, etc. He already had an example in his imagination. This is what some philosophers call the exemplary cause.

What has the sculptor made the sculpture for? Perhaps to sell it or to decorate his house or to complete an assignment. This is the final cause.

B. Choose the rigth letter: a, b, c.

 1. In the example, what kind of cause is marble? a. formal     b. material     c. effcient 2. What kind of cause is he who makes the sculpture? a. formal     b. material     c. efficient 3. What kind of cause is the horse, the man or the house? a. formal     b. material     c. efficient 4. What kind of cause is the idea the sculptor had in his mind? a. material     b. formal     c. exemplary 5. What kind of cause is what the sculptor has worked for? a. final     b. formal     c. material 6. Which is the row material? a. the sculptor     b. the marble     c. the purpose of the work

3. Material and formal causes

The material cause (marble) and the formal one (horse) are intrinsic causes, whereas efficient cause (sculptor) and the what for (final cause) are extrinsic.

The material is the potential element of beings, and admits different forms or acts. Material (marble) is potential and form (horse, man, house) is actual. Being, transforming, changes its form, keeping the same material (marble). As a result, the new being is the form (horse, man, house).

Accidents such as colour, size, etc. do not do anything, do not act, nor behave and so they are neither individuals nor persons. Only substances are individuals.

You cannot confuse form with figure. Form is a metaphysical concept (that what is) whereas figure is a geometrical concept, its figure, its appearance.

C. Choose the right letter: a, b, c.

 1. The material cause is: a. extrinsic     b. final     c. intrinsic 2. The other intrinsic cause is: a. the formal cause     b. the efficient cause     c. the final cause 3. The efficient cause is: a. intrinsic     b. extrinsic     c. material 4. The material (marble) is an element: a. potential     b. actual     c. exemplary 5. The form (horse) is an element: a. potential     b. actual     c. exemplary 6. The appearence is: a. the form     b. the material     c. the figure

4. Consequences

Every man has some capacities such as intelligence, memory and attention, as the material we have to perfect in order to become an educated person.

To get that perfection is necessary voluntary activity (intentional) that by means of performing positive acts reaches habits and virtues that form the person.

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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
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