Aspects of an Agent cause,

Aspects of an Agent cause, Part II

Every aspect of an agent cause is in one sense only a part of the agent, and has therefore only a partial effect, but in another sense it is responsible for the whole of the action. The knife beng metal is responsible for one aspect of the total effect, and the edge is responsible for another aspect. But these two aspects are not really separable in the actual cut that has been made, even though we can distinguish them in thought. Each of the aspects, however, is really present in the effect, even though they can only be separated in thought.

In sum:

We can distinguish many aspects in every agent. Each of these aspects of the agent will contribute a certain part to the final action. Each of these “parts”, though they are really present in the effect, are separable from each other only in thought. In asmuch as none of these parts can be really separated, each of these parts can be viewed as “the whole action” for two reasons:

a.) since each part is not separable in reality from the effect that has been done, the only way to eliminate a part is to eliminate the whole

b.) Since without each of the different aspects of the agent, the effect would not have occured as it did (or not at all). And so each aspect of the agent is responsible for the whole effect, even though it is not reponsible for it as its proper effect.

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