The Principle of Efficient

The Principle of Efficient Causality.

The principle of efficient causality speaks to the unity of a thing with its efficient cause. Three properties describe an efficient cause:

a.) It is exterior, as opposed to being an intrinsic part of the thing being caused, like its parts or its definition.

b.) It is active, as opposed being passive.

c.) It possesses the thing it it confers before the being that receives it. This priority is sometimes temporal, and always causal. This possession is must be an intrinsic one, for if not the agent cause is a mere instrument of some other agent, and requires that agent.

And so there are several ways to articulate the principle of causality:

1.) Everything that does not have some property intrinsically receives that property from something containing it intrinsically.

2.) What does not come forth from the nature of a thing, if it is possessed, comes forth from the nature of another thing.

3.) All that does not inhere in something in virtue of itself, inheres in it by participation. See here for one of the great “I never knew/ forgot that that was there” moments you get from reading books.

At times, the principle of efficient causality can seem almost indistinguishable from the principle of exemplar causality/ finality. Both are put in the language of participation.

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