chapter  2
Causality
Pages 14

This chapter discusses features of Aquinas's notion of causality. His view of causality incorporates certain views of earlier thinkers — in particular Aristotle and Ibn Sīnā — and is importantly different from the usual current account of the notion, both in terms of time and causal relata. Overlooking this too often results in an anachronistic misreading of Thomas's views, particularly in the case of God's existence. For earlier thinkers causal interactions standardly produce objects, and typically it is objects, particularly agents, that do the causing, often in virtue of their qualities or nature. This important distinction may be obscured by translators seduced into anachronism when causes are discussed. Pointing out difficulties concerning a temporal gap in causality, Russell saw the argument for contiguity as a reductio of the notion of cause, or at least of its usefulness. Earlier thinkers, however, took simultaneity as straightforward. That cause and effect may be standard.