Aquinas used the term ‘agent’ referring to a created substance or to God. Aquinas's concept of substance explains that substances are set apart from accidents by the fact that substances are subsistent things. Aquinas believed that each substance belong to a particular species and has a complete nature common to any other members of that species that there may be. He also mentioned that there is a distinctive set of causal powers corresponding to each specific nature. Aquinas called the change (or motion) produced by the agent the ‘passion’. Aquinas considered active powers as real (though not necessarily physical) components of a thing that enable it to act in certain ways. A passive power is something posited to account for the fact that a thing is capable of being acted upon in a certain way, that is, to account for the fact that a thing is capable of undergoing a certain sort of passion. Aquinas claimed that every agent (living and nonliving) acts by intending some end. Aquinas did not think that inanimate objects do things out of an awareness of some goal. Aquinas distinguished two types of inclinations that include natural and voluntary. The types of natural inclinations are fire's inclination to heat and a stone's inclination to fall. A voluntary inclination is just any act of the will.
Domenico Bertoloni Meli
This chapter focuses on Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s interest in cosmology in relation to some of his other concerns, including God’s role in the universe, the reunion of the churches, freedom in philosophizing, and the abolition of censorship. It begins with a discussion of Leibniz’s reflections on Copernicanism and the world system, followed by an analysis of his views on the structure of the world and its physical and mathematical properties. It then looks at his correspondence with Landgraf Ernst von Hessen-Rheinfels, his view of lack of freedom concerning the world system as an important factor against the Roman Catholic Church, and his efforts to convince the Catholic hierarchy to lift the ban against Copernicus. It also considers Leibniz’s dispute with Isaac Newton regarding issues such as the nature of gravity and action at a distance.
Eternity is a property that substance and modes have in common. Spinoza posits in E5p23 that “the human mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the body, but something of it remains which is eternal.” Thus, men have both an indefinite existence or duration, and an eternal one. This thesis sounds very odd because it seems to stand in contradiction to the “parallelism” between body and mind. One may wonder whether Spinoza really thinks that the mind enjoys eternal existence or if he is merely paying lip service to a traditional belief. What does he mean when he states in E5p23s that “we feel and experience (experimur) that we are eternal.” The purpose of the article is to understand this mysterious statement and to examine Spinoza’s definition of eternity in order to determine if modes can enjoy a real eternity.
This chapter traces Hume’s search for the impression-source of the idea of necessary connection through Book 1 of the Treatise. It then sketches and evaluates the main interpretative positions concerning Hume’s account of causation. These positions characterize Hume either as a regularity theorist who thinks that causation is merely a matter of temporal priority, contiguity, and constant conjunction, a projectivist who takes causal talk to have an essential non-representational element, or a skeptical realist who believes in, and believes that we genuinely refer to, real causal powers. Finally, it briefly discusses rival interpretations of Hume’s famous “two definitions” of causation.
Causation was a central theme for the movement of Logical Empiricism (LE); during its classical European phase — the 1920s and 1930s — and beyond. It would not become one of LE's alleged ‘dogmas’, unlike verificationism and the analytic–synthetic distinction. Rather, the topic of causation paradigmatically exhibits two important features of LE. First, the movement was intimately connected to the scientific developments of the day; its representatives tried to accommodate their analyses to those developments rather than insist on an unassailable philosophical outlook come what may. Second, their joint allegiance to scientific empiricism and modern logic, and the common agenda to replace traditional metaphysics by a scientific world conception, cannot conceal the fact that the members of LE stemmed from different intellectual backgrounds and pursued, the manifold cross-references notwithstanding, original trains of thought. Hence they reacted in different ways to the scientific revolutions that occurred during the heyday of LE, quantum theory foremost.
This article revisits the author’s influential account of Nietzche as a philosophical naturalist. It identifies the sources of Nietzsche’s position in the German naturalism of the mid-nineteenth century, in particular the work of Friedrich Lange. His naturalism is, however, “speculative” in that he postulates causal mechanisms not confirmed by science. Nietzsche’s ambition to explain morality naturalistically coexists with a “therapeutic” ambition to induce some readers to escape from morality. The article also addresses doubts that might arise against reading Nietzsche as a naturalist.
This article describes the debate about space and time in the early modern period focusing on the exchange between Gottfried Leibniz and Isaac Newton. It provides a brief account of Galileo's critique of medieval cosmology, the finite, two-sphere cosmos with fixed places as well as a beginning and an end in time, the related account of motion as finite and in need of an external agent, and the too-limited use of geometry in mechanics. The article reviews in some detail the achievements of Leibniz and Newton in order to make clear the differences in their views about space and time, construed in mathematical, metaphysical, and physical terms as they emerged in the Leibniz/Clarke correspondence.
This chapter discusses Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s theory of space and time as an essential part of his metaphysics. More specifically, it considers Leibniz’s question: “What, then, is time?” It begins by tracing the diachronic development of Leibniz’s revolutionary theory about space in its various stages before focusing on its rational construction. It then examines his thesis about things that are conceivable, the totality of possibilities, within the context of God’s intellect. It also analyzes Leibniz’s assertion that God thinks every possibility and that space differs from body just as time differs from an existent thing. Finally, the chapter reviews Leibniz’s theory of possible worlds on the basis of incompatibility or incompossibility.