Aristotle’s Doctrine of Causes and the Manipulative Theory of Causality

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Abstract

I will argue for the similarity between some aspects of Aristotle’s doctrine of causesand a particular kind of interventionist theory of causality. The interventionistaccount hypothesizes that there is a connection between causation and human intervention: the idea of a causal relation between two events is generated by the refection of human beings on their own operating. This view is remindful of the Aristotelian concept of αἴτιον (cause), which is linked to the fgure of the αἴτιος, the personwho is responsible of an action. Aristotle conceives of the efcient cause as theactive element which, in the φύσις, gives rise to movement and imposes the form,in analogy with the active element that in τέχνη operates the production: the craftsman. This analogy suggests that Aristotle conceives of the causation on the basisof the human ability to modify the environment with aims. Within the debate onthe manipulative theory the classical accounts worked out by Collingwood, Gaskingand von Wright have been recently criticized by Woodward. von Wright’s reductive account explains causation on the basis of human free action, while Woodwardregards this reduction as a dangerous move which makes causal explanations toomuch anthropomorphic. I will show that Aristotle’s doctrine of causes is more similar to von Wright’s account and that the Aristotelian analysis of becoming supportsvon Wright’s reductive interventionism against Woodward’s criticism. Furthermore,I will draw a comparison between interventionism and dispositionalism, where thelatter is another contemporary account of causation that claims Aristotelian roots.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)653-666
Numero di pagine14
RivistaAxiomathes
Volume29
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)
  • Philosophy

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