Variations on the theme As I sketched in the last section, there are four parameters or dimensions of variability. These are: 1. Focus. What is the X? What type of things are supposed to need a cause? 2. Rationale. What is the reason Y? Why must a series of causes terminate in a first cause? 3. Temporality. What is the relationship between causation and time? Do causes always precede their effects, are they always simultaneous with their effects, or is causation independent of time? 4. Modality. Do causes make their effects necessary, or only possible or likely? Do causes necessitate or only incline? Let's take each of these parameters one at a time. Focus. Historically, there are three things that have been taken to be the focus of causation: motion/change, the actualization of a potential, and the existence of some thing with an essence or nature. The oldest arguments, including those of Plato and Aristotle, were concerned primarily with motion or change. The Latin word 'motion' (and the related Greek word 'kinesis') included
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course PHI PHI2010 taught by Professor Jorgerigol during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.