Review of Metaphysics 12 (2):161 - 185 (1958)

The present essay is primarily concerned with. By analyzing the usefulness of the idea of efficient causation I shall expose its primarily classificatory function and the intrinsic limits which this function of the idea prescribes for it. The plan of these remarks is as follows: to exhibit the classificatory function of the causal analysis, to show how this function operates in the relation between categorical and hypothetical assertions, to show briefly how it operates in counterfactual and dispositional assertions, and to show the role of this function in the identification of events. Then I shall relate the limits of causal classification to those of predicative classification and show briefly the significance of this functional view of causal determinism for Freudian psychology. Each of the topics must be treated only in so far as it bears on the rest, and important questions in each area will therefore be by-passed. In one sense the applications to Freudian psychology constitute the primary target of the study, since it is in that field that classical determinism has enjoyed a notorious renaissance. It is there also that the great practical significance of the question about determinism lies.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph1958122193
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