Axiomathes 29 (6):653-666 (2019)

I will argue for the similarity between some aspects of Aristotle’s doctrine of causes and a particular kind of interventionist theory of causality. The interventionist account hypothesizes that there is a connection between causation and human intervention: the idea of a causal relation between two events is generated by the reflection of human beings on their own operating. This view is remindful of the Aristotelian concept of αἴτιον, which is linked to the figure of the αἴτιος, the person who is responsible of an action. Aristotle conceives of the efficient cause as the active 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 basis of the human ability to modify the environment with aims. Within the debate on the manipulative theory the classical accounts worked out by Collingwood, Gasking and von Wright have been recently criticized by Woodward. von Wright’s reductive account explains causation on the basis of human free action, while Woodward regards this reduction as a dangerous move which makes causal explanations too much 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 supports von Wright’s reductive interventionism against Woodward’s criticism. Furthermore, I will draw a comparison between interventionism and dispositionalism, where the latter is another contemporary account of causation that claims Aristotelian roots.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10516-018-9398-y
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 62,577
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Papers.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
Making Things Happen. A Theory of Causal Explanation.Michael Strevens - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):233-249.

View all 42 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Aristotle on Causality.Andrea Falcon - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Interventionism and the Exclusion Problem.Yasmin Bassi - 2013 - Dissertation, University of Warwick
Causation and Intensionality in Aristotelian Logic.Srećko Kovač - 2013 - Studia Philosophiae Christianae 49 (2):117-136.
Interventionism and Higher-Level Causation.Vera Hoffman-Kolss - 2014 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 28 (1):49-64.
Getting Rid of Interventions.Alexander Reutlinger - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (4):787-795.
Making Something Happen. Where Causation and Agency Meet.Geert Keil - 2007 - In Francesca Castellani & Josef Quitterer (eds.), Agency and Causation in the Human Sciences. Mentis. pp. 19-35.
Interventionist Causal Exclusion and Non‐Reductive Physicalism.Michael Baumgartner - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (2):161-178.
Interventionism Defended.Kevin McCain - 2015 - Logos and Episteme 6 (1):61-73.


Added to PP index

Total views
20 ( #534,953 of 2,446,650 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #456,908 of 2,446,650 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes