Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 58 (4):873 - 886 (2002)

Abstract
Can God be the efficient cause of himself (causa sui,)? It is well known that Descartes answers this question in the affirmative, but it is considerably less clear why. The main contention of the essay is that Descartes advances the causa sui doctrine because he came to think that the ontological proof of Meditation V required it. We argue these contentions through a close analysis of Descartes' initial articulation of causa sui in response to Caterus, followed by attention to the reformulation of the doctrine in response to the logical objections posed by Arnauld. Our understanding of causa sui as a move made within the horizon of the ontological proof not only illuminates why Descartes would have defended a doctrine as conceptually problematic as causa sui, but also provides an alternative to Jean-Luc Marion's view that causa sui constitutes a third, distinct proof for the existence of God. /// Pode Deus ser a causa eficiente de si mesmo (causa sui,)? É bem sabido que Descartes responde aflrmativamente a esta questão, mas é consideravelmente menos claro porquê. O principal conteúdo do ensaio é que Descartes apresenta a doutrina da causa sui porque pensou que a prova ontológica da Meditação V precisava dela. Demonstramos estas afirmações através de uma análise rigorosa da articulação inicial de Descartes da causa sui em resposta a Caterus, seguida de uma atenção à reformulação da doutrina em resposta às objecções logicas apresentadas por Arnauld. A nossa compreensão da causa sui como proposta feita no horizonte da prova ontológica não ilumina apenas porque é que Descartes teria defendido uma doutrina conceptualmente tão problemática como a causa sui, mas também providencia uma alternativa ao ponto de vista de Jean-Luc Marion de que a causa sui constitui a terceira, prova distintapara a existência de Deus.
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