Single Idea 17235

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 9. General Causation / d. Causal necessity]

Full Idea

A cause it the sum or aggregate of all such accidents, both in the agents and in the patient, as concur to the producing of the effect propounded; all of which existing together, ti cannot be understood but that the effect existenth without them.

Gist of Idea

A cause is the complete sum of the features which necessitate the effect


Thomas Hobbes (De Corpore (Elements, First Section) [1655], 1.6.10)

Book Reference

Hobbes,Thomas: 'Metaphysical Writings', ed/tr. Calkins,Mary Whiton [Open Court 1905], p.28

A Reaction

For most causes we meet, this definition will include gravity and electro-magnetism, so it doesn't help in narrowing things down. Notice that he accepts the necessity, despite his committed empiricism.