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Substantial Forms as Causes: From Suárez to Descartes

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Chapter Summary

The notion of substantial form was a particular target of abuse for seventeenth-century critics of scholasticism. This chapter argues that there is even in Descartes's writings some - albeit, significantly transformed - remnants of the scholastic account of the causality of substantial forms. It begins with the version of this account in Suárez and summarizes some basic features of Suárez's account of the four Aristotelian causes, author considers his account of the formal causality of substantial forms. After considering the connection of his views to Suárez's version of scholasticism author discuss two remnants in Descartes of Suárez's account of the causality of substantial forms. The first is reflected in Descartes's view that there is a kind of "formal causality" that must be distinguished from the efficient causality. The second is reflected in Descartes's claim that the human soul is a "true substantial form" that exercises a special kind of efficient causality.

Keywords:Aristotelian; causes; Descartes; efficient causality; formal causality; Scholasticism; Suárez; Substantial Forms



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