Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Henrik Lagerlund


  • André Goddu
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1151-5_118-2


Modern philosophical accounts of causality deviate dramatically from medieval accounts, yet many of the views held in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries represent the end of an evolutionary process that began in the thirteenth century with the reintroduction of Aristotelian natural philosophy to medieval authors. The entry traces the evolution from premodern to modern views, explaining the transition that occurred from early medieval authors through late medieval scholastics. The crucial turning point is the tendency to distinguish explanatory principles from causes properly conceived. That tendency in turn corresponds to a critique of final causes in nature. The crucial change that occurred in the seventeenth century, however, was due less to a change in causal conceptions and more to implications of mechanical philosophy for commonsense inferences about nature and causal relations.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


Primary Sources

  1. Albert the Great. (1890). Physicorum libri. In A. Borgnet (Ed.), Opera omnia (Vol. 3). Paris: Ludovicus Vivès.Google Scholar
  2. Albert the Great. (1971). De caelo et mundo. In B. Geyer (Ed.), Opera omnia (Vol. 5). Münster: Aschendorff.Google Scholar
  3. Albert the Great. (1987–1993). Physica. Pars I. Libri 1–4, Pars II. Libri 5–8 (ed.: Hossfeld, P.). Münster: Aschendorf.Google Scholar
  4. Anselm of Canterbury. (1998). The major works (ed. and trans: Davies, B., Evans, G. R.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Aristotle. (1939). On the heavens (trans: Guthrie, W. K. C.). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Aristotle. (1941a). Analytica posteriora (trans: Mure, G. R. G.). In R. McKeon (Ed.), The basic works of Aristotle. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  7. Aristotle. (1941b). Metaphysica (trans: Ross, W. D.). In R. McKeon (Ed.), The basic works of Aristotle. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  8. Aristotle. (1957–1990). Physica. In Aristoteles Latinus (Vol. 7). Translatio Vetus, ed.: Bossier, F., Brams, J.; Translatio Vaticana, ed.: Mansion, A. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  9. Aristotle. (1968–1970). Physics, 2 vols (trans: Wickstead, P. H., Cornford, F. M.). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Eriugena, J. S. (1987). Periphyseon (trans: Williams, I. S., O’Meara, J.). Montreal: Bellarmin.Google Scholar
  11. Thomas, A. (1963a). Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics (trans: Blackwell, R., et al.). New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Thomas, A. (1963b). Exposition of Aristotle’s treatise on the heavens, books I–III, 2 vols (trans: Larcher, R., Conway, P.). College of St. Columbus: Mary of the Springs.Google Scholar
  13. William of Ockham. (1985). Expositio in octo libros Physicorum. Opera philosophica (Vol. 4, ed.: Richter, V., Leibold, G.); (Vol. 5, ed.: Wood, R., et al.). St. Bonaventure: The Franciscan Institute.Google Scholar
  14. William of Ockham. (2007) Demonstration and scientific knowledge (trans: Longeway, J.). Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame.Google Scholar

Secondary Sources

  1. Adams, M. (1987). William Ockham (Vol. 2). Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame.Google Scholar
  2. Bodnár, I. (1997). Movers and elemental motions in Aristotle. Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, 15, 81–117.Google Scholar
  3. Bos, E. P., & Meijer, P. A. (Eds.). (1992). On Proclus and his influence in medieval philosophy. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  4. Fakhry, M. (1958). Islamic occasionalism and its critique by Averroes and Aquinas. London: Unwin and Unwin.Google Scholar
  5. Falcon, A. (2005). Aristotle and the uniformity of nature: Unity without uniformity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Funkenstein, A. (1965). Heilsplan und natürliche Entwicklung. Munich: Nymphenburger Verlagshandlung.Google Scholar
  7. Goddu, A. (1981). The contribution of Albertus Magnus to discussions of natural and violent motions. In: Albert der Grosse, Seine Zeit, Sein Werk, Seine Wirkung. Miscellanea Mediaevalia (Vol. 14, pp. 116–125). Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  8. Goddu, A. (1984). The physics of William of Ockham. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  9. Goddu, A. (1999). Ockham’s philosophy of nature. In P. Spade (Ed.), The Cambridge companion to Ockham (pp. 143–167). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lennox, J. (1986). Aristotle, Galileo, and mixed sciences. In W. Wallace (Ed.), Reinterpreting Galileo (pp. 29–51). Washington, DC: The Catholic University Press of America.Google Scholar
  11. Longeway, J. (2007). Introduction. In William of Ockham (Ed.), Demonstration and scientific knowledge in William of Ockham (pp. 1–140). Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame.Google Scholar
  12. Markus, R. A. (Ed.). (1972). Augustine: A collection of critical essays. Garden City: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  13. Marmura, M. (1965). Ghazali and demonstrative science. Journal of the History of Philosophy, 3, 183–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Matthews, G. (Ed.). (1999). The Augustinian tradition. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  15. McDowell, J., & Williams, T. (2003). In search of certainty. Wheaton: Tyndale House.Google Scholar
  16. Moran, D. (1989). The philosophy of John Scottus Eriugena, a study of idealism in the middle ages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Noone, T. (1999). The Franciscans and epistemology: Reflections on the roles of Bonaventure and Scotus. In R. Houser (Ed.), Medieval masters, essays in honor of Msgr (pp. 63–90). Houston: E. A. Synan. University of St. Thomas.Google Scholar
  18. Palmieri, P. (2008). Reenacting Galileo’s experiments. Rediscovering the techniques of seventeenth-century science. Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press.Google Scholar
  19. Taylor, R. (1963). Causation. The Monist, 47, 287–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Thijssen, J. M. M. H. (1987). John Buridan and Nicholas of Autrecourt on causality and induction. Traditio, 43, 237–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Weisheipl, J. (Ed.). (1980). Albertus Magnus and the sciences: Commemorative essays 1980. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies.Google Scholar
  22. Weisheipl, J. (1985). In W. Carroll (Ed.), Nature and motion in the middle ages. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsStonehill CollegeEastonUSA