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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 93, Issue 1, Winter 2019

Jacob Tuttle
Pages 29-51

Suárez on Creation and Intrinsic Change

The late scholastic philosopher Francisco Suárez (1548–1617) articulates and defends an extraordinarily detailed account of efficient causation. Some of the most interesting and difficult questions connected with this account concern the particular types of efficient causation he acknowledges. This paper clarifies one of the most fundamental distinctions Suárez employs in the course of his treatment of efficient causation—namely, that between motion (motus) or change (mutatio), on the one hand, and creation ex nihilo, on the other. The paper shows that, although motion and creation differ in systematic and important ways, they nevertheless can both be captured by Suárez’s general theoretical model of efficient causation. Moreover, the paper shows that creation serves as a kind of limit case of efficient causation, and accordingly that it informs how Suárez understands motion or change as well.

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