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Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 15, Issue 2, Spring 2011

Thomas Tuozzo
Pages 447-464

How Dynamic Is Aristotle’s Efficient Cause?

Aristotle says that arts such as medicine, the soul, and the heavenly Unmoved Movers are all efficient causes. Because the arts do not seem to fit the model of an efficient cause that does something, scholars have posited two classes of efficient cause, “energetic” and “non-energetic” ones, and have classified the arts, the soul, and the Unmoved Movers as non-energetic. I argue that, once the way an Aristotelian efficient cause produces motion is properly understand, this distinction is not needed: all efficient causes are energetic. I end by proposing a new understanding of the efficient causality of the Unmoved Mover.

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