Aquinas on Efficient Causation and Causal Powers




2023.03.1 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews

Gloria Frost, Aquinas on Efficient Causation and Causal Powers, Cambridge University Press, 2022, 239pp., $99.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781009225403.

Reviewed by Can Laurens Löwe, Humboldt University of Berlin

A glass breaks because it is dropped, water boils because it is heated, dough becomes bread because it is baked. For Aquinas, all of these examples involve efficient causation. He develops a sophisticated theory of this type of causation—one in which causal powers take center stage. But there has been as yet no book-length study of this topic. Gloria Frost’s Aquinas on Efficient Causation and Causal Powers fills this gap, and the book is an admirable achievement. Frost sets out, with clarity and exegetical care, Aquinas’s views on what causal powers are, how they are individuated, and how they are exercised in efficient causation. She offers an account of what she terms “paradigm” cases of efficient causation, which involve two causal powers, namely,…

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