Cause, Causality


Material cause is the material of which it consists.

Formal cause is its form, i.e. the arrangement of that matter.

Moving cause is “the primary source of the change or rest.”

final cause is its aim or purpose. That for the sake of which a thing is what it is.

Necessary causes:If x is a necessary cause of y, then the presence of y necessarily implies the presence of x. The presence of x, however, does not imply that y will occur.

Sufficient causes:If x is a sufficient cause of y, then the presence of x necessarily implies the presence of y. However, another cause z may alternatively cause y. Thus the presence of y does not imply the presence of x. A sufficient cause is a complete causal mechanism. It can be defined as a set of events that inevitably produce a disease.

Contributory causes: A cause may be classified as a “contributory cause,” if the presumed cause precedes the effect, and altering the cause alters the effect. It does not require that all those subjects which possess the contributory cause experience the effect. It does not require that all those subjects which are free of the contributory cause be free of the effect. In other words, a contributory cause may be neither necessary nor sufficient but it must be contributory. Changes the severity and frequency of problem

A probabilistically causes B if A’s occurrence increases the probability of B. This is sometimes interpreted to reflect imperfect knowledge of a deterministic system but other times interpreted to mean that the causal system under study is inherently probabilistic, such as quantum mechanics.

Root Cause B is a Root Cause for A, if the elimination or or correction of B, would have prevented the the outcome from existing or occurring.  Systemic, process, long‐term , Basic, underlying 


Immediate Cause 

proximate cause is an event which is closest to, or immediately responsible for causing, some observed result. This exists in contrast to a higher-level ultimate cause (or distal cause) which is usually thought of as the “real” reason something occurred.

 immediate, intermediate and distant causes


 1) root cause, 2) immediate antecedent, 3) object support, and 4) predominance.

Then, the six causes are:

1) instrumentality (kāraṇahetu), deemed the primary factor in result production;

2) simultaneity or coexistence, which connects phenomena that arise simultaneously;

3) homogeneity, explaining the homogenous flow that evokes phenomena continuity;

4) association, which operates only between mental factors and explains why consciousness appears as assemblages to mental factors;

5) dominance, which forms one’s habitual cognitive and behaviorist dispositions; and

6) fruition, referring to whatever is the actively wholesome or unwholesome result. The four conditions and six causes interact with each other in explaining phenomenal experience: for instance, each conscious moment acts both as the homogenous cause, as well as the immediate antecedent consciousness condition rise, and its concomitants, in a subsequent moment.[citation needed]



For Aristotelian philosophy before Aquinas, the word cause had a broad meaning. It meant ‘answer to a why question’ or ‘explanation’, and Aristotelian scholars recognized four kinds of such answers. With the end of the Middle Ages, in many philosophical usages, the meaning of the word ’cause’ narrowed. It often lost that broad meaning, and was restricted to just one of the four kinds. For authors such as Niccolò Machiavelli, in the field of political thinking, and Francis Bacon, concerning science more generally, 

Hume expanded this to a list of eight ways of judging whether two things might be cause and effect. The first three:

1. “The cause and effect must be contiguous in space and time.”
2. “The cause must be prior to the effect.”
3. “There must be a constant union betwixt the cause and effect. ‘Tis chiefly this quality, that constitutes the relation.”

And then additionally there are three connected criteria which come from our experience and which are “the source of most of our philosophical reasonings”:

4. “The same cause always produces the same effect, and the same effect never arises but from the same cause. This principle we derive from experience, and is the source of most of our philosophical reasonings.”
5. Hanging upon the above, Hume says that “where several different objects produce the same effect, it must be by means of some quality, which we discover to be common amongst them.”
6. And “founded on the same reason”: “The difference in the effects of two resembling objects must proceed from that particular, in which they differ.”

And then two more:

7. “When any object increases or diminishes with the increase or diminution of its cause, ’tis to be regarded as a compounded effect, deriv’d from the union of the several different effects, which arise from the several different parts of the cause.”
8. An “object, which exists for any time in its full perfection without any effect, is not the sole cause of that effect, but requires to be assisted by some other principle, which may forward its influence and operation.”

In 1949, physicist Max Born distinguished determination from causality. For him, determination meant that actual events are so linked by laws of nature that certainly reliable predictions and retrodictions can be made from sufficient present data about them. He describes two kinds of causation: nomic or generic causation and singular causation.

Nomic causality means that cause and effect are linked by more or less certain or probabilistic general laws covering many possible or potential instances; this can be recognized as a probabilized version of Hume’s criterion.

An occasion of singular causation is a particular occurrence of a definite complex of events that are physically linked by antecedence and contiguity, which may be recognized as criteria 1 and 2.