This is the first volume of essays devoted to Aristotelian formal causation and its relevance for contemporary metaphysics and philosophy of science. The essays trace the historical development of formal causation and demonstrate its relevance for contemporary issues, such as causation, explanation, laws of nature, functions, essence, modality, and metaphysical grounding.
The introduction to the volume covers the history of theories of formal causation and points out why we need a theory of formal causation in contemporary philosophy. Part I is concerned with scholastic approaches to formal causation, while Part II presents four contemporary approaches to formal causation. The three chapters in Part III explore various notions of dependence and their relevance to formal causation. Part IV, finally, discusses formal causation in biology and cognitive sciences.
Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Formal Causation will be of interest to advanced graduate students and researchers working on contemporary Aristotelian approaches to metaphysics and philosophy of science.
This volume includes contributions by José Tomás Alvarado, Christopher J. Austin, Giacomo Giannini, Jani Hakkarainen, Ludger Jansen, Markku Keinänen, Gyula Klima, James G. Lennox, Stephen Mumford, David S. Oderberg, Michele Paolini Paoletti, Sandeep Prasada, Petter Sandstad, Wolfgang Sattler, Benjamin Schnieder, Matthew Tugby, and Jonas Werner.
Table of Contents
- Introducing Formal Causation
- Form, Intention, Information: From Scholastic Logic to Artificial Intelligence
- Formal Causation: Accidental and Substantial
- A Non-hylomorphic Account of Formal Causation
- Formal Causes for Powers Theorists
- Away with Dispositional Essences in Trope Theory
- Functional Powers
- An Aristotelian Approach to Existential Dependence
- Finean Feature Dependence and the Aristotelian Alternative
- A Problem for Natural-Kind Essentialism and Formal Causes
- Form as Cause and the Formal Cause: Aristotle’s Answer
- Form, Cause, and Explanation in Biology: A Neo-Aristotelian Perspective
- Formal Explanation and Mechanisms of Conceptual Representation
Ludger Jansen and Petter Sandstad
Part I: Scholastic Approaches to Formal Causation
David S. Oderberg
Part II: Contemporary Approaches to Formal Causation
Petter Sandstad and Ludger Jansen
Giacomo Giannini and Stephen Mumford
Jani Hakkarainen and Markku Keinänen
Michele Paolini Paoletti
Part III: Formal Causation and Dependence
Benjamin Schnieder and Jonas Werner
José Tomás Alvarado and Matthew Tugby
Part IV: Formal Causation in Biology and Cognitive Sciences
James G. Lennox
Christopher J. Austin
Ludger Jansen teaches philosophy at the Centre for Philosophy of Science at the University of Münster and at the University of Rostock, where he was head of the project “Formal Causation in Aristotle and Analytic Metaphysics and Philosophy of Science” funded by the German Research Foundation. He is the author of Gruppen und Institutionen (2017) and Tun und Können (2015); and co-editor with Barry Smith of Biomedizinische Ontologie (2008) and with Christoph Jedan of Philosophische Anthropologie in der Antike (2010).
Petter Sandstad is a doctoral student at the University of Rostock working on Aristotelian formal causation, and was a researcher on the project “Formal Causation in Aristotle and Analytic Metaphysics and Philosophy of Science” funded by the German Research Foundation. He has published papers on Socrates and Aristotle, as well as on contemporary metaphysics.
'This volume collects cutting-edge work on topics of robust current interest in metaphysics, such as essentialism and hylomorphism, under the thematic heading of formal causation. Does formal causation belong in the toolbox of contemporary metaphysics? The volume might well be seen in the years to come as bringing the topic of formal causation to the forefront of discussions of kinds, essences, and hylomorphism.' – Phil Corkum, University of Alberta, Canada