Form of Efficient Cause
Wed, 27 Mar 1996 12:31:53 -0500
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Form of Efficient Cause
I think you undersand the distinction between
formal and efficient causes. But I am not sure that
you see that there is a form to every efficient cause.
Events, as well as more static constructions also
have forms. Otherwise, we would never be able to
step into the same river even once, since there would
be only flux and no river. So our understanding need
not be via either formal or efficient cause. They can occur
together, or as Augustine put it, things are "concreated."
(con=3Dtogether, as in con-struct=3Dtogether structure).
Lets look at the broken window example. Imagine that
we are studying the number of broken windows that
happened on a particuar day in 50 cities. We have
collected data for the following variables:(X1) Persons
Pick up Bricks; (X2) Persons throw Bricks; (X3) Bricks
hit Windows; and (Y) Windows Break. The causal
model is:
(Y) Windows Break=3D (X1) pick up bricks +
(X2) throw bricks +(X3) Hit Windows
The Data:
City X1 X2 X3 Y
1 10 5 3 2
2 25 7 4 4
=2E . . . .
50 6 5 4 2
Not all the windows that are hit actually break, so
X3 and Y are not identical. There are extraneous
variables like (E1) density of glass and (E2) mass
of brick. We could also put subtractions in to the
The more complete model is :
We end up with data that can be subjected to =

corresponding regressions. X2 will be partially
dependent on X1. X3 depends on X2 and X1. Y will
be depend on X1, X2, & X3 as well as on the E variables.
Thus we can discover the form of an efficient cause

The form is implicit in the efficient cause. It is debatable
whether or not efficient cause is always implicit in the
existence of the form. Certainly Augustine and Aquinas
would say so. God's creation was from nothing, which
was formless, so form came into being with his most
efficient "Let there Be.."
Some other philosopher might say we could imagine a
brick that always existed but not a brick without form...
or maybe it was a God who always existed with all =

forms but no creator. Whatever, when things started =

happening, we got efficient cause and form together;