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Chapter 3 - Active Powers

from Part I - The Elements of Paradigm Instances of Efficient Causation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 November 2022

Gloria Frost
Affiliation:
University of St Thomas, Minnesota
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Summary

This chapter is about Aquinas’s views on active powers. Aquinas uses the Latin term potentiae to refer to active powers in general. Accordingly, the chapter begins with Aquinas’s understanding of the distinction between potentiality and actuality and the different types of potentialities. The chapter next considers his views on how active potentialities are individuated. Aquinas claims that active potentialities are distinguished by the acts that immediately arise from them. The chapter then examines Aquinas’s views on what active powers are ontologically. Aquinas identifies active power with form. Forms are both that by which a substance is actual in a determinate way and that through which a substance is capable of causing the same type of form in another substance. Although Aquinas thinks that active powers are forms, he denies that every form is an active power for material change. For example, the form of redness is not an active power for making other substances red. The final sections of the chapter discuss Aquinas’s views about which forms are and are not active powers for initiating material change.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Active Powers
  • Gloria Frost, University of St Thomas, Minnesota
  • Book: Aquinas on Efficient Causation and Causal Powers
  • Online publication: 11 November 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009225403.005
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  • Active Powers
  • Gloria Frost, University of St Thomas, Minnesota
  • Book: Aquinas on Efficient Causation and Causal Powers
  • Online publication: 11 November 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009225403.005
Available formats
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Active Powers
  • Gloria Frost, University of St Thomas, Minnesota
  • Book: Aquinas on Efficient Causation and Causal Powers
  • Online publication: 11 November 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009225403.005
Available formats
×