Corruputive Efficient Causality

I. Prelude: two types of ceasing to be (DM 18.11)

  • There are two ways in which a thing can cease to exist (or be destroyed or be corrupted): (i) mediately, i.e., as a consequence of the coming-to-be of some other thing that is incompatible with it in the same subject; and (ii) immediately, i.e., not consequent upon the coming to be of something else. Examples of the latter are annihilation and corruptions that follow upon the removal of conserving actions.

II. Two main principles

  • A. Only mediate ceasing-to-be is brought about through an instance of positive and proper efficient causality.
  • B. When the ceasing-to-be is immediate, it is brought about not by an instance of positive and proper efficient causality, but by the absence or removal of proper and positive efficient causality.

III. Corollaries

  • A. In every case of ceasing-to-be there is a change but not necessarily an action.
  • B. Whenever a ceasing-to-be is mediate, the action by which it is effected is an action on a presupposed subject.
  • C. Whenever a ceasing-to-be is effected through a positive action, it is a single non-complex action that involves two partial changes, one positive and the other privative or negative, viz., a coming-to-be of some new esse and an expulsion of some other esse.
  • D. In a mediate ceasing-to-be, the ceasing-to-be is brought about by the very same principles, accompanied by the very same conditions, that effect the production upon which the ceasing-to-be is consequent.