What is different between causation and causality?

And, if there is any difference, do most philosophers recognize it or is it just common among UCL or Cambridge scholars?

Thank you for your answer in advance.

  • 1
    This is merely a grammatical issue, not a philosophical one. Causality is an abstract term for the principles that lie behind every instance of causation. If I poke you that action causes you irritation; that event is an example of causality. – Ted Wrigley Dec 28 '19 at 15:44

See Christian Wolff, Philosophia prima sive ontologia, § 884 and § 886.

See also : Kant Lexikon, Rudolph Eisler

The term " causality " as used in contemporary philosophy derives from Wolff through Kant.

Wollf calls " causatum" the relatum of a cause ( = that to which a cause is related, as a " cause of").

Not all " causatum" is an " effect" for there are other types of causes than " efficient causes" ( namely : formal, material, final causes).

§884 " Ratio illa in causa contenta, cur causatum , vel simpliciter existat, vel tale existat, est illud ipsum quod causalitatem appellarunt Scholastici"

( This reason , contained in the cause, for which the "causatum" either simply exists, or is such-and-such is this very thing that Scholastic authors called causality".)

As example, Wolff says : in the architect, the causalities are its mental actions, by which he conceives of the building, and also its external actions ; in matter ( for example, stone, wood) , the causalities are its physical properties allowing to make a building out of this matter

§886 - " Causa, cujus causality in actione consistit , est causa efficiens"

( "The cause, the causality of which consists in an action, is the efficient cause".)

So, I would say that "causation" is the causality of an efficient cause, that is , the action of the ( efficient) cause in virtue of which this cause produces its effect.

If one only admits efficient cause ( and rejects any other type of cause) , then causality and causation become synonymous.

Note : I think that in ordinary philosophical discouse, "causality" is taken for the cause - effect relation ( considered abstractly) and causation simply means the actual and concrete action by which a cause produces its effect, in other words, the concrete instantiation of the causality relation.

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