causal principle

Name for a variety of principles, such as that every event has a cause, that the same cause must have the same effect, or that the cause must have at least as much reality as the effect.

This last principle (somewhat akin to the principle of sufficient reason) usually says that what causes something to be of a certain sort must itself be of that sort to at least the same degree; for example, what makes something hot must itself be hot.

This goes back to Aristotle's principle that actuality is prior to potentiality: that is, what is potentially so-and-so can only be made actually so by something that is itself actually so.

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