What is a root cause

Cause / reason

This term is used in philosophy in two different ways: on the one hand for that which produces an effect and on the other hand for that at whose instigation one acts. The sciences, which derive the laws of nature from them, also search for the causes. “To know is to know the causes,” says Aristotle, who, unlike Plato, only distinguishes four different causes - that of matter (like marble in a statue), that of form (in the sense of structure, with a statue its silhouette), the effective cause (like the sculptor's hammer) and the target or end cause (the beauty of the statue) - trying to explain the natural phenomena and to find the underlying cause of the movement of the world: God ( the "motionless mover"). For the scholastics, God is the "first cause" for everything else and also for himself (causa sui). This definition is taken up again by Spinoza, who questions the fact that man possesses a free will. In the search for the psychological origin of our ability to recognize causal relationships and thus causes, two opposing positions develop: that of empiricists, such as Hume, who sees in it only a product of habit (the repeated perception of the same sequence creates the idea of ​​a necessary Causal connection) and that of the rationalists like Kant, who regard this ability as a category of reason. In moral philosophy, the cause or the reason for action is understood as the motive for a decision (for example: to save a drowning person in order to receive a reward); In political philosophy, it means the political conviction or ideology that actions follow. In this sense, Marat speaks of it being “the people's business” to defend the French Revolution.