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Xavier Zubiri Review, Volume 2, 1999, pp. 83-102
Causality and Power in the Philosophy of Xavier Zubiri
Thomas B. Fowler
President, Xavier Zubiri Foundation of North America
Washington, DC USA
Zubiri sought to resolve many philosophical problems, especially those which have proved to be the most refractory in the history of philosophy, by means of a relatively simple technique, one which seems quite obvious in retrospect. He studied each problem carefully, and found in every case that it was possible to penetrate one level deeper. Unconscious assumptions made at that deeper level led to conclusions about the subject at the next level, and often contradictory conclusions because of differing assumptions. The primary-and most important-example of this rethinking of philosophical questions is his noology. In Sentient Intelligence Zubiri clearly demonstrates that previous epistemological studies-including Kant's critical philosophy and Hume's radical empiricism-took as their starting point certain ideas about how the intelligence works, without fully analyzing it. As a result, they encountered problems or paradoxes which they could not resolve. Zubiri said no, it is necessary first to analyze human intelligence carefully, then further steps can be safely taken. He does the same with the theme of causality, which has been the subject of much intensive study and often acrimonious debate over the past two hundred years, and especially during the twentieth century.
The traditional notion of causality, in particular (discussed in an earlier article in this journal), has been a mainstay of philosophical speculation for nearly 2500 years, and a pivotal element in much philosophical and theological reasoning. Causality, in this view, involves a group of notions deemed inseparable and essential: strict determinism, necessary connection, uniform relation, and real production of effect by cause, among others. Zubiri has analyzed the notion of causality, and his description of it as the "functionality of the real qua real" is well known. But he dedicated no single work to causality, and as a consequence, did not address some important aspects of it, nor did he formulate a comprehensive theory of causality integrating all of his thought on the subject.
The purpose of this article is to review the question of causality, and, by following and extending Zubiri's reasoning and methodology, to show its relationship to power. This analysis discloses that all causality involves the power of the real, through the formality of reality, but only part of it the much more restricted notion of the real power of things. The failure to distinguish these two distinct but related notions of power, and in particular mistaking the first for the second, has in large measure given rise to much of the confusion and erroneous reasoning about causality, especially efficient causality, over the centuries. As part of the analysis, causality is seen to have subsumed several notions which have generally been conflated throughout the history of philosophy, but must be maintained as separate. The following sequential steps will permit us to carry out the analysis: (I) examination of the traditional notion of causality, (II) review of Zubiri's development of the notion of functionality (III) summary of his own analyses of causality, (IV) his analysis of power and the power of the real, and finally (V) how the three notions are related
I. Traditional notion of causality and the so-called "principle of causality"
The traditional notion of causality and its correlate the "principle of causality" involve several ideas which, over the period of almost 2000 years, have been molded into a monolithic conception with certain characteristics, one which dominated philosophical thought until the nineteenth century, and remains very important. This is the notion originated and developed by the Ancient Greeks, principally Aristotle, further developed by the Islamic philosophers, especially Averroes, adopted by the Medieval philosophers, and used by philosophers more or less uncritically (but for different purposes) until the time of Hume. Hume made his famous critique of the notion, but in doing so, accepted it essentially intact. Kant did likewise. It did not occur to either of them to question whether there might be several notions jumbled together under the rubric of "causality". This, in the end, was one of the two reasons that they failed to come to grips with it (the other being their failure to recognize that the radical act of intellection is the sentient apprehension of reality).
In general, efficient causality has come to dominate the discussion. According to the "theory of efficient causality", in its strong form, particular causes produce their effects in reality, and it is possible for us to know that they so produce them. At the same time, it is possible to explain the occurrence and character of these effects with respect to the cause(s) producing them. Clearly, the key idea is that of "real production": there is a cause, or several causes, which are individual, separable, and real, which act on something, also individual, separable, and real, and which actually produce the effect. Zubiri comments,
Cause is all that which exercises a productive or originating influence of the so-called 'effect', not only efficient but also material, formal, and final; or viewed from the standpoint of the effect, it is a characteristic in accordance with which the effect is something really produced by its cause. Causality is, then, originating production. [italics added]
It is not the case that these causes merely precede or accompany their effects; efficient causality as understood here is much stronger. The causes generate their effects; there is no metaphysical occasionalism. The causes provoke or make the effects occur. Moreover, they do all of this by means of some force or capacity or power capable of producing the effects. Therefore, the causes are understood as dynamic "entities" which are active in some intrinsic sense, and which can project their dynamism outside in order to affect and influence the occurrence of their effects. To be sure, all of this presumes a vision of the world (and a corresponding philosophy) which is very realistic: the cause is real, actual; the effect is real, actual, and the cause acts and produces the effect, in a real sense. And we can know that it does so.
Traditionally, causal links have been characterized by three important properties, among others: (a) determinism; (b) necessity; and (c) a rooting in the reality of things. Underlying these is a fourth, that causes are given in our sensorial apprehension. Determinism is important because it implies the unalterable, non-accidental nature of the link. When the first change occurs, the second must occur as well. Necessity forges an even deeper link, one which cannot be exhausted by constant conjunction, thus excluding cases such as "dawn is the cause of sunset". Neither of the first two makes any sense without the third-realism is essential-or the fourth-we must be able to perceive the real, productive link. Implicit here are three of the notions that Zubiri will carefully distinguish in causality: the functional dependence of one thing upon another, the power of the real which imposes itself upon us, and the real power of things to generate effects in accordance with the three properties described.
The Effects of a Cause
We say that each cause produces its own effects, and this means that a particular class of causes can only have a particular type of effects. For example, a cannon can destroy a building, but not construct it. To be sure, a cause can generate a great range of effects, thanks to the diversity of the circumstances in which it functions. But the range is not unlimited either theoretically or practically. This is easy to see: what a cause is, in reality, determines and fixes its capacities and what it can do in any particular situation. It is the internal structure of the cause which limits it, its character or nature or essence. And it is thanks to the strict relationship between causes and effects that we can formulate and employ causal reasoning and-what is of the greatest importance-speak of universal causal laws.
Other important characteristics of causes, understood in the traditional sense, are:
- The cause must act (it cannot act at one time and then under the same circumstances not act).
- The cause acts uniformly (not one way at one time, and a different way at another time)
- The cause must be temporally prior to or simultaneous with its effect.
- The cause must be contiguous with its effect.
The "principle of causality" can be stated as: Every event has a cause or set of causes which completely accounts for it. The genesis of this notion may be hypothesized as follows: The experience of causality in the moral sphere, coupled with a notion of the power of the real-the experience of our own power and our own helplessness in the face of nature's power-combined with a notion of functionality, leads to the synthesis of a broad notion of causality, whose locus is not the mind but the world. This notion is generalized to all experience, and then further extended to mean that it must apply to all happenings, regardless of whether subject to human experience or verification. This leads to the principle of causality, which in turn becomes the basis for metaphysical reasoning about things which are not the subject of direct experience. This genesis of the traditional notion of causality may be visualized as in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Genesis of Traditional Notion of Causality
II. What is Functionality?
In classical philosophy, causality expressed a particular type of relationship between two things (or events, or processes). Such relationships, with the characteristics described above (determinism, uniformity, real production, etc.), were assumed to be the only ones possible, at least in the sense that all others ultimately reduce to them. As such, they formed the basis for knowledge in classical philosophy, and did so even through the time of Kant. For some schools of thought, such as the Scholastic and neo-Scholastic, they still do. But we now know that things can be related in many more ways than can be adequately described by the deterministic paradigm of classical causality. To describe this situation, Zubiri has borrowed an idea, and related terminology, from mathematics: that of function. In mathematics, a function describes a relationship among variables. There may be more than two variables involved, and a given variable may be a function of several or even hundreds of other variables. The function itself describes how one or more variables (the dependent variables) change when other variables (the independent variables) change. This is a much more general way of describing relationships among things, especially since the relationships may only be adequately expressible in mathematical language. They may, for example, involve statistical ideas. Functional relations may or may not involve causality in the traditional sense, or Hume's version, constant conjunction-both of which are special cases of it. Functionality is a much broader concept, capable of supporting inferences such as counterfactual conditionals which are beyond the range of constant conjunction. Zubiri notes,
...functionality...is dependence in the broadest sense of the word. This functional dependence can assume diverse forms....Succession, coexistence, position, spaciocity and spatiality are types of functionality.
To clarify the distinction between functionality and causality, especially causality in the classical sense, Zubiri points out that functionality does not require the notion of the real influence of cause on effect:
From my point of view, causality is the functionality of the real qua real. Taken in its fullness, this concept of functionality is liberated from the idea of "influence", and most importantly, leaves open the type of causality which may intervene in each case. The reality itself of the real, as its own physical moment, is founded on the absolutely absolute reality; therefore, a functionality of reality itself with respect to God exists. [Italics added]
Functionality eschews the dependence of causality on entities or things, and recognizes that it is more general, a field-nature characteristic:
This functionality is...an intrinsic and formal characteristic of the field; i.e., it is not the case, for example, only that B depends upon A; rather, there is an inverse function as well. In the case of temporal succession, B may certainly succeed A, i.e., be dependent upon A. But in turn, A precedes B; it is the antecedent. Functionality, then, is not a relation of some things with others, but is a structural characteristic of the field itself qua field; some things depend upon others because all are included in a field which is intrinsically and formally a functional field. 
Anything which exists does so in a field, and by virtue of the field nature of each thing, functionality pertains to it:
Field-nature reality itself is, qua reality, of a functional character. That each real thing depends upon another is owing to the proper reality of both of them, to the intrinsic functional character of the field itself. The field is in itself a field of functionality. Only on account of this can each thing depend upon others.
Functionality is given in the impression of reality, in primordial apprehension; indeed, it is a formal moment of that impression. There is no inferential process required at that level (though this is not the case at the level of logos and reason). How is it given? Zubiri's radical rethinking of intellection supplies the answer:
...functionality is formally sensed, i.e., not only is it something accessible, it is something for which access is already physically given in sentient intellection, in the transcendental "toward".
III. Zubiri's Analyses of Causality
In light of philosophical critiques of the idea of causality, and important developments in science, especially in the twentieth century, Zubiri felt it necessary to completely overhaul our understanding of causes and causality. For Zubiri, the concept of causality is not merely ambiguous, but worse, one which is used indiscriminately to refer to at least five separate ideas and corresponding realities. This has led directly to many of the problems associated with causality, especially with regard to its proper scope and the type and extent of reasoning which can legitimately be based upon it:
- Ordinary life and experience
- Moral and ethical
- Theology and religation
Aspects of all of these, with the possible exception of the last, have been incorporated into the traditional notion of causality. For Zubiri, functionality is the key to understanding causality, properly speaking; other notions erroneously subsumed under "causality" require different analysis.
Causality in ordinary life and experience
Causality is a commonplace in ordinary life, typified by Hume's example of the ringing of a bell by pulling its cord. This causality, the product of primordial apprehension of reality, is in reality functionality, and has little to do with the production of reality in the sense of real production of effects, since that production cannot be directly perceived:
...causality is not primarily and formally a production of reality, but something much more elemental though still undeniable: the functionality, the case of one reality as a function of another. That this functionality may have the character of a production is much more problematic; and whatever the solution to that problem, production is not the primary notion of causality. Causality is mere functionality.
This is not to deny that the power of the real is evident in ordinary life, only that it is distinct from what is required for "causal" reasoning and explanation in the traditional sense.
For Zubiri, causality is only a mode or type of functionality. Functionality, not causality, is the answer given in response to the usual questions of "why?" and "what for?":
Above all, the "what for" or "why" is not causality; it is functionality. And functionality, as we have already seen, is not dependence of one thing upon another, but the very structure of the field of reality. The "what for" is not an originating or productive influence; it is only the mode by which something is really what it is. At most, causality would be a mode of functionality... But it is not the only mode, nor even the primary one, because functionality is not causal dependence.
In his discussion of Hume, in his main work, Sentient Intelligence, Zubiri distinguishes and relates causality and functionality, emphasizing that, in most instances, we do not perceive the real influence, i.e., the power, of cause upon effect. Therefore causes in the classical sense are not given in ordinary experience, and so cannot be used as the basis for extrapolation beyond such experience:
In classical philosophy a cause is that from which something proceeds by means of a real influence upon the being of the effect. Now, causality is not something given. We never perceive the productive influence of a real thing upon another....Our perception never perceives causality, but always does perceive the functionality; in the field of reality we sense reality in its functional moment as a field-nature moment of the impression of reality.
And in particular, functionality is broader than causality, as understood in the classical sense. In fact, it is much broader still, since functionality only expresses a type of relationship, and does not necessarily have to apply to the real:
Above all, 'functionality' is not synonymous with 'causality' [in the classical sense]. Causality is but one type of functionality among others. In classical philosophy a cause is that from which something proceeds by means of a real influence upon the being of the effect. Now, causality is not something given. We never perceive the productive influence of one real thing upon another.
What we do perceive is not causality, but functionality:
Our perception never perceives causality, but always does perceive the functionality; in the field of reality we sense reality in its functional moment as a field-nature moment of the impression of reality. We perceive that a thing is real as a function of others, and functionality which can be and is quite varied. Causality is only a type of functionality, and moreover very problematic.
Causality in science
Early in life, Zubiri recognized that traditional causality as a basis for scientific explanation had been definitively superceded as a result of advances made during the twentieth century. Moreover, he realized that this was not a degradation of science, but a giant purification step which freed science from its unnecessary (and probably false) metaphysical baggage:
So, not only is it untrue that the idea of cause gave rise to modern science, but in fact modern science had its origin in the exquisite care with which it restricted this idea. That renunciation was, for the representatives of the old physics, the great scandal of the epoch. How is it possible for physics to renounce explanation of the origin of all movement? This heroic renunciation, nonetheless, engendered modern physics. Hence it is not permissible to whisper of scandals in the face of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle; it is rather necessary faithfully to examine the situation and see if it does not give to physics its ultimate stroke of purity.
In particular, Zubiri perceived that the link long ago forged between causality and determinism had to be broken:
Indetermination seems to be what is most opposed to the character of all scientific thinking...to renounce determinism would be to renounce causality, and with it, everything that has constituted the meaning of science from Galileo up to the present day.
But in fact, as Zubiri perceived, science understood in such terms was in reality a mixture of pure science and spurious metaphysical notions, and that causality is a much broader concept than determinism: "Causality is not synonymous with determinism; rather, determinism is a type of causality." Forty years later he made an observation that is particularly relevant to this question and that of causality in general:
...above all, the fact that an effect may have reality in virtue of a cause does not mean that either the effect or the cause are repeatable. That is, Determinism is ultimately a schema for a type of causality, but not causality itself.
Of course, the advocates of determinism in science did not take kindly to the radical reinterpretation of nature advocated by Zubiri and the Copenhagen School, which gave rise to enormous controversy during the twentieth century, ultimately resolved in a way which fully vindicates Zubiri. This issue has been discussed at length by the author in an earlier publication.
So what does happen in science? When discussing genes or quarks, we do not have primordial apprehension of these things, but we can talk about functional relations among the objects of knowledge, and describe them verbally or mathematically. That is, we have functionality, though it is often misleadingly called "causality". This is science at the level of ratio or reason. It is best illustrated by actual scientific laws. Zubiri chooses the ideal gas law PV=nRT, though many others could be chosen:
If I say that in a gas...[PV=nRT]...this does not mean that volume, pressure, and temperature are linked as causes. What, in this case, would the causes be? The question does not make sense. The only thing affirmed here is the functionality of the three terms. And this functionality includes the three at once. We are not dealing with a case of one term dependent upon another, but functionality as field structure. And physical laws are primarily laws of functionality...Science does not have causes as its object but functional "what for"s or "why"s.
So science lives on functionality, not causality (as understood in the classical sense); moreover, it does not require determinism or its correlate, the notion of real production of effects.
Theology and religation
Theology is included here because of the extensive use made of causal-based reasoning in traditional theology, especially for proofs of the existence of God, and in Catholic theology, for explanation of the Sacraments. In Man and God, Zubiri discusses and critiques Aquinas' "five ways", which are based squarely on Aristotle's four-fold division of causality, and he questions not their validity but their soundness. Elsewhere he analyzes the Sacraments and their efficacy, which in traditional theology is assumed to be based on efficient causality. For Zubiri, both these applications of causality fail to achieve their goals, and are substituted in his philosophy by the power of the real, leading to religation as the foundation for theological reasoning.
There is a sense in which real things are not fully independent in the Aristotelian sense of substance, being mutually dependent or as Zubiri says, "intrinsically respective". Causality, in the fullest sense, requires that a substantivity be substantive, which only occurs in the case of human reality:
Moreover, no substantivity-and this is extremely important-is fully a seat of causality because there is no substantive reality (outside of human reality, and there only in limited dimensions); there is no substantivity which is fully a substance. Therefore, none is fully a cause.
This builds on Zubiri's analysis of science: personhood is a different type of reality from the "bodies" of classical physics; and therefore the thing-centered approach to causality is inadequate for it:
Between persons there is a functionality-strict causality therefore-a causation between persons, between "who" these persons are. This is not just an application of classical causality to persons, but a type of causation irreducible to those of classical metaphysics, and still less reducible to the concept of a scientific law. It is what I call personal causality. And however repugnant it may be to natural science, there is...a causality between persons which is not given in the realm of nature.
It is important to note that personal causality is still functionality, but not functionality analyzable in either classical metaphysical or scientific terms. Personal causality is extremely interesting because it is so different than traditional notions of causality based on Aristotle's classification:
...what doubt is there that the relations of friendship, counsel, tenderness, hospitality, warmth have an influence on human actions which it is difficult to fit into the four concepts of causality left to us by Aristotle.
Elaborating on this point, Zubiri comments on the innumerable interpersonal relations which do not fit into the mold of the four causes:
When I am with a friend or a person whom I love, the influence of friendship or tenderness does not reduce to mere psycho-physical causation. It is not just an influence of what the friend is, but of the friend by virtue of him being who he is.
Physical causality is exercised through means such as force, pressure, and attraction; whereas in personal causality, it is through friendship, companionship, love, and support, for example. This personal causality forms the basis for morality and the moral dimension of the human person.
Zubiri explicitly separates personal causality from Aristotle's four causes, which he believes were modeled exclusively on natural phenomena and thus very restricted. Causality between persons qua persons cannot be fitted into the classical scheme, but is strict causality in the sense of functionality. Zubiri comments:
Aristotle understood by 'cause' that which produces a distinct entity. When he wishes to explain the causality of a cause he introduces the now classic distinction of the four causes: efficient, final, material, and formal. Now if, from this point of view, we consider as an example the counsel which one person gives another, it is not clear into which of these four types of cause this case falls.
Though certain cases involving persons involve readily identified causes, such as a shove being a type of efficient causality, there are many others which do not:
...if we try to apply the idea of the four causes to an act of advising a friend, we are struck by grave doubts about the possible type of causality of the advice. This points up the fact that Aristotle's celebrated theory of causality is strictly formed around "natural" realities. Aristotle's causality is a theory of natural causality.
To this must be added a new type of causality to handle instances such as the foregoing:
As I see it, one must rigorously introduce a theory of personal causality, next to Aristotle's natural causality.... Personal causality is of a very different kind than natural causality. Thus the two type of causality are not univocal but at best analogous. In virtue of this it is necessary to introduce a theory of causality which is both natural and personal, within a broader conception, that of the functionality of the real qua real....
The two are indeed quite separate; personal causality cannot be subsumed under natural causality, and indeed goes beyond it:
...the personal type of causality, even though very in-depth, does not enter into natural causality. The distinction between agent, actor, and author of human actions does not figure in the Aristotelian theory of causality. To be the author of an action is not just to produce it, and no more. It is more, much, much more than some occasionalist functionality. But it is not, on account of this, a strict cause in the Aristotelian sense; it is, strictly speaking, something quite above all Aristotelian causality.
As a consequence, Zubiri does not believe that, in the final analysis, Aristotle's analysis of causality in terms of the four causes is sufficiently radical to serve as the basis of our understanding of the subject. That is, there are aspects of our experience which cannot be analyzed on the basis of these causes-notions which ultimately are based in his philosophical system. In connection with God, Zubiri comments,
When we say that God is the ground of the power of the real, 'ground' certainly designates some form of causality, but not one of the four causes of classical metaphysics. By repeated study of the distinctions between these four different types of causes, we tend to think that they exhaust all the possible types of causality. But much more importantly, we loose sight of causality as such. 
In general, for Zubiri, theological reasoning and knowledge cannot be based on Aristotle's four causes because there are too many aspects of spiritual realities that simply cannot be understood in those terms. Rather, they require an understanding ultimately based on the notion of power, instead of causality:
It might be possible that power coincides in its ambit with causality, but this coincidence does not signify formal identity. Still less does it do so if we leave the realm of material realities and go to those of the spirit. In the spirit there are many powers which cannot be reduced purely and simply to the causes enumerated by the Greeks.
Causality involves the giving of something:
By 'causality'... one understands in the first place the functionality of the real qua real. And, in the second place, that in this functionality is how the real, which is real inasmuch as it is formally a de suyo, this reality in fact gives of itself [da de sí]. This giving of itself in the functionality of the real inasmuch as it is real is just causality.
Zubiri notes that the role of causality reflected in this giving of itself is problematic because outside of certain human actions, it is impossible to isolate all of the causes of any event. This implies that human reality is different than other types of reality.
The moral dimension of man is a "physical" dimension, in the sense that it represents a real, physical "appropriation" by each person of specific possibilities for his life. Morality, in the sense of values, the good, and obligations, is possible only through the foundation of this physical dimension. Since this requires effort on the part of each person, i.e., each person makes his own life:
...the moral is not found in the naked substantive reality of man, i.e., in what a man individually and specifically is, but in his personized nature. Man is moral reality because he is nature, personal substantivity. Therefore the so-called 'moral causality' is strictly and formally personal causality.
With respect to responsibility for actions, Zubiri was much influenced by Kant, especially Kant's analysis of causality in the moral sphere, which he agrees is quite different from causality in the realm of ordinary experience:
Speculative reason had seen, in causality, temporal determination; here we find ourselves with something different: a determination in the intelligible world-a strict causality which is only in the intelligible order. Hence, what was simply a possibility for speculative reason, is an objective reality for practical reason. Why? Because practical reason has a datum which theoretical reason absolutely lacks, the absolute datum of morality, of the will.
While rejecting Kant's metaphysics, Zubiri will take from him the notion of causality in the moral sphere, basing it on the fact that in this dimension, man is a substantive reality, and therefore causality applies.
Of course, Zubiri would deny that causality, however real our direct experience of it is in the moral life, could be generalized to a metaphysical principle of universal validity.
IV. Zubiri's Notions of Power and Power of the Real
The simple explanation of causality and power in Zubiri is that they are different: causality, in a formula he repeats over and over, is the functionality of the real qua real. Power, on the other hand, is the dominance of the real qua real. However, Zubiri distinguishes four aspects of power, and this distinction is critical for resolution of the problem of causality:
- Power of real things.
- Power as a constitutive moment of the real, the power of "giving of itself". 
- Power of the real qua real: the dominance of the real.
- Power in the sense of possibilities appropriated by man.
Of these, the first three involve dominance. By a process of generalization, the first leads to the second, and the second to the third, which in Zubiri's philosophy is by far the most important because it is part of the de suyo, that is, of the transcendentality of reality. The fourth is of lesser importance and only occurs once in Zubiri's writings; it will not be discussed further here. A brief historical review will serve to illuminate the aspects of power.
Genesis of the Notion of Power
In a sense, the notions of power and causality, which have their roots in primordial apprehension, were first "discovered" by the Pre-Socratics, and they were discovered together. Undoubtedly, this fact greatly impeded the correct understanding of them. Zubiri comments on the following fragment of Anaximander (c. 610-546 BC):
Anaximander...said that the principle [¢rc»n] and element of existing things was the apeiron [tÕ ¥peiron] being the first to introduce this name of the material principle. He says that it is neither water nor any of the other so-called elements, but some other apeiron nature, from which come into being all the heavens and the worlds in them. And the source of coming-to-be for existing things is that into which destruction too happens, "according to necessity; for they pay penalty [d...khn] and retribution to each other for their injustice [¢dik...aj] according to the assessment of time", as he describes it in these rather poetic terms.
Zubiri comments on this passage:
...¢rc» appears here with three different functions. The first is that of being the beginning of the world; this is the archaic function....in the second place this ¥peiron, this indefinite, is the principle, ¢rc»,...intrinsic to every reality, each of which is formally constituted by this ¢rc» which it bears in its breast, and from which it intrinsically emerges and comes to be as it is.
But there is a third sense, the most important:
...in this [third] sense justice, the adjustment, makes things revert to their principle, to that principle from which they left. And in this sense the ¢rc» has a character which is rigorously archontic or ruling. It is the supreme archon or ruler of the universe....The intrinsic unity of these three dimensions is what constitutes Power. And this Power of the ¢rc» is just that which gives rise, according to Anaximander, to the vissitudes of the Universe, and with whose enuntiation Philosophy was born into the world.
What is especially interesting about this passage is that for Aristotle and the subsequent tradition, it represents a key development in the notion of causality, rather than power. In it, Anaximander makes reference to a material cause, the ¥peiron, (that Thales had done before him). But we also see in it the first glimmerings of other types of causality, an obscure mixture of what would later be called 'formal' and 'final' causes, with some notion of efficient causality thrown in via the notion of penalty and retribution. Aristotle does not directly comment on Anaximander in Book I, chapters 3-4 of the Metaphysics, (983a24-987a29) where he surveys the work of the presocratics on causality. He does touch on Anaximander in the Physics where he deals with the question of how things emerge from the primary substratum (187a12-26). He also mentions Anaximander in connection with other presocratics who are grouped together as those who postulate some infinite primary "material" but do not, except by implication, posit any separate causes of motion. It is not unreasonable to conclude that for Aristotle and the entire tradition based on him, the idea of power which Zubiri identifies in this passage is implicit in the stammering notion of causality it expresses. Thus we see that even at the beginning of philosophy, the two notions of power and causality were perceived and, perhaps unfortunately, conjoined.
Zubiri also discusses the early notions of power with respect to paradigms for organizing human experience:
...in the first place...reality would be a system of powers or capacities (poderosidad). This is the concept which appears, for example, in the wisdom and the religions, not only of primitive mentalities, but in a certain sense even in mentalities which are already "developed"....Here "power" is a proper character independently of the interpretations which, even within these mentalities, it might receive. For example, powerfulness does not mean "spirit" or "soul" or anything like these. The idea of power is not synonymous with that of "animation". Quite the contrary. Animism itself presupposes the idea of power, and is only an interpretation of it...
Zubiri believes that today we have reached a stage in which we ignore power and force, and only look at naked reality, with "dire results". He does not advise, as a response, to assign them a preponderance which they should not have, but rather to inscribe them "...in the character of...the de suyo. Things not only act de suyo on others, but also have, de suyo, a certain dominant power over them. Was it not precisely the unity of these [three] characteristics which Anaximander expressed in his celebrated ¢rc»?"
Power of real things
Zubiri discusses the power of the real at length in Appendix 1 of Man and God. There he draws a distinction between real power or the power of real things, and the power of the real qua real:
Power is, of course, a moment of the de suyo; to wit, it is real power. Some real things can dominate over others. This power can be dominant in two aspects. One is that of real things, the real things as real powerfulness. Yet there is dominance in another respect: not that of real things but of the moment of reality itself qua reality. And then it is not the case of powerfulness, but of what I have called the power of the real qua real. This power is the ground, the fundamentality of my personal reality. It is about this power of the real that we have been concerned. This power is that dominance according to which reality, the real as real, captures me.
He then enumerates thirteen examples of powerfulness, of dominance, which so impressed ancient peoples. A similar list appears in another work, with fourteen entries. He next makes the crucial point that it is the power which corresponds to the reality of things which is most important, not the power that individual things have:
...when this power does not correspond to real things but simply to their reality, then real power becomes something more radical, the power of the real. It is with this power, and only this power, that we are concerned as ground of our personal reality.
Individual things, then, when we can meaningfully discuss them (it is a question of substantivity), have real power; but all reality has the power of the real. As we shall see, the traditional understanding of causality required the former, in order to generalize to all experience; but only the latter is in fact universal because it is only under very restrictive conditions that we can speak of substantive reality.
Power as a constitutive moment of the real
Zubiri explains the second aspect of power by saying that "matter is formally power." In this context, power refers to the dynamism of the real, "giving of itself" [dar de sí]. It does not take us to something else, as, say causality, but submerges us in the thing itself. It is not Aristotelian potency, but, analogous to "entity", should be referred to as potenty. Act and potency are two distinct modes of the concept Zubiri is here explicating. It is not of the operative, but of the constitutive order, something which is prior to the operative order.
Giving of itself in movement, that is, the power of unfolding, is being-potent. This being-potent is just the structuring determinant of matter....the unity of potenty and structural richness (of notes as well as of unity) is the de suyo in which the reality of matter consists.
As part of the de suyo, power in the sense of power of the real, like causality in some of its meanings, is apprehended in primordial apprehension. It is a pivotal aspect of our direct contact with reality, both because of its link to religation, its role in compelling us to make ourselves as persons, and its bearing of some of the traditional meanings and functions of causality.
Power, indeed, is one of the three fundamental characteristics-the other two being force and naked reality-that pertain to all conceptions of reality, though at times not all are recognized.
Power of the real qua real
The fundamental notion of power derives from a primordial experience of reality: it resists us (as in the force of nature), but at the same time captivates us (as in the beauty of nature), dominates us, and we must yield to it. Reality is "more" than individual characteristics, more than real things, but "more" in them:
And to dominate is just this: to be "more" but in the thing itself; the reality as reality is dominating in this thing, in each real thing. It is not the case that being dominant consists in being more important than being green, but that the moment of reality physically determines, without being a cause, that the green is a form of reality.... Consequently, this dominion is what we may call power. To dominate is "more", it is to have power. Here "power" does not mean to be a cause.
So what does domination mean, effectively? It means that we confront a world not of our making, which does not behave in the ways we might like, and around which we must organize our lives:
...In what measure does this power pertain to reality? Reality, by the mere fact of being real, has a capacity to dominate us... That is an incontrovertible fact, and not a theory. Hence, at no level is this capacity-by virtue of which a reality (not reality itself, but any ordinary reality) makes sense to man-independently of the properties which reality possesses. Obviously: if I wish to fabricate a door, I cannot make it out of liquid water, which has no capacity to be a door. 
Zubiri refers to the capacity which real things have to be given meaning in our life, as in the case of the door, as condition. Using this notion he refines his distinction between causality and power:
If causality strictly speaking is the functionality of the real qua real, condition is the capacity of the real to have meaning, and consequently belongs to the real thing. Power is the dominating condition of the real qua real, in contradistinction to causality which is the functionality of the real qua real. And precisely because it pertains and belongs to reality in itself qua real, it is something which affects not only the attitude of man, but the very structure of things qua real.
All causes have the characteristic of dominating over their effects, even when considered simply from the standpoint of functionality. This is owing to the fact that most causality operates at the level of the formality of reality, not the content of impressions:
If there is real and effective causation, regardless of what the cause may be, something is its effect, because it depends on what is called a "cause". And what is called a "cause" has some influence on the reality of the effect. This is the influence of the real qua real. These two notions are what, purely and simply, comprise the functionality in which causality consists: the dependence of the effect and the influence of the cause as a moment of the formality of the real qua real.
But, it is not the case that dominance is identical to causality. This fact becomes extremely important in the context of theological questions:
Reality as reality is what grounds; it is what is the ground of my personal reality. This means that reality as grounding my personal reality exercises a power over me. Reality is the power of the real. And this is not identical to causality. All causes dominate, but not all dominance is causal, nor is the causal moment in the cause itself identical to its dominating power....Causality is the functionality of the real as real. Power is the dominance of the real as real. [italics added]
This power of the real is not exhausted in intellective actualization, but goes well beyond it.
Thus we have the following progression:
Dominance of things over other things->Power of things in the world (real power)->power of the real->applies to things de suyo->ground of personal reality.
The distinction between power and causality
Zubiri discusses the relationship between causality and power in several passages. He takes pains to distinguish causality, power, and functionality. Regarding causality and power, he comments,
There are...in all [cases of] causality two moments: the moment by which a determinate effect appears, and the more or less latent moment, but still inexorable and inevitable, by which the cause, insofar as it is a cause, predominates over the effect, and has a predominance or prepotence over it.
This predominance is not, as classical philosophy thought, the real influence of one thing (the cause) upon another (the effect), even though causality does, in a sense, bring it about. Rather, this involves power. The predominance
...would not exist, to be sure, without causality; that is evident. But it does not coincide formally with causality; they are two distinct dimensions. And this second dimension, in virtue of which reality can discharge the function of dominating-not simply of dominating the real, but of dominating with respect to other realities, is just what I have called 'power'.... If causality is the functionality of the real qua real, power is the dominance of the real qua real. [italics added]
Power and theological reasoning
Power, in its most general sense, has the three well-known characteristics of ultimateness, enabling, and impelling. For Zubiri, they are the fundamental basis for all philosophizing about religion, at a level deeper than that of standard proofs for the existence of God:
...to this ultimate, enabling, and impelling power I give the name deity. Deity is not God. I call it "deity" because of two reasons; because it will be the way which will take us to God, and also because in the end man has always sensed as power of deity that universal and dominating characteristic that reality qua reality has over him, and over all real things. Deity is not something different from the world, and real things. It is rather that condition which real things have, by the mere fact of being real, of some having dominion over others, and all of them over man, and man over the rest of them: this is reality in its condition as power.
This notion of power is not the Greek dunamis or the German Kraft:
This idea of power, of Macht, is something completely different from the Greek dúnamij and the German Kraft, from the force of things. Power is something inscribed in the very structure of the world.
Religation and power are closely linked:
The foundational is the power of the real, which grounds by seizing me. This seizure by the power of the real is not a relation into which I, already constituted a reality, enter with respect to the power of the real; but it is an intrinsic and formally constitutive moment of my personal reality... Man is not a personal reality except when he actually depends upon the power of the real, so that in virtue of the aforementioned seizure we are not extrinsically subjected to anything. We do not "go to" reality as such, but on the contrary we "come from" it. The seizure implants us in reality. This paradoxical seizing when it seizes me, makes me to be constitutively separate "when facing" that very thing which has seized me. Therefore, the seizing occurs by ligating us to the power of the real in order to be relatively absolute. This peculiar ligature is just what I term religation. Religated to the power of the real is how we are sustained on it, in order to be relatively absolute.
Zubiri elaborates on the nature of this relationship by explaining that religation is actualization of the power of the real, of deity. The nature of power to compel man to make his life, to be as a person, is a recurring theme in Zubiri's writings:
Man is always moved, determined, by the power of the real qua real. This power, by virtue of being such, is an ultimate power. Moreover it is a power which effectively constitutes the ultimate and supreme recourse of every possibilitant reality. And it urges man, it is "urgent", to have to carry out actions; that is to say, it urges him to have to choose a concrete system of possibilities within the power of the real.
There are three aspects of this unity of the real and religation, but it does not include causality in any form:
First, in religation to the power of the real, man has an experience of what the power of the real is, and consequently an experience of what reality is as power.... In the second place, religation to the power of the real is not only experiential, but a manifestation of the power of the real itself. Religation is not only experiential but also ostensive, manifestative of the power of the real... Religation to the power of the real is the experience which manifests what is enigmatic about this power of the real. Religation is, then, not only experiential and manifestative but also enigmatic. This is the third character of religation.
Power has very clear metaphysical implications, and indeed for Zubiri is related to man's capacity for evil. Power is thus related to sin, and this is extremely important because of the link to morality:
To become incarnate amongst a sinful humanity signifies, in one form or another, living on earth, in a society and world in which in one form or another there exists "the power of darkness". "Darkness" is here an expression of sin; it is the power of sin. What is to be understood by 'power'?
Zubiri examines the meanings of this word as expressed in Greek by Luke, ™xous...a, which can refer to judicial authority, or can be equivalent to what may be termed a potency, a dunamij. He explains that ™xous...a formally means
...a power which has something of legal authority; it is more than legal authority, but less than the physical meaning of dunamis. To be sure, ™xous...a, power, is not a mere value, absolutely. But neither is it a cause in the sense of efficient causality of a dunamij. It is just the dominance of the real qua real; it is just power.... Speaking of a power...it must be grounded in characteristic properties constituting reality in its capacity of grounding power, to wit: in reality's condition. Now, this dimension of reality in which the power of sin is grounded is just the will of men with respect to evil.
As an example of the distinction between causality and power, especially in the theological context, Zubiri discusses the Sacraments. Instead of the usual Thomistic approach, which emphasizes causality, Zubiri argues that their nature is in reality based upon power, specifically, the dominance of the real. Reviewing their theological status, he asks:
Is it true that [the problem of the Sacraments] is a problem of causality? To be sure, the Council of Trent has said all that can be said about them: that they contain the grace that they produce, that they produce it effectively, and so forth... But the council never said that the Sacraments are the cause of grace. 
For Zubiri, the correct explanation can then be given in terms of power and the dominance of the real, without need of causality:
I esteem that this production, this ex opere operato which, with reception in faith and conversion of heart, produces the reproduction of the death and resurrection of Christ, is not a problem of causality, but a problem of dominance. It is the dominating of God, of the power of God, where the power of God is just the dominance of the real qua real...And this dominance, precisely because it is a power, continues God-forming him upon whom the power is exercised.
Zubiri again treats of the relationship in a brief passage where the subject of the
discussion is power and divinity. Here he suggests that what is of most importance is the relationship of functionality and power:
...religious thinking consists in going from the power of the real to a system of divinities. And the power of the real is a complex organism. Prescinding from the allusion to causality, it is necessary to say that functionality integrates the power of the real. [italics added]
Though this passage is somewhat obscure, the idea appears to be that functionality can include the notion of the power of the real. As will be argued below, this is the key to understanding causality: causality in the broad sense (including science and ordinary life) is functionality of the real with the power of the real integrated; causality in the classical sense requires, in addition, the real power-real influence-of things. This is only applicable in special cases. The principal aspects of the five types of causality are summarized in Table 1.
Type of causality
Power of the real
Real power of individual things
Table 1. Important Characteristics of the Five Types of Causality
V. Relationship of Causality, Functionality, and Power
At this point we must pull together the various threads of the discussion. On several points, Zubiri's remarks are not completely consistent, though when reasonable allowance is made for the context, a coherent theory emerges.
Inconsistencies and their resolution
At times, Zubiri speaks in ways which suggest that he was still holding onto some aspects of traditional causality-as indeed he was for certain applications. In connection with generation-for example, of offspring from parents-Zubiri does speak of such generation in terms which suggest real productive activity, because of the need to have transmission of the constitutive essence. Indeed, Zubiri says that the generation paradigm is the paradigm of causality for ancient man, and suggests that it may still be so in some manner for us. This is also the case with respect to the Greek Church Fathers, who understood efficient causality as "re-production", but "production" of reality in the sense of the cause shining or relucent in the effect. Indeed, for them, efficient causality is subordinated to formal causality; efficient causality only serves as a vehicle for radiation of the cause in the effect. He also speaks of causal notes as those which comprise the connections of things with each other, though given Zubiri's later position, this need not imply real production of effects, but merely functionality.
Zubiri also states that "we never perceive the real influence" of things, which is inconsistent with his views of personal and moral causality. The resolution of this problem is that Zubiri's categorical statement was made in the context of Hume and what we have here termed "ordinary life or philosophical causality", what Zubiri terms Aristotle's "natural causality". When all of the types of causality are considered, Zubiri's complete position emerges, which is different for each type.
Summary of important points and the relationship between causality and power
We may summarize the important points made in the foregoing sections:
- Causality is functionality of the real qua real, but underneath this general umbrella, there are distinctions among the types of causality and what is required for them.
- Functionality does not require the classical ideas of real influence.
- Power in Zubiri occurs with four meanings, the most important of which, with respect to causality, are the real power or real influence of individual things (real substantivities), and the power of the real.
- When speaking of causality, neither ordinary life nor science requires the notion of real influence, i.e., that of the power of individual things, since such things are not given.
- The power of the real is something given in primordial apprehension, and so applies to all reality, but it is distinct from causality.
- In all cases of causality, both functionality (of the real) and the power of the real (as dominating) are present, but not necessarily that of real influence.
- We do not perceive real influence in the classical sense, except in the special case where there is real substantivity, i.e., man in his personal and moral dimensions (personal and moral causality).
- Religation is based solely on the power of the real, not causality.
- The efficacy of the Sacraments is based not on causality, but on the power of the real, and the power of individual things (the Sacramental elements such as water, oil, and so forth).
To borrow a device from mathematics, the Venn diagram, causality in general is the intersection of functionality and the power of the real; causality in the classical sense requires another intersection, that with real power. Such causality can only occur (or at least be known to occur) in certain cases, at least as far as human knowledge is concerned. Religation does not involve causality, only the power of the real, and so is outside of the causality circle. The Sacraments also are based on the power of the real, but differ from religation insofar as they are based on the efficacy of particular things, and so they fall in the real influence circle. The complete diagram is shown in Figure 2.
Causality, power, and functionality are separate notions for Zubiri; but perhaps most fundamental is the difference between functionality and power. While all functionality involves the power of the real, not all requires the real power of individual things. When functionality is about the real qua real, we have causality in the most general sense. When functionality overlaps the real power of individual things, we have traditional causality, with respect to the real production of effects. This occurs only in a very limited sphere, that of substances, and is therefore restricted in the case of man to moral and personal causality. Causality, from its beginnings in Ancient Greece, has been associated with power. But the power of the real, based on the formality of reality, has been confused with the real power of individual things, which involves knowledge of things as substances and therefore also content. This has led directly to many problems with causality over the centuries. In particular, taking the real power of individual things as synonymous with the power of the real has led to an unjustifiable generalization of reach of causality as an inferential principle. The power of the real, coupled with functionality, gives causality; but not traditional causality, with its implication of real production of effects. The latter requires also the real power of individual things, which is given only under restricted circumstances. For this reason-and not those of Hume and Kant-causal explanations of many matters beyond experience are not valid.
 Thomas Fowler, "The Formality of Reality: Xavier Zubiri's Critique of Hume's Analysis of Causality", The Xavier Zubiri Review I (1998), p. 57-66.^
 Kogan, Barry, Averroes and the Metaphysics of Causation, Albany: State University of New York, 1985, p. 2-5.^
 Fowler, 1998, op. cit.^
 Fowler, 1998, op. cit.^
 Xavier Zubiri, Inteligencia y razón, Madrid: Sociedad de Estudios y Publicaciones, 1983, p. 236 [hereafter, IRA]^
 IRA, p. 236.^
 Fowler, Thomas, "Xavier Zubiri's Critique of Classical Philosophy", Xavier Zubiri Review I (1998), p. 67-73.^
 Jacques Maritain, An Introduction to Philosophy, tr. by E. I. Watkin, New York: Sheed and Ward, 1962, p. 64.^
 Xavier Zubiri, Inteligencia y logos, (Second volume of trilogy, Inteligencia sentiente), Madrid: Alianza Editorial/Fundación Xavier Zubiri, 1982, p. 37. (Hereafter, IL).^
 HD, p. 152. (translation of Mr. Joaquin Redondo).^
 IL, p. 38.^
 IL, p. 38.^
 IL, p. 39.^
 IL, p. 40.^
 Xavier Zubiri, El hombre y Dios, Madrid: Fundación Xavier Zubiri, 198X, p. 85, translation of Mr. Joaquin Redondo [hereafter, HD].^
 IL, p. 39-40.^
 IL, p. 39-40.^
 IL, p. 39-40.^
 Xavier Zubiri, "La idea de naturaleza: la nueva física", Naturaleza, Historia, Dios, 9th edition, Madrid: Alianza Editorial/Sociedad de Estudios y Publicaciones, 1987 [hereafter, NHD].^
 NHD, p. 253-254.^
 NHD, p 252.^
 NHD, p. 253^
 NHD, p. 256^
 Xavier Zubiri, Estructura dinámica de la realidad, Madrid: Alianza Editorial/Fundación Xavier Zubiri, 1989, p. 99. (Hereafter, ED).^
 J. S. Bell, Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987, p. 1-40.^
 P. C. Davies, J. Gribben, The Matter Myth, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992, p. 224.^
 Thomas Fowler, "The Great Paradigm Shift: Xavier Zubiri and the Scientific Revolution, 1890-1990", Faith & Reason, Vol. XX, No. 2 (Summer, 1994), p. 163-198.^
 IRA, p. 237.^
 HD, p. 118ff.^
 ED, p. 56.^
 ED, p. 90.^
 HD, p. 206.^
 Xavier Zubiri, El problema teologal del hombre: Cristianismo , Madrid: Alianza Editorial/Fundación Xavier Zubiri, 1997, p. 216[ hereafter, PTHC].^
 HD, p. 206.^
 IRA, p. 339.^
 IRA, p. 238-239.^
 IRA, p. 238-239.^
 IRA, p. 238-239.^
 IRA, p. 238-239.^
 HD, p. 152. (translation of Mr. Joaquin Redondo).^
 PFHR, p. 42.^
 ED, p. 97.^
 ED, p. 90.^
 A. Pintor-Ramos, Realidad y sentido desde una inspiración zubiriana, Salamanca: Publicaciones Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, 1993, 55-78.^
 HD, p. 207.^
 PFM, p. 229.^
 ED, p. 90.^
 ED, p. 94, 320; Xavier Zubiri, El problema filosófico de la historia de las religiones, Madrid: Alianza Editorial/Fundación Xavier Zubiri, p. 43, 61 [hereafter, PFHR].^
 ED, p. 320; PFHR, p. 43, 61.^
 HD, p. 91.^
 Xavier Zubiri, Espacio, Tiempo, Materia, Madrid: Alianza Editorial/Fundación Xavier Zubiri, 1996, p. 451 [hereafter, ETM]^
 ED, p. 319-320.^
 Xavier Zubiri, Sobre el hombre, Madrid: Fundación Xavier Zubiri/Alianza Editorial, p. 315-317, 397 [hereafter, SH].^
 Simplicius, Phys. 24, 13; DK 12A9, translation from Kirk and Raven, The Presocratic Philosophers, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966, p. 105-107.^
 ED, p. 320-321.^
 ED, p. 320-321.^
 Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy, Volume I, Greece and Rome. New York: Image Books, 1962, p. 41.^
 Kirk and Raven, op. cit., p. 114-115, commentary on Physics 203b7-14.^
 Xavier Zubiri, Sobre la esencia, Madrid: Sociedad de Estudios y Publicaciones, 1963, p. 510-511 [hereafter, SE]. Translation by A. R. Caponigri, On Essence, Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1980, p. 452.^
 SE, p. 511.^
 HD, p. 89, translation of Mr. Joaquin Redondo.^
 PFHR, p. 131-133.^
 HD, p. 91, translation of Mr. Joaquin Redondo.^
 ETM, p. 448.^
 ETM, p. 449.^
 ETM, p. 452.^
 ETM, p. 451-452.^
 Cf. A. Pintor-Ramos, Realidad y verdad, Salamanca: Publicaciones Universidad Pontificia Salamanca, 1994, p. 114-115.^
 Power is not the same as the force of imposition. Force of imposition describes our apprehension of reality, whereas power is concerned with the dominance of the real qua real.^
 HD, p. 87, translation of Mr. Joaquin Redondo.^
 PFHR, 42-43, translation of Mr. Joaquin Redondo.^
 PFHR, 42-43, translation of Mr. Joaquin Redondo.^
 ED, p. 85.^
 HD, p. 88, translation of Mr. Joaquin Redondo.^
 Pintor-Ramos, 1994, p. 118.^
 PFHR, p. 42.^
 ED, p. 319-320.^
 See the article by M. L. Rovaletti in this issue for more detailed discussion of this point.^
 PFHR, p. 43, translation of Mr. Joaquin Redondo.^
 ED, p. 320.^
 Diego Gracia, Voluntad de verdad, Barcelona: Editorial Labor, 1986, p. 213.^
 HD, p. 92.^
 PFHR, p 53.^
 ED, p. 234-235.^
 HD, p. 94-95.^
 PTHC, p. 322-323.^
 For example, Paul Glenn, Ontology, St. Louis: B. Herder, 1937, p. 286-333.^
 PTHC, p. 347-348.^
 PTHC, p. 347-348.^
 PFHR, p. 137-138.^
 SE, p. 240.^
 PFHR, 127-128.^
 NHD, p. 437-438.^
 NHD, p. 534.^
 SE, p. 136.^
 IL, p. 39-40.^
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