Sunday, February 26, 2006

Q5 A4: Whether goodness has the aspect of a final cause?

Yes, but while the idea of goodness implies the aspect of a final cause (because goodness is that which all things desire) the idea of goodness also presupposes the idea of an efficient cause, and also of a formal cause.

This may be seen from the order of causality:

In the thing causing:
1. final cause = goodness as end moves the agent to act
2. efficient cause = the action of the agent moving to form
3. formal cause = actualization of the form in the thing caused

In the thing caused:
4. formal cause = the form whereby the thing is an actual being
5. efficient cause = that perfection of the thing by which it can reproduce its form
6. final cause = goodness as the basic principle of the thing's perfection

Note RO1: Beauty properly belongs to the nature of a formal cause, because the cognitive faculty recognizes that beauty consists in due proportion.