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Catholic Dictionary

Term

FORMAL CAUSE

Definition

The specific element in a being which communicates itself to the indeterminate or less determinate element and together with this matter or substratum constitutes the whole being. One of the four principal causes in Thomistic philosophy.

See Also: CAUSE, See Also: EFFICIENT CAUSE, See Also: FINAL CAUSE, See Also: FIRST CAUSE, See Also: FREE CAUSE, See Also: MATERIAL CAUSE, See Also: MORAL CAUSE, See Also: NECESSARY CAUSE, See Also: SECONDARY CAUSE