Cause” and “Cause and effect” redirect here. In general, a process has many causes, which are said to be causal cause and effect of smoking essay example for it, and all lie in its past. An effect can in turn be a cause of, or causal factor for, many other effects, which all lie in its future. Causality is metaphysically prior to notions of time and space.
The concept is like those of agency and efficacy. Accordingly, causality is implicit in the logic and structure of ordinary language. In this case, failure to recognize that different kinds of “cause” are being considered can lead to futile debate. A general metaphysical question about cause and effect is what kind of entity can be a cause, and what kind of entity can be an effect.
One viewpoint on this question is that cause and effect are of one and the same kind of entity, with causality an asymmetric relation between them. An example is ‘his tripping over the step was the cause, and his breaking his ankle the effect’. Another view is that causes and effects are ‘states of affairs’, with the exact natures of those entities being less restrictively defined than in process philosophy. Another viewpoint on the question is the more classical one, that a cause and its effect can be of different kinds of entity. For example, the generative actions of his parents can be regarded as the efficient cause, with Socrates being the effect, Socrates being regarded as an enduring object, in philosophical tradition called a ‘substance’, as distinct from an action. Since causality is a subtle metaphysical notion, considerable effort is needed to establish knowledge of it in particular empirical circumstances.