I wonder who came up with this idea.

Causality conceives of the world as being held adrift by chains of causal relations, forming a partial order of events/states of affairs/acts/mechanisms. The cause necessarily results in the effect.

The main problem: how to define necessity? How do we distinguish between coincidence and a causal relation?

Some people cannot conceive of infinite partial orders, and without good reason, assume a first cause.

Cause (?), n. [F. cause, fr. L. causa. Cf. Cause, v., Kickshaw.]

1.

That which produces or effects a result; that from which anything proceeds, and without which it would not exist.

Cause is substance exerting its power into act, to make one thing begin to be. Locke.

2.

That which is the occasion of an action or state; ground; reason; motive; as, cause for rejoicing.

3.

Sake; interest; advantage.

[Obs.]

I did it not for his cause. 2 Cor. vii. 12.

4. Law

A suit or action in court; any legal process by which a party endeavors to obtain his claim, or what he regards as his right; case; ground of action.

5.

Any subject of discussion or debate; matter; question; affair in general.

What counsel give you in this weighty cause! Shak.

6.

The side of a question, which is espoused, advocated, and upheld by a person or party; a principle which is advocated; that which a person or party seeks to attain.

God befriend us, as our cause is just. Shak.

The part they take against me is from zeal to the cause. Burke.

Efficient cause, the agent or force that produces a change or result. -- Final cause, the end, design, or object, for which anything is done. -- Formal cause, the elements of a conception which make the conception or the thing conceived to be what it is; or the idea viewed as a formative principle and cooperating with the matter. -- Material cause, that of which anything is made. -- Proximate cause. See under Proximate. -- To make common cause with, to join with in purposes and aims.

Macaulay.

Syn. -- Origin; source; mainspring; motive; reason; incitement; inducement; purpose; object; suit; action.

 

© Webster 1913.


Cause, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Caused (?); p. pr. & v. n. Causing.] [F. causer, fr. cause, fr. L. causa. See Cause, n., and cf. Acouse.]

To effect as an agent; to produce; to be the occasion of; to bring about; to bring into existence; to make; -- usually followed by an infinitive, sometimes by that with a finite verb.

I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days. Gen. vii. 4.

Cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans. Col. iv. 16.

Syn. -- To create; produce; beget; effect; occasion; originate; induce; bring about.

 

© Webster 1913.


Cause, v. i.

To assign or show cause; to give a reason; to make excuse.

[Obs.]

Spenser.

 

© Webster 1913.


Cause, conj.

Abbreviation of Because.

B. Jonson.

 

© Webster 1913.

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