Personal Causality in Human Action


  • Javier Aranzadi Universidad Autónoma de Madrid



The study of causality in the natural sciences has always been posed from observing the effect and looking for the cause in a previous time. The principle of causality is caught in a vicious circle based on two assumptions of Kantian origin: (1) causality is a structuring principle of the human mind. (2) In the cause-effect relation, the cause temporally precedes the effect. This knowledge, which as a prerequisite of the action is its temporal antecedent, is the result of the said action. We move in a vicious circle, since the causal principle precedes the action; but in order to know the cause, which produces an effect, the action must be finished.

But in the social sciences, the field in which the individual acts, one has to take into account that the individual pursues a future end which exercises it effects on the present. The antecedent of the action, the cause, does not precede the action in time, but the cause of the action is the desired reality which is projected into the future and we dedicate our present efforts in order to obtain this reality. Provided that we are aware of the person openness to the future, the anticipated project and the present action are co-determined in the reality of the experienced life. Thus we can say that we form our personality by causal appropriation.






Human nature, mind, action