Article ID: CBB910133174

Instrumental Causes and the Natural Origin of Souls in Antonio Ponce Santacruz's Theory of Animal Generation (2019)


This article studies the theory of animal seeds as purely material entities in the early seventeenth-century medical writings of Antonio Ponce Santacruz, royal physician to the Spanish king Philipp IV. Santacruz adopts the theory of the eduction of substantial forms from the potentiality of matter, according to which new kinds of causal powers can arise out of material composites of a certain complexity. Santacruz stands out among the late Aristotelian defenders of eduction theory because he applies the concept of an instrument of direction developed by the medieval Avicenna commentator Gentile da Foligno and gives a novel turn to this concept by interpreting animal seeds as separate instruments. The article situates Santacruz's theory in the context of early modern debates about the concept of the eduction of forms, as well as in the context of early modern debates about the concept of separate instruments. Particular attention is paid to Santacruz's responses to the biological views of Julius Caesar Scaliger and Thomas Feyens. Santacruz's response to Scaliger turns out to be central for his explication of the eduction relation, and Santacruz's response to Feyens turns out to be central for his explication of the nature of instrumental causation.

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Authors & Contributors
Hirai, Hiro
Graux, François de
Anstey, Peter R.
Pyle, Andrew
Roggen, Vibeke
Smith, Justin E. H.
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
Perspectives on Science
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Annals of the History and Philosophy of Biology
Biogenesis; origin of life; spontaneous generation
Soul (philosophy)
Natural philosophy
Form (philosophy)
Liceti, Fortunio
Ficino, Marsilio
Boyle, Robert
Malebranche, Nicolas de
Franz, Wolfgang
Scaliger, Giulio Cesare
Time Periods
17th century
16th century
18th century
15th century
Early modern

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