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a. a ground for legal action; matter giving rise to a lawsuit
b. the lawsuit itself
2. (in the philosophy of Aristotle) any of four requirements for a thing's coming to be, namely material (material cause), its nature (formal cause), an agent (efficient cause), and a purpose (final cause)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


any immediate, or more indirect, factor precipitating an outcome. See also CAUSALITY AND CAUSAL RELATIONSHIP.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a phenomenon that directly determines or gives rise to another phenomenon, the effect. In the real world all phenomena and processes are in a state of universal connection and interaction. The concept of “cause” presupposes the singling out of a particular group of phenomena or a system, within the framework of which a causal relation is established between particular phenomena and processes.

Every phenomenon is grounded in several others and is determined by them, its causes. In the process of cognition the researcher inevitably goes beyond the mere description of facts and turns to an investigation of the laws of their origin, development, and functioning, seeking the causes that determine the corresponding properties of a particular object. The movement of thought from description to causal explanation is the movement of cognition from outer to inner, from phenomenon to essence.

As the basis and essence of the effect, the cause functions as the originating and determining element in the relationship between phenomena. The interconnection and mutual conditioning of phenomena take an innumerable variety of forms. Accordingly, the types of causes are extremely diverse. In modern science causes are classified by the most varied criteria. Thus, depending on the nature of the causal relations, causes are classified as ideal and material, informational and energetic (energeticheskie), dynamic and statistical, simple and compound, single-factor and multiple-factor, systemic and nonsystemic, external and internal, primary and nonprimary, objective and subjective, and so on.

It is customary to distinguish the cause from the circumstances of its operation. In the social sciences, causes are distinguished from reasons—the processes contributing to the formation and manifestation of causes. Consideration of the diversity of phenomena gives rise to the conception of causality as a fundamental feature of reality.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Actions, omissions, events, conditions, or a combination thereof, which led to the accident or incident investigation (ICAO).
An Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation Copyright © 2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
References in periodicals archive ?
There is at least one 'exogenous' condition that helped perpetuate Europe's political fragmentation, which Hoffman surprisingly never discusses among the potential ultimate causes. Namely, the incessant interventions of the Ottoman Empire in late medieval and early modern European politics, precisely to prevent the emergence of a hegemon, are not discussed as a potential cause.
Unfortunately we were unable to determine ultimate cause of death for a significant portion of female bighorn sheep in our study.
The possession by the Most-high of such a thought implies the existence in God, during an endless time, of an essence which was only potential; this unfortunately brings the need of a cause to explain why a certain essence in the Ultimate Cause, namely God's creative nature, has been chosen to be potential and not another.
I did not think about my ultimate cause until much later.
Instead of trying to analyze and solve a problem, they conclude that there's no point to doing so since the ultimate cause of the problems is that they are, and will always be, for example, incompetent or unloveable."
It's All Consciousness True philosophy lies in probing the ultimate cause of the universe.
The Creator is therefore Eternal and Everlasting; Almighty Allah says: "He is the First and the Last." (Holy Quran 57:3) The Creator does not create only in the sense of bringing things into being, in other words, He is not only a Starter, He also preserves everything, takes them out of existence, and is the ultimate cause of whatever happens to them.
More than hoping to win the coveted regional title once again, Oman coached by Frenchman Paul Le Guen, is looking to use this platform to build up for the ultimate cause a qualification berth in the Brazil showpiece next year.
A good choice will contribute to the ultimate cause
It has since been reported that rocket-propelled grenades set the building aflame, and smoke inhalation was the ultimate cause of death for the four Americans who lost their lives.
He attempts to navigate the dichotomy between the ultimate cause as transcendent and comprehensive, proposing Spinoza and Aquinas as possible solutions.
He believed that bank credit is the ultimate cause of cycles; he gave more importance to its impact on the productive structure.

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