In the Disputationes metaphysicae (disp. 23 and 24) Francisco Suarez tries to show that final cause is not a projection of human intellect, but something real in things themselves, and that it is not possible to satisfactorily explain empirical data without it. He shows how final cause operates in human beings, in God, in so-called ‘natural agents’, and in the universe as a whole. In fact, final cause presupposes the existence of something which is able to know an end and to direct its actions towards that end. This does not imply, however, that the end is totally absent from the operations of ‘natural agents’, nor that teleological explanation never makes sense for them. From a certain point of view, there is intentionality even in the operations of non-rational beings, because all nature is subject to divine action and rationality.
Metaphysics; Final cause; Efficient cause