con·di·tion / kənˈdishən/ • n. 1. the state of something, esp. with regard to its appearance, quality, or working order: the wiring is in good condition | [in sing.] the bridge is in an extremely dangerous condition. ∎ a person's or animal’s state of health or physical fitness: he is in fairly good condition | [in sing.] she was in a serious condition. ∎ an illness or other medical problem: a heart condition. ∎ [in sing.] a particular state of existence: a condition of misery. ∎ archaic social position or rank. 2. (conditions) the circumstances affecting the way in which people live or work, esp. with regard to their safety or well-being: harsh living conditions. ∎ the factors or prevailing situation influencing the performance or the outcome of a process: present market conditions. ∎ the prevailing state of the weather, ground, sea, or atmosphere at a particular time, esp. as it affects a sporting event. 3. a state of affairs that must exist or be brought about before something else is possible or permitted: for a member to borrow money, three conditions have to be me. • v. [tr.] 1. (often be conditioned) have a significant influence on or determine (the manner or outcome of something): national choices are conditioned by the international political economy. ∎ train or accustom (someone or something) to behave in a certain way or to accept certain circumstances: the child is conditioned to dislike food [as n.] (conditioning) social conditioning. 2. bring (something) into the desired state for use: a product for conditioning leather. ∎ [often as adj.] (conditioned) make (a person or animal) fit and healthy: he was six feet two of perfectly conditioned muscle and bone. ∎ apply something to (the skin or hair) to give it a healthy or attractive look or feel. ∎ [often as adj.] (conditioned) bring (beer or stout) to maturation after fermentation while the yeast is still present: cask-conditioned real ales. ∎ [intr.] (of a beer or stout) undergo such a process. 3. set prior requirements on (something) before it can occur or be done. PHRASES: in (or out of) condition in a fit (or unfit) physical state. in no condition to do something certainly not fit or well enough to do something. on condition that with the stipulation that.
Broadly understood, a condition is that which makes possible, makes ready, or prepares the way for an efficient cause to act, or for its action to be efficacious. A condition may be referred to the agent or to the patient, and so is intimately related to efficient and material cau sality. However, the primary referent of a condition is the patient or subject that is acted upon (see action and passion). A condition may indicate a state or disposi tion of a patient or subject that permits the subject to receive the action of an agent. It may also connote the absence or the removal of an obstacle that would otherwise block the agent's activity or render it ineffective. This latter description is commonly referred to as a removens prohibens. Often, in order for a cause to function and produce an effect, some impediment must be removed; e.g., for a parachute to open, it is a necessary requirement that its risers not be tangled. Similarly, for a pen to write, it is a condition that it be not clogged. The removal of the impediment, i.e., the entanglement of the parachute shrouds or the clogging of the pen, demands a cause. But the removal of the impediment is not a cause as such of the effect that follows, namely, of the parachute opening or of the pen writing. Scholastics designate the removal of an impediment as a cause per accidens of the effect that is the result of the agent; the air opening the parachute would be the cause per se of the parachute opening.
Although a condition is not strictly a proximate cause, it may provide an absolute requirement that must be met if the cause is to function effectively. When such is the case, the condition is termed a conditio sine qua non. A condition does not influence the effect so much as it influences the action of the agent, either in itself or in the subject. Some examples that will clarify this are presented.
It is a condition for a man to see that his eyelids be open, or that the lens of the eye be not clouded with scar tissue. Neither condition strictly causes man to see; rather they render the act of seeing possible. Again, it is a condition of certain types of food that they be prepared in a special manner to be edible. This condition is not a cause of the food being eaten and digested, but it does make possible such a process. In still another sense, the academic preparation of a student listening to a lecture may influence the extent of his grasp of the lecture. Thus the academic training is a condition for the lecture's being understood in detail.
From what has been said it is evident that when one looks for concrete examples of conditions, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish remote and comparatively insignificant causality from certain types of conditions. For example, the physical and mental condition of an athlete will influence and be a cause of the stamina he shows in sports activity. Ovulation is a necessary condition for conception, yet it also contributes toward that end in the fashion of a cause. Hence, condition, occasion, principle, and cause must be understood in relation to each other.
See Also: efficient causality.
Bibliography: j. m. baldwin, ed., Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, 3 v. in 4 (New York 1901–05; repr. Gloucester 1949–57). l. de raeymaeker, The Philosophy of Being, tr. e. h. ziegelmeyer (St. Louis 1954). b. gerrity, Nature, Knowledge and God (Milwaukee 1947). t. n. harper, The Metaphysics of the School, 3 v. (New York 1879–84; reprint 1940).
[g. f. kreyche]
Expressing conditionThere are various ways of expressing this relationship: (1) By a conditional clause introduced by the conditional subordinating conjunctions if and unless: ‘Don't move if it hurts’, where the prohibition depends on the fulfilment of the condition that it hurts. Other conditional subordinators include as long as, assuming (that), provided (that), providing (that), supposing (that), and (formal) given that. (2) Through the two clauses linked by and or or, where the first clause is generally a directive and the second clause describes the consequence of obeying or disobeying the directive: ‘Have a glass of water and you'll feel better’ (If you have a glass of water, you'll feel better); ‘Don't say anything or you'll be sorry’ (Don't say anything. If you do, you'll be sorry). (3) Through conditional conjuncts such as then and in that case: ‘Don't move, (and) then you won't get hurt’. These conjuncts can also be used as correlatives after subordinators: ‘If I see her tomorrow, then I'll give her your regards.’ (4) Through generic nouns modified by relative clauses: ‘Employers who do not consult their staff cannot expect cooperation from them’ (If employers do not consult their staff, they cannot expect cooperation from them).
Kinds of conditionConditions may be open or hypothetical. Open conditions are neutral: they leave open the question of the fulfilment of the condition. Hypothetical conditions imply that the fulfilment is doubtful or has not taken place. They have a past or past perfect in the conditional clause and a modal (usually would) in the past or past perfect in the main clause: ‘If he had recognized us, he would have spoken to us’ (but he didn't recognize us); ‘If he apologized tomorrow, I would forget the whole thing’ (but the expectation is that he won't apologize). The past subjunctive were is used (as well as the simple past was) in the singular first and third persons of the verb be in hypothetical conditional clauses: ‘If I were a rich man, … (but I am not)’; ‘If your sister were here, … (but she is not)’; ‘If it were to rain, … (but it is unlikely that it will rain).’ In formal style, the relationship may be expressed by bringing the auxiliary or the subjunctive were to the front of the conditional clause and omitting the subordinator: ‘Had it rained, we would have gone to the museum’; ‘Were I your representative, I would protest vigorously’; ‘Should you be interested, I could let you have a ticket.’
A future and uncertain event upon the happening of which certain rights or obligations will be either enlarged, created, or destroyed.
A condition may be either express or implied. An express condition is clearly stated and embodied in specific, definite terms in a
contract, lease, or deed, such as the provision in an installment credit contract that, if the balance is paid before a certain date, the debtor's interest will be reduced.
An implied condition is presumed by law based upon the nature of a particular transaction and what would be reasonable to do if a particular event occurred. If a woman leases a hall for a wedding on a certain date, her ability to use the hall is based on its implied continued existence. If the hall burns down before that date, use of the hall is impossible due to fire; therefore, the law would imply a condition excusing the lessor from liability.
In the law of contracts, as well as estates and conveyancing, conditions precedent and subsequent may exist.
A condition precedent must occur before a right accrues. A woman may convey her house to her son based on the condition that the son marry by the age of twenty-five. If the son fails to marry by that age, he has lost his right to the house. Similarly, in contract law, if an agreement is signed by one party and sent to a second party with the intention that it will not become enforceable until the second party signs it, the second party's signature would be a condition precedent to its effectiveness.
A condition subsequent means that a right may be taken away from someone upon the occurrence of a specified event. An owner of property may convey land to a town on the condition that it be used only for church purposes. If the land conveyed is used to build a shopping mall, then ownership would revert to the original owner.
A condition subsequent may also affect a transaction involving a gift. In many states, an engagement ring is regarded as an inter vivos gift to which no conditions are attached. In some states, however, its ownership is considered to be conditioned upon the subsequent marriage of the couple involved; therefore, if a woman does not marry the man who gave her the engagement ring, ownership reverts to him and she must return it to him.
Concurrent conditions are conditions in the law of contracts that each party to the contract must simultaneously perform.