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A.) Aristotles Theory Of The Four Causes B.) “Aristotle’s Theory Of The Four Causes Is Convincing” Discuss

1432 words - 6 pages

a.)  Aristotle’s Theory of The Four Causes.

Aristotle argues for and explains the four causes in his books ‘Physics’ and ‘Metaphysics’. He claims that there are only four causes (or explanations) needed to give evidence for change in the world. A complete explanation of the change of any object will use all four causes. These causes are; material, formal, efficient and final. Aristotle understood that each of the four causes was necessary to explain the change from potentiality to actuality.
The material cause is the substance of which something is made out of; "That from which, as a constituent, an object comes into being." The human bodies ‘material causes’ are cells, ...view middle of the document...

” (Aristotle: physics) Aristotle believed that ‘form’ was not an ideal, but found within the item itself. The form is somethings structure and characteristics. It can be perceived using the senses. The formal cause can also be divided into two: formal cause and exemplary cause. The formal cause is as seen above, and the exemplary cause is described by Aristotle as ‘logos’: the example Aristotle gives is: the idea of the bronze statue as present in an artist's head, the essence of it, before it comes into existence.
Aristotle thought that the efficient cause was “the source of the primary principle of change or stability,”, the activity that makes something happen. To continue Aristotle’s bronze sculpture idea, the efficient cause was the way in which the bronze was moved from its state of potentiality (its exemplary state) to becoming the bronze statue (its state of actuality). The efficient cause is the point at which the object is changed from potentiality to actuality. If a ball knocked over the bronze statue, then the ball is the efficient cause of the statue falling over. The ball is what moved the statue from a state of potentially falling over, to its state having actually fallen over. Every change is caused by an efficient cause: the efficient cause is what brings about a change in something. At this point in the change of causes; we have reached actuality of the material cause, which has been changed by the efficient cause and into the formal cause of the object. Efficient cause answers the question “what did that?”, but does not answer how.

Aristotle thought the final cause was “something’s end (telos)—i.e., what it is for—is its cause, as health is of walking.” Going along with his analogy, Aristotle says we walk in order to maintain our health; health is the final cause of walking. We may ask, why do rocks fall? Aristotle said that rocks fall because they are heavy. This points out the final cause of efficient causes. To ask for the final cause of formal causes is to question why these things exist at all. Why do human beings exist? Aristotle says that they exist to reproduce and maintain the population, this is their final cause. They also exist to be happy because they are rational. Aristotle introduces ‘telos’ whilst writing about the final cause, which means somethings end, or purpose. Yet his theory does not end there. Aristotle also believed that once something had reached a state of actuality, it can always change back to potentiality. He thought that the universe was constantly moving between potentiality and actuality. For example, if a muddy shirt actually becomes clean, it still has the potential to become muddy again. However, this theory meant that Aristotle had to explain further, because in order for it to work , he had to explain everything in the universe, and the universe itself.

This lead Aristotle to conclude that the Prime Mover was the efficient and final cause of the universe. In...

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