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Aristotles final cause

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Explain what Aristotle meant by the final cause. The 'final cause', the most important aspect of Aristotle's theory, is the theory that all objects have an ultimate reason for there existence, an ultimate purpose, ends, or goal. For example, the final cause for a statue is that the sculptor wants to create a beautiful object for decorative or memorial reasons. The final cause is the most important as the material, efficient and formal causes would be pointless under logical without a final cause. When we do something it is for a reason. Causes of all four sorts are necessary elements in any adequate account of the existence and nature of the thing, Aristotle believed, since the absence or modification of any one of them would result it the existence of a thing of some different sort. No matter how intriguing the object is if it does not answer to the question what is it for? then your interest will fade. ...read more.


What are its characteristics (For example, a table has four legs and a flat surface on the top - it belongs to the "furniture" group) -Final: the purpose of the object. What is it for? (For example, A table is a useful surface to put things on) This theory argues that the Prime Mover (for Aristotle) or God (for Aquinas/Christians) is the final cause of the universe. Aristotle believed that all movement (by which he meant change) requires a mover (a 'changer'). If A changes (and everything in the world does change), then it must have been changed by B. Aristotle argued that this chain must eventually lead to something that causes change but is itself unchanged or unmoved. Aristotle did not just mean that something must have started the chain in time. He believed that there was a kind of change that was 'outside time' or eternal. ...read more.


It makes sense to say that man-made things have a final cause (purpose) e.g. the final cause of an axe is to chop. But how do we establish the final cause/purpose of natural (non-artificial) things (e.g. suns, trees, people)? And it's an untrue statement that we will loose interest if things don't have a purpose. Why does there have to be a beginning to a connecting chain? Couldn't the existence of events be compatible with no beginning? Some critics maintain that Aristotle's Unmoved/Prime Mover is incoherent. His argument seems to depend on the idea that nothing can cause itself but then contradicts itself by saying that 'God' does exactly what it just claimed was impossible. On the other hand, most things in this universe do have a purpose, and it would be a fair statement saying such a thing. It is a believable theory that with scientific evidence could easily be an accepted statement. But in modern times, without sufficient evidence people are reluctant to believe in pretty much anything. ...read more.

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