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Describe Aristotle's teaching about the differences between the final cause and other sorts of causes.

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Introduction

a) Describe Aristotle's teaching about the differences between the final cause and other sorts of causes (33). Aristotle had different idea's, about philosophical knowledge and how we acquire it, to Plato. Aristotle came up with the theory of causality. He believed there was a relationship between cause and effect. He thought each thing or event has more than one "reason" that helps to explain what, why, where and how it is. Aristotle distinguished four causes. These four causes were the material cause, the efficient cause, the formal cause and the final cause. The final cause is, in Aristotle's opinion, the most important cause of all. This cause is what and object or some type of "thing" was designed to do or be. ...read more.

Middle

The material cause of a statue is the bronze, the efficient cause of a statue is the person chiselling away, the formal cause of the statue are the characteristics of a statue and ultimately the final cause of the statue is that the sculptor wants to make a beautiful object for ornamental or dedicatory reasons. The "thing" that set out with a particular aim in mind brings about the final cause. Aristotle believed that everything has an ultimate reason for their existence and the final cause is this definitive reason. Since this is true, the final cause is so much different to the other causes. Aristotle believes that the final cause gives the best explanation of an object. ...read more.

Conclusion

Take a house; the final cause of a house would be to provide shelter for human beings. This is part of the explanation of a house's existence because it would never have been built unless someone needed a place to live. Another example to show the difference between the final cause and the three causes before that is that of a young lion. The material cause is the tissues and organs, the efficient cause is its parents who generated it, the formal cause is it's species-a lion and it's final, most important (according to Aristotle) cause is it's certain force towards becoming an older lion. The different causes relate in a way to all our senses. This seems reasonable considering Aristotle thinks we can only have true knowledge through this world because it is through our experience that we come to understand things. Monday 20th October 2003 Emma Ward 1 ...read more.

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