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Aristotle and Cause.

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Introduction

Aristotle and Cause Some of the questions that Aristotle wanted to answer were to do with the nature of things, their substance. What does it mean for something to exist? What give objects their characteristics? What is it about for example of a table that gives it its table ness and what makes it this table, rather than any other one? For Aristotle the form or something was not some kind of abstract ideal as Plato had believed but was found within the item itself. Its form was its structure and its characteristics, the form of an object can be readily perceived with the senses. Aristotle used the word substance in many different ways making it one of the most difficult concepts but one of the ways he used it was to express the material of which things are made. So the substance of the table is wood, glue and nails, the form of the table is that it has four legs, a flat horizontal surface etc. ...read more.

Middle

For each answer they are given they want to know the reason for this answer and the cause of something can be traced back showing not just one reason but a chain going from the immediate to the final "because it just is" or "because I say so". Aristotle could be seen in four different ways at four different levels the four causes. Cause is the best translation we have of the word, he used "aition" which is a responsible explanatory factor. 1-Firstly there is he material cause. This answers the question, what is it made of. His examples included that the cause of a statue could be the bronze or of a goblet the silver. The material cause of a chair is the wood but this material is not enough on its own to make the object what it is. We could not for example understand a great painting just by knowing which colours of paint had been used and which type of canvas. ...read more.

Conclusion

Aristotle believed that all objects have an ultimate reason for their existence. The final cause of the statue is that the sculptor wants to make a beautiful object for decorative or commemorative reasons he or she set out with a particular aim in their mind. For Aristotle then the essence of an object was not just its material component parts or its particular shape or characteristics it also had a purpose a function to perform. When he studied the world and its objects he did not just ask what is it made from or how can it be classified according to its characteristics but also what is it for what purpose does it serve and why is it here at all. It is this fourth final cause which is the most important and which in Aristotle's view gives the best explanation of an object. The final end or purpose or teleology of a thing when realised gives that thing its full perfection. ...read more.

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