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Analyse Aristotle's Causes (Aitiai)

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Unlike his teacher, Plato 428-347BC, Aristotle 384-322BC did not believe in 'The World Of Forms' and therefore the idea that everything could be measured using it's 'Perfect Form'. Aristotle's ideas were based on what we experience whereas Plato's ideas were based on a world beyond that of what we see. Aristotle wanted to examine what it meant for something to be real, and this is how he formed his ideas of the four causes. His theory was based on knowledge that was acquired through experience He wrote in his book 'Metaphysics' that he believed that everything in this world has four reasons for being and a definite purpose. He said that each thing had four reasons which explained what, why and how they were; these reasons were what he called The Four Causes. The Four Causes are: 1. The Material Cause - what a thing is made of i.e. metal, wood etc., 2. The Efficient Cause - how it came into being, i.e. ...read more.


Aristotle's theory of the Causes is a much more acceptable and comprehensible than Plato's beliefs. For In the book metaphysics, Aristotle examines the concept of substance. He concludes that substance is a combination of matter and form and this is what a thing is made up off. The Form is a things specific and distinguishing characteristics, and matter being the material that the thing is made from. For example the matter of a house is the bricks, timber, etc, or whatever constitutes the potential house, while the form of the house is the actual house. The development from potentiality to actuality provided a basis for the beginning and existence of all things, including the universe. This development of potentiality to actuality is the progression from the idea of something to the idea becoming a reality. In conclusion the matter of a house is its potential and the form is its actuality. Aristotle used his theory of the Four Causes to explain the movement of potentiality to actuality. ...read more.


According to Aristotle's theory using an object for anything other than what it was made for should turn it into something else. However Aristotle's theory is much stronger when compared to Plato's thoughts. Aristotle's theory accounts for us being able to categorize objects, define what they are made from and how they came into existence without having to say "They just are." But Aristotle contradicts himself because according to him, the Prime Mover had no beginning or end and 'is just there'. For Aristotle the final cause was the most important as it contributes the most to explaining the existence of an item, including the universe itself. The final cause is teleological, this means that it is concerned with ultimate end or function, since this what gives an item its ultimate goodness. Aristotle believed that everything had a final cause even if it is not apparent to us straight away. The final cause is seen as the most significant as it explains not only the cause of something but its purpose as well. Although we may not know what it is straight away, everything has a purpose but we are yet to discover the purpose of humanity or the universe. ...read more.

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