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Explain Aristotle's idea of the four causes.

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Introduction

Explain Aristotle's idea of the four causes. Aristotle explained that things could be seen in four different ways. He named these the four causes. These were the material, formal, efficient and the final cause. "Aition" is the nearest translation for the word cause, which means a responsible explanatory factor. The material cause, this answers the question what is it made of? One example could be a clay pot, this is made from clay. But Aristotle argued that the material is not enough on it's own to make it what it is. ...read more.

Middle

The efficient cause is the thing that happens to bring about certain results. For instance in my example of a clay pot it would be the person who gas made the clay pot, the act of the person forming the shape of their clay pot. This is the cause that brings the substance of the object into a particular form. In the efficient cause "potentiality" is turned into "actuality" the person sees the potentiality of the clay and actualises it by making it into a clay pot. The efficient cause connects the material cause to the formal cause. ...read more.

Conclusion

The question to ask when discussing the final cause is, what is it for? Aristotle also said that the final cause for everything in the universe is the "prime mover" or the "first cause". Aristotle argued that man's ultimate purpose is to love and desire God, the prime mover. The prime mover was explained as being unmoved and separate; he was eternal and a passive being. "There must be a mover which moves them without being moved eternal and a substance and actual." For this reason Aristotle thought God to be a Deistic God. Aristotle came to the conclusion that everything in the universe was attracted to the prime mover. Kirsty Densham 12.5 ...read more.

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