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Explain what Aristotle meant by the 'final cause'.

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Introduction

A) 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. Moreover, an explanation that includes all four causes completely captures the significance and reality of the thing itself. ...read more.

Middle

And since the movement in question is eternal, its final cause must be eternal. So there must be an eternal cause of all movement. This is called the 'Prime mover'. Finally, Aristotle believed the Prime Mover must have been immaterial; it could not be created as matter is able to be acted upon, it has potential to change. As it is immaterial it cannot perform any kind of physical action. Therefore Aristotle believed the activity of the prime mover, God, must be purely spiritual and intellectual. The final cause is the reason something, or someone exists. b) 'Aristotle was wrong to imagine that everything has a purpose' Discuss. We cannot actually say if Aristotle was accurate in his theory or not as we do not know, however there is evidence to support the idea that everything has a purpose. For example, if we all believed we have no purpose then we may as well just never exist. ...read more.

Conclusion

We would still need a purpose to have a reason to exist. The French writer Albert Camus, for example, described the universe as 'absurd', and Sartre said that is was 'gratuitous'; they thought it was ridiculous to believe the universe had a purpose. I believe we have a purpose on earth, although we do not know our purpose it will be revealed when we die. If we have fulfilled that purpose we will find out then. It is possible that everything happened by chance, but it is not likely. What is the chance that humans came to be on the earth instead of any of the other billions of planets? The chance the earth would be the correct distance from the sun, having the correct amount of oxygen and plant life for us to live. We could argue this has occurred through evolution although there is more evidence we were put here. Therefore the earth must have a purpose, which is to allow humans to live. ...read more.

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