• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain what Aristotle meant by the 'final cause'.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Explain what Aristotle meant by the 'final cause'. What causes change and motion? Plato denied the reality of change. It was a quality only of the visible world, of which we could have no certain knowledge. But Aristotle, gradually breaking away from the philosophy of his beloved teacher, came to think that change was real and had to be explained. To explain how a thing comes to be as it is Aristotle developed his theory of the Four Causes The translation of "cause" is misleading, but traditional. The closest meaning to that word would be "explanatory factor". The "four causes" provide answers to four questions one might ask about something, for example, a man: "What is it made from?" "Flesh and so on" (material cause - material is not enough however on its own to make the object whatever it is. Material is necessary but it does not give us the whole answer. ) "What is its form or essence?" "A two-legged creature capable of reason" (formal cause - this is the characteristics that make the object fit into whatever category it fits into. ...read more.

Middle

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 fial end, or the purpose, or teleology of a thing, when realized gives that thing its full perfection and reality. The function of a light bulb is the power to give out light. If it should lose this ability and if this could not be restored, then it will no longer be a light bulb. When something is doing what it is meant to, or has developed into whatever it was supposed to develop into, it ahs achieved its goodness. The purpose of the object for Aristotle is part of the object itself, and not something which we might choose or impose on it - it is intrinsic. "Aristotle was wrong to imagine that everything has a purpose." All the different elements of nature have a purpose, according to Aristotle, and nothing is excessive (superfluous). He considers that everything acts or is actualized for an end or a purpose - this is its telos - and this is in some sense its cause. ...read more.

Conclusion

So, there is purpose in things that come to be and exist by nature. Also mistakes do occur. The literate man will write incorrectly, the doctor will give the wrong dose; so it is clearly possible, too, for mistakes to happen in things that are in accordance with nature and Aristotle didn't deny that. He tried to show that like man nature was not always perfect. There would be "monsters". I think that Aristotle was right and that everything does have a purpose but mistakes do happen. The most common argument that is usually brought forward is that what is the purpose of evil? The answer however is very simple if there was no evil how would we know what good is? There are also things in the universe that at this moment you would not know the purpose for like centuries before us people didn't know what trees were for, but now we know that they are essential as they provide us with oxygen. We obviously don't have the answer for everything but in the future we probably would be able to find a purpose for most things even insects that you really think are useless. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Existence of God section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Existence of God essays

  1. Explain What Is Meant By Natural Law

    Aristotle believed Precepts. Survival is one of five Primary Precepts, along with Educate, Reproduce, Ordered Society and Worship, and these are Absolute, and cannot be broken. Rules that derive from these Precepts would be do not kill, obey the rules of the society etc.

  2. Aristotle believed that everything has a cause. He saw four different explanations for ...

    The sculptor is the Efficient Cause of the statue and he is the means by which the statue comes into being. The prime mover is not the Efficient cause of the change, rather the Prime Mover is the purpose or reason for motion.

  1. Good and Evil

    The wind grew ever more vicious and violent. The lights went out, and the water stopped running. Seven times in three hours, people felt the air pressure change and heard that distinctive rumble, like the pounding of a freight train, as funnel clouds lashed out of the sky.

  2. Explain What is Meant By Relativism

    It began with the Greeks having a certain way of living and attitudes, believing heroism is one of the top forms of good.

  1. Describe Aristotle's teaching about the difference between the final cause and other sorts of ...

    Aristotle defines the formal cause of a statue as being the shape it possesses, which makes it recognisable as a statue. This leads us onto the fourth and "final" cause. The "final cause" is the ultimate reason why a thing exists in the first place, when it might never have existed at all.

  2. Explain the Ontological argument.

    What are Freud's main views on religion and its relation to psychology? The majority of arguments rely upon the premise that God can be proved through logical or empirical means. The psychological view of religion is very different, and that the God worshipped by believers is a construct of the human mind.

  1. T H E D E S I G N A R ...

    However what science and evolution CAN explain is the mechanisms which bring about states of affairs - for instance a female digger wasp lays her larvae in the live body of a caterpillar, grass hopper or bee and ensures that its tendrils go into the nerve endings of the prey to keep it alive while it is eaten from within.

  2. You are a journalist working for the Sunday Times newspaper. Your editor has asked ...

    But all this had only explained how the earth was created. I asked them how where humans created. They all looked blank and slightly bemused, until one of them piped up and said "evolution". The theory of evolution was another theory that appealed to scientists and all around me heads

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work