Explain Aristotles theory of the Four Causes (25 marks)

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Explain Aristotle’s theory of the Four Causes (25 marks)

Aristotle’s interest in philosophy was to question why things exist in the way that they do- the nature of all things. He rejected Plato’s theory of Forms and instead, he believed that all objects have a particular form but this is not a copy of a Platonic ‘Form’. Unlike Plato, Aristotle also believed that knowledge comes from experiencing the world around us which is available to our senses- empirical. His interests in these areas led to a suggestion that there are four different causes of explanations for why any object exists. These four types are usually referred to as the ‘Four Causes’. These include the material cause, the efficient cause, the formal cause and the final cause. In order to explain the four causes in this essay, I will be using a book as a simple example.

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Firstly Aristotle says that each object has a material cause. The material cause it the physical material or matter that the object is made from. For example, the matter that a book is made from is paper and ink, this is its material cause. In addition to this, Aristotle said that all material has potential for change. So the pages of the book could be written on or some may be ripped out. However it still remains a ‘book’.

The second of Aristotle’s explanations is the efficient cause. The efficient cause is the agent or cause of the thing coming ...

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