Aristotle's four causes

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  • Aristotle's four causes
    • Aristotle's interest was to explain why things exist in the way they do.
    • He rejects the idea that things which exist in some way participate in or imitate an ideal Form of an object as Plato suggested.
    • The Four Causes: Aristotle identified four causes to explain why a thing or an object exists in the way it does.
      • The Material cause: What something is made of.
      • The Efficient cause: The cause of the thing coming into existence.
      • The formal cause: What makes the thing recognisable (structure/shape)
      • The final cause: There are ultimate reasons why the thing exists.
        • This cause is concerned with why the reason why something is the way it is.
          • The final causes is teleological
            • The word "teleological" originates from the Greek work "telos." "Telos," refers to the final goal or purpose of something.
              • So any argument that is teleological is concerned with making points about either a goal or purpose of something.
            • Aristotle is not saying that there is design or purpose in nature.
              • He is saying that when you consider any object or think it has some function which is the which is the ultimate reason why this thing exists.
                • Aristotle's marble statue example.
                  • Material cause: It's made of marble.
                  • Formal cause: It has the shape of a statue.
                  • Efficient cause: A mason made it.
                  • Final Cause: It's function is to be a beautiful statue that honours/remembers or recalls something.


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