Aristotle - Simpled Up

A simple version of the ramblings of the OCR AS & A2 Philosophy of Religion book on Aristotle.

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  • Created on: 10-05-12 19:32
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Aristotle
The four causes...
Material cause ­ the matter/substance something is made of. A book is made out of paper.
Formal cause ­ what gives it its form. A book is paper put together in a certain way.
Efficient cause ­ what caused it to come into existence. A book is written and then printed.
Final cause ­ reason why it is the way it is. A book is made to be read.
Plato and Aristotle
Aristotle appreciated the teachings given to him by Plato but rejected the world of the Forms; it was
not explained properly and Aristotle tended to focus on the physical world that has empirical
evidence as shown by his four causes, based on observations he made on the physical world.
The Prime Mover
For Aristotle the Prime Mover is the final cause of everything. He came to this conclusion by...
Observing that everything is in a permanent state of motion, `motion' meaning change.
Change is always caused by something.
Everything in physical world is in a state of both actuality and potentiality. For example, a cup
of hot water is actually hot but it has the potential to be cold also.
From this he concluded the something that causes all the motion/change must be eternal and
unmoved. He called it the Prime Mover.
The eternity of the Prime Mover was concluded as the saw the planets were in motion
eternally so the cause of their motion must be eternal too.
He then went on to describe the Prime Mover...
The Prime Mover's existence is necessary, it cannot fail to exist.
It is incapable of change as it is pure actuality with no potential to change therefore its nature
is good. Immutable.
Lack of goodness means you can improve, meaning you can change, but the Prime Mover
cannot.
Something with pure actuality is not lacking a quality it should have ­ it is purely good.
He also claimed the PM is responsible for love; we should look at love at both actions and
attraction.
The PM is unmoved as it acts as a magnet with all actions directed towards it in a state of
attraction therefore causing all the actions.
For Aristotle the PM is God ­ God is pure actuality.
The PM is divine simplicity.
He saw the PM as both the leader and order within the universe.
Aristotle's God (the PM) is impersonal and does not act in the world but it is eternal and
transcendent.
Issues
Relationship between the PM and universe is unclear. Cannot be completely like God as God
is said to act in the world and people experience Him
Doesn't have to be a final cause, could just be here with no real cause or purpose.

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