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Aristotle- The 4 causes

Who? Ancient Greek Philospher. Was the 1st EMPIRCIST: Used observation via senses as a route to knowledge. Arguement regarding the Prime Mover is still used as an argurment for God's existence. MATERIALIST: Believes only the body and this current life

What? THE FOUR CAUSES: Aristole was trying to explain the world around him. Looked at the world around him and asked, what causes something to be as it is? Conculded: 4 different causes to explain everything in the world

1. Material cause: What's it made of?

2. Efficient cause: How does it happen? (The actualising of potential) 

3. Formal cause: What are it's charactersitics?

4. Final cause: What is it for?  

Final cause& Goodness- Most important aspect of his thinking- Objects have ultimate reason for their existence. The "teleology" of a thing, when realised, gives tht thing its full perfection& reality. When something is doing what it is meant to- has achieved goodness

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Aristotle- Potentiality& Actuality and Plato& Ari

POTENTIALITY: When something contains the ingrediants to become something else. 

ACTUALITY: When the object fufuils its potential and becomes something else.

  • Physical world is constatntly in "motion" and "change"
  • Planets seem to be moving eternally
  • Change or motion is always caused by something
  • Objects in the world are in a sate of potentiality/ actuality

Conclution: There exists something that causes the change without being moved-PM. Aristotle argued that all different elements of nature have a purpose- We might not know what a thing is for, but it still has its own intrinsic purpose

Aristole- Everything which exists has a final cause: Philosopher- Nietzsche= Argued that there is no meaning to anything (Nihilism)  Writer- Albert Camus= Described the universe as "asburd"(Existentialist-  We needed to find out our own purpose for ourselves) 

Plato& Aristotle- Aristotle emphaises value of studying physical world- Empirical study. Rejects Plato's theroy of Forms& Dualism- He's a Materialist- Believes only the body& current life

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Aristotle- Prime Mover

There was 2 causes that bothered Aristotle: "What causes the different objects in the universe to actualise their potential?" "What is the purpose of the universe as a whole" - Efficent &Final   Thought there must be an efficient cause, to make all this change& motion happen- "The series must start with something,since nothing can come from nothing"

PM- Something that causes the motion& change of the universe without being moved

  • Does not depend on anything else for his existence, exists by necessity (No potentiality-No movement)
  • Something which is eternal must necessarily be good, is perfectly good (PM is pure actuality)
  • Is immterial& beyond time and space -Trancendent, its activity is purely spiritual & interlection
  • PM cannot change, he cannot have a body
  • Is a form of intelligence, PM's activity is thought 

Evaulation- 1. 4 causes rely on experiance- Plato- unreliable 2.Existentialism-Things have no purpose other than we prescribe, "Universe is a brute fact"-Russel 3.Not sucessfully explained how a God "thinking" could cause movement- Cat and milk analogy (Fr Gerry Hughes)= Uses 2 physical objects to explain the relationship betwen the physical & spiritual

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