Aristotle and Philosophy of Religion

'All Men Desire to know'-Metaphysics (beyond the physical world)

Aristotle had a desire to explain why things exist. Aristotle did not believe in a higher world of forms yet believed that everything was constituted for a reason. These are the 'FOUR CAUSES'

MATERIAL CAUSE: Whatever an object is physically made from eg. a book is made of several pieces of paper put together

FORMAL CAUSE: What makes this thing what it is

EFFICIENT CAUSE: Why does an object exist. Eg. a book exists because someone wrote it then bound it together. Therefore there is an author.

FINAL CAUSE: The ultimate reason for why this object exists. The final cause is teleological ('telos' meaning its end')-what is its long term reason for existance. An ultimate reason for its existence.

For example: a marble statue:

Its Material cause: marble

Efficient cause: the artist

Formal cause:by the artist chizzeling it

Final cause: For the purpouse of entertainment. To look beautiful.

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Causes-Aristotle

'All Men Desire to know'-Metaphysics (beyond the physical world)

Aristotle had a desire to explain why things exist. Aristotle did not believe in a higher world of forms yet believed that everything was constituted for a reason. These are the 'FOUR CAUSES'

MATERIAL CAUSE: Whatever an object is physically made from eg. a book is made of several pieces of paper put together

FORMAL CAUSE: What makes this thing what it is

EFFICIENT CAUSE: Why does an object exist. Eg. a book exists because someone wrote it then bound it together. Therefore there is an author.

FINAL CAUSE: The ultimate reason for why this object exists. The final cause is teleological ('telos' meaning its end')-what is its long term reason for existance. An ultimate reason for its existence.

For example: a marble statue:

Its Material cause: marble

Efficient cause: the artist

Formal cause:by the artist chizzeling it

Final cause: For the purpouse of entertainment. To look beautiful.

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Aristotle belief about Plato

Aristotle and Plato:

Aristotle was taught by Plato and they share many of the same interests. Yet Aristotle believed in the physical world rather then 'the transcendent world of forms'. Plato empphasised the world of ideas and the source of knowledge and Aristotle the physical world which we experience and can base our ideas on. This is exemplified by Raphaels school of Athens painting.

1)Emphasises value of studying physical world. His views were EMPIRICAL (claims must be supported by evidence)

2) Aristotle rejected Plato's theory of Forms-the relation between forms cannot be explained

3)Rejects dualist view of world and soul as Plato did  

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Prime mover

PRIME MOVER: Aristotle believed that everything was in a permanent state of motion. 'MOTUS' meaning change, for example the weather is infinately changing. 

-Physical world in constante state of motion and change

-Planets are moving eternally. 

-Change or motion is always caused by something

-Objects in the physical world are in a state of ACTUALITY AND POTENTIALITY

Therefore there must be something which causes this motion yet without changeing or moving itself. THE UNMOVED MOVER

If something is capable of change, it must be put in this state by something else. 

Everything is in a state of actuality to potentiality eg. a child to adult

He therefore asks himself what the continual cuase of this change is. 

When looking at the planets they are eternally moving yet, there must be an eternal cause of this motion- THE UNCAUSED CAUSER- THE PRIME MOVER

!!!! THE PRIME MOVER -is NOT like a person that sets of a domino effect but rather -IS THE ORIGINAL CAUSE OF ALL MOTION ETERNALLY THAT SUSTAINS THE PATTER OF CHANGE from actuality of potentiality. He sustains, not causes

An unchangeing cause of all that exists

Characteristics of PRIME MOVER:

Exists by NECCESITY-could not fail to exist

Is not capable of change and is PURE ACTUALITY his nature is hence GOOD (a lack of goodness suggests that you could do better, meaning you can CHANGE)

The prime mover is the Final Cause of all existence. Like a magnet the Final cause leads to actions such as being loved. All change is moving towards the prime mover and is simultaniously the cause. 

This is God, as he explains in Metphysics.

His characteriscs are without parts and invisible-this i shis DEVINE SIMPLICITY. He is pure actuality and no potentiality  and hence 'COMPLETE REALITY

Aristotle rejected the idea that God is like a person who sleeps but rather suggested that God's activity was thinking and thought 'THEREFORE IT MUST BE OF ITSELF THAT THE DIVINE THOUGHT THINGS (since it is the most excellent of things'

How he relates God to the universe: 1) as a leader 2) In the order of the universe

Aristotle argues the first is more important as it shows everything is moving towards a telos or 'FINAL CAUSE', which is God or the Prime Mover. God does not interact but is simply ETERNAL TRANSCENDENT and IMPERSONAL. 


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Issues of Aristotle's ideas

Prime Mover-

The relationship between the prime mover and his caused universe is unclear. If he claims that the Prime Mover is like God, this is false as in common religious belief or Christianity, it is believed that God is can interact with the world. Religious experiences such as Jesus would also not make sense. The prime mover cannot be God.

Thinking about Thinking-

The casual relationship between the prime mover thinking and the universe is unclear.

Final Cause-

Many would say that there is no evidence for a final cause and that all motion is moving towards a 'telos'. These laws may be applicable through our perception of the laws of science etc, yet must not apply to a larger scale. Also does not explain why things were created for a reason! 

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Summary

Aristotles four causes:

Material cause: what it is made of 

Efficient cause: what made it

Formal: what makes it the way it is

Final cause: what is its telos, what is it moving towards 

Aristotles philosophy different to Platos:

Belief in the studying the physical world 

Rejects Plato's forms 

Rejects dualism and Plato's understanding of the soul

Prime mover:

An unmoved mover

An uncaused causer

The efficient cause and final cause

Relates to God

Neccesary being, devine simplicity and complete actuality (perfectly good)

Prime mover relation to universe

1) As a leader  2) In structure of universe 

Problems:

Does not agree with Christian belief about God

Does not explain the Prime mover/God's relation to thinking about the universe

Does not explain the Prime movers relation to the universe in general

Final cause does not explain why there must be a final cause and how it came about

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