Aristotle- Four Causes & Prime Mover

Quick revision cards for Aristotle's Four Causes and the Prime Mover. 

  • Created by: Soka12
  • Created on: 02-04-14 16:02

Material Cause

Matter or substance that something is made from.

e.g. a book is made from paper. 

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Formal Cause

What gives the matter its 'form'.

A book is not just a simple piece of paper it is pieces of paper arranged in a particular way.

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Efficient Cause

Why something exists.

A book exists because someone wrote it and printed it. 

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Final Cause

Reason why something is the way it is.

Function of a thing or object- a book is laid out in the way it is to be readable. 

The final cause is Teleological. (Concerned with the function)

The Telos (The purpose of something) is the ultimate reason why the thing is as it is. 

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Prime Mover (PM) Card 1

Everything that exists is in a permanent state of motion.

Empirical- supported by sensory evidence.

Universe is in a state of change. 

Aristotle observed 4 things:

-Physical world is in a constant state of motion & change

-Planets seem to move eternally

-Change or motion is caused by something

-Objects in the physical world in a state of actuality and potentiality. 

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PM Card 2

Exists something that causes motion and change without being moved or changed itself- it's eternal. 

A cow has the potential to become roast beef.

If things come into existence they must be caused by something else. 

Motion of planets seems to be eternal.

If they are eternally moving there must be a eternal cause- the Prime Mover. 

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Characteristics of the Prime Mover

Exists by necessity- could not fail to exist. 

Not capable of change- pure actuality by nature.

Prime Mover is the Final Cause- ultimate reason and final goal of all movement. 

All action is ultimately aimed at the Prime Mover.

'a living being, eternal, most good [...] for this is God'- Metaphysics- Aristotle

God is the Prime Mover- indivisible.

God reflects only on being God- does not change. 

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Prime Mover- relationship between Prime Mover & universe unclear. Trascendental and cannot interact with the universe. No sense can be made of religious experience claims.

Thinking- relationship between the Prime Mover thinking and the universe is unclear.

Final Cause- What exists can be explained by the laws of science and chance. Does not answer any questions about the laws of the universe.

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