Aristotle- The Prime Mover

Revision cards on key aspects of the prime mover and the four causes

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  • Created by: Lucy64
  • Created on: 22-03-13 18:04

The Four Causes

Aristotle believed that everthing has a cause, there are four causes to explain the existence of everything:

1) The Material Cause:    What an object is made from

2) The Efficient Cause:    How an object is made

3) The Formal cause:     The 'design features' 

4) The Final Cause:         The purpose of the object, if it fulfils its purpose then it is perfect

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The Prime Mover

  • Heraclitus, a philosopher once said "You never step into the same river twice". Aristotle developed this idea and agreed that everything was subject to change.
  • This change has to be caused by something
  • Aristotle believed that there was a chain of causes for everything that stretches back to something that starts this chain of motion but remains unmoved 
  • This, Aristotle called The Prime Mover
  • The Prime Mover is what started everything off, it caused all movement and is the first of all substances
  • The Prime mover is the FINAL CAUSE-  it is the purpose that all material things move towards
  • He suggested that the Prime Mover was God
  • The Prime Mover causes movement by being the object of desire and love for the world-it attracts movement
  • The Prime Mover is not a physical form, it is immaterial as it cannot be subject to change
  • The Prime Mover is made of spiritual energy and is TRANSCENDENT from the physical world
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Extra terms to learn

Horizontal Linea Causes: Is the efficient cause that there is no final cause?
                                     This idea supports that of infinite regression.

Vertical Ultimate Causes: Ultimate explanations of why things exist
                                      The prime mover is an example of this, it is unchanging,                                                     immaterial and transcendent. 

Potentiality: The possibility of doing or becoming something.

Actuality: When the potential is achieved.

Aristotle was interested in the movement from potentiality to actuality.

Telos:  'end' or 'purpose'.

Teleological:The final result of a thing or to its purpose

Aristotle's main focus was on the telos of objects, he defiines an object according to its purpose

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