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Aristotle recognized that everything is in a state of flux. He argued that behind every movement there must be a chain of events that brought the movement that we see taking place. He argued that it must lead to something that moves everything else but is unmoved itself. He believed that the prime mover attracted things towards their purpose.

The four causes:

  • Material cause - what a thing is made of. What material is it made of?
  • Formal cause - What shape or features identify it? What is the origional blueprint?
  • Effecient cause - Who made it? What process lead to it being made?
  • Final cause - What is it's purpose? what is it for? Where is it heading?

The Prime Mover:

Something indifferent to the universe that creates motion by drawing all things to himself as an ultimate final cause.

What is the connection between the final cause and the prime mover?

The final cause is the purpose of the object. The prime mover is what brings the object to it's purpose. For Aristotle someone who reaches their purpose is a good purpose. Even non-human things have a purpose. Trees, leaves, animals and stones all exist for a purpose and are all affected by the Prime Mover.

How does Aristotle's theory of formal cause differ from Plato's theory of the forms?

All the forms come from the Form of the good, where as the Prime Mover is a stand alone, concious concept. It is not known if the Form of the Good has any conciousness. The forms are derived from a world that is permanent and where nothing changes but the Prime Mover comes from a state of flux. However they are both trying to explain why…


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