Aristotle's Four Causes and the Prime Mover: Strengths and Weaknesses


Strengths of The Four Causes

  • The four causes are derived from Aristotles relections on his studies of the natural world so many would agree that they are reliable, including many scientists.
  • They can be applied to things which already exist, the material cause can be tested and confirmed i.e. the chair is made from wood. The formal cause is also very easy to prove - the structure of something can be seen, it can be tested. The efficient cause is confusing as there can be several causes for an object amd the final cause is obvious in some cases but less in others.
  • The fact that there are anomalies do not disprove this argument. There is no evidence that is not true and doesn't overule any theories like God or the Big Bang, so it does not have much opposition.

Weaknesses of The Four Causes

  • The four causes rely on experience. Plato argued that experience was unreliable as it changes from person to person - we cannot be sure that chairs


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