Aristotle's Final Cause

Better Essays
Topics: Causality, Aristotle
1) Analyse and comment on Physics 194b18-195a3:
“Knowledge is the object of our inquiry, and men do not think they know a thing till they have grasped the 'why' of (which is to grasp its primary cause). So clearly we too must do this as regards both coming to be and passing away and every kind of physical change, in order that, knowing their principles, we may try to refer to these principles each of our problems.
In one sense, then, (1) that out of which a thing comes to be and which persists, is called 'cause', e.g. the bronze of the statue, the silver of the bowl, and the genera of which the bronze and the silver are species.
In another sense (2) the form or the archetype, i.e. the statement of the essence, and its genera, are called 'causes' (e.g. of the octave the relation of 2:1, and generally number), and the parts in the definition.
Again (3) the primary source of the change or coming to rest; e.g. the man who gave advice is a cause, the father is cause of the child, and generally what makes of what is made and what causes change of what is changed.
Again (4) in the sense of end or 'that for the sake of which' a thing is done, e.g. health is the cause of walking about. ('Why is he walking about?' we say. 'To be healthy', and, having said that, we think we have assigned the cause.) The same is true also of all the intermediate steps which are brought about through the action of something else as means towards the end, e.g. reduction of flesh, purging, drugs, or surgical instruments are means towards health. All these things are 'for the sake of' the end, though they differ from one another in that some are activities, others instruments. This then perhaps exhausts the number of ways in which the term 'cause' is used.”

In this essay I will begin by extracting the arguments from the extract, outlining Aristotle’s explanation of the four ‘causes’ and arguing why Aristotle has reasons for believing this. In order to achieve a considered and

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Aristotle's Final Cause

    • 418 Words
    • 2 Pages

    What philosophical issues arise around aristotles final cause when applied to human beings? The final cause according to Aristotle is the purpose for an object, for example, the final purpose of a chair would be to sit. This is a straightforward principle when applied to man made objects, because they all have an obvious creator and that creator makes them for a purpose. Aristotle also said that the final cause could be applied to natural things, like trees, animals and humans. This is where…

    • 418 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Aristotle's Four Causes

    • 1072 Words
    • 5 Pages

    four causes and in order for humanity to understand the world we needed to use them. The four causes are Aristotle’s way of explaining the existence of an object, with the ‘final cause’ being the most important aspect of his theory as it gave the best explanation of an object. The final cause is the theory that all objects have an ultimate purpose for their existence, an important part of what it is. The route to the final cause is as follows, the first cause…

    • 1072 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Aristotle's Four Causes

    • 296 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Aristotle notices how everything changes in the universe and he questioned the existence of things/ object. He developed the four causes which allowed him and others to have a more accurate understanding: Material cause, Efficient cause, Formal cause and the Final cause. Firstly the Material cause is the first cause. It is the understanding of what an object is, by looking at the materials/ components the thing is made from. For example, a table. A table’s material(s) can be wood, metal, plastic…

    • 296 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    when all its causes of existence are understood. So he explored how things come into existence and tried to analyse how we identify objects. He realized that the human brain automatically categorizes everything based on its matter, shape, creator and purpose, in order to identify its common name. Aristotle developed this idea further and proposed the theory of the four causes; which explain why a thing exists as it does. He called these the material, formal, efficient and final causes. The…

    • 788 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    a) Explain Aristotle’s theory of four causes (25 marks) Aristotle’s interest in explaining why things exist as they do led to his theory of Four Causes. He rejected Plato’s theory of Forms and was more intrigued by the particular form in which an object took, as opposed to the ‘ideal, perfect’ form. The four causes are: the material cause, the formal cause, the efficient cause and the final cause. The material cause refers to the physical cause of an object. It occurs because of the parts,…

    • 920 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    a) Explain Aristotle’s understanding of the four causes. Unlike his teacher, Plato, Aristotle believed that the world could be explained by physical observation. This approach of using the five senses, cataloguing and categorising, is the foundation of scientific study. The approach is known as empiricism. Plato believed that we needed to look beyond the physical for an explanation of the universe in the guise of the World of Forms. Aristotle disagreed with this. Aristotle’s understanding of…

    • 683 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Aristotle's Beliefs

    • 676 Words
    • 3 Pages

    knowledge of principles and causes. In his Physics and Metaphysics Aristotle discussed the material and formal causes Plato used and also the efficient and final causes. The material cause explains what something is made of (out of which), the formal cause how it is made (into which), the efficient cause who made it (by which), and the final cause why it is made (for which purpose). For Aristotle the final cause or purpose of anything analyzes the metaphysical cause which is studied in teleology…

    • 676 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Aristotle's Poetics

    • 683 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Aristotle's Poetics is not one of his major works, although it has exercised a great deal of influence upon subsequent literary studies and criticism. In this work Aristotle outlines and discusses many basic elements that an author should adhere to in order to write a great tragedies and/or poetry. Two important topics that Aristotle addresses and believes to be crucial to the art work is the mimesis, or imitation of life, and that the audience has an emotional response from the work of art, or…

    • 683 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Aristotle's friendship

    • 1257 Words
    • 4 Pages

    the value of friendship as “Rare as is true love, true friendship is rarer”. Friendships in the modern world vary from those in the past due to changes in social constructs and norms, advancements in technology, and shifts in human nature. In Aristotle’s Nicomachean ethics he explains his ideas of how there are three different types of friendships and how each one interacts with one another. The first being the friendship of utility as explained by a friend that his or hers sole purpose is to trade…

    • 1257 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Aristotle's Friendship

    • 425 Words
    • 2 Pages

    In Aristotle's writing, he lists three different types of friendship. The number of the different kinds of friendship is equivalent to the three distinct things that a person can enjoy. The three types of friendship are pleasureful friends, useful friends, and perfect friends. The first kind of friend, the pleasureful, is usually pursued by young people. That sort of friend is one who seeks thrills and may like to party, get drunk, or do drugs. Or he could be pleasureful in other ways, like participating…

    • 425 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays