Explain Aristotle’s Concept of Causality

Topics: Causality, Aristotle, Question Pages: 2 (920 words) Published: January 11, 2011
Aristotle essay
A. Explain Aristotle’s concept of causality.
Aristotle completely disagreed with some parts of Plato’s theories, despite the fact he was his teacher. He respectfully made it known that he had identified four causes that explain why or why not an object or living being exists. They were known as Aristotle’s four causes which included; the material cause, the formal cause, the efficient cause and the final cause. The material cause is very basic and asks the question: what is the object made of? What material? The formal cause asks what give the material its structure. For example, my bookcase has to be set up a certain way in order for it to stay in place and hold my books. If it didn’t hold my books, it wouldn’t be a bookcase. The efficient cause asks why the thing or object exists, why is it here? Who brought it here? A good example of this is you and me. Why are we here? We are here because of our parents. However this led Aristotle to ask who made you parents and who made their parents and so on and so forth. Is there such a thing as infinite regression? Perhaps there is however it is unknown to us. Finally we come to the last cause called the final cause which asks what its purpose is. What is the purpose of the bookcase in my bedroom? Simply, to hold my books. By constantly asking “what is the purpose of this object?” you end up asking more questions, which will then lead onto more complicated questions which will again, go onto infinite regression. A constant cycle of questions is asked and yes although we can answer the pretty basic ones, we then find ourselves asking harder ones for example: Is there a God? The final cause is heavily linked with the teleological argument. Aristotle simply explains that causality in basic terms is cause and effect. Every living being and object is the effect from a cause. For example I am the effect from my parent’s conception, they are the cause for my existence. You must have a cause for your...
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