Aristotle's Four Causes. Aristotle held that any contingent event (particularly a material event) was explainable in principle. That is, for Aristotle there are no. Aristotle developed his account of the four causes from his analysis of change. (Click here for a summary of this analysis of change). Material. ABSTRACT. Aristotle's typical procedure is to identify four causes of natural changes. Intentional action, a natural change, has standardly been.


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Aristotle's Metaphysics: The Four Causes

Efficient Aristotle's next cause is known as the efficient cause. Stated very simply, this is the thing or agent which actually brings something about. It's not what it's made of or the plan for how to make it. It's the actual force that brings something into being.

Again using our table, Aristotle would tell us the carpenter is the efficient cause. It's his swinging of a hammer aristotle four causes sawing that actually brought the table into being. Final Our last aristotle four causes is aptly named the final cause.

Aristotle on Causality (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

This is a teleological explanation of there being a table. This seems like a plausible doctrine about artifacts: Causes of natural objects But what about natural objects?

Aristotle notoriously held that the four causes could be found in nature, as well. That is, that there is a final cause of a aristotle four causes, just as there is a final cause of a table. Here he is commonly thought to have made a huge mistake. How can there be final causes in nature, when final causes are purposes, what a thing is for?

In the case of an artifact, the final cause is the end or goal that the aristotle four causes had in mind in making the thing. But what is the final cause of a dog, or a horse, or an oak tree?

What they are used for? To suppose so would be to suppose Aristotle guilty of reading human purposes and plans into nature.

Lecture on 4 causes

But this is not what he has in mind. Perhaps he thinks of nature as being like art, except that the artisan is God? In both a and bthe final cause is external to the object. Both the artisan and God are external to their artifacts; they impose form on aristotle four causes from the outside. But the final causes aristotle four causes natural objects are internal to those objects.

Aristotle on Causality

The final cause need not be a aristotle four causes that someone has in mind. The telos of a developing tiger is to be a tiger. Darwin quickly responded, "What you say about Teleology pleases me especially and I do not think anyone else has ever noticed the point.


Huxley reiterate this sentiment. The latter wrote that ".