Aristotle and the four causes of the end purpose of an object or action

No doctrine of physics can ignore the fundamental notions of motion, space, and time.

aristotles four causes physics

The bronze is melted and poured for producing the statue. In some ways, it is just a bandaid: we want to know more about how that works: Darwin offered a mechanism: does that mechanism make final causes extraneous?

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But can an explanation of this type be given without a reference to the final outcome of the production, the statue? Quite the contrary: Aristotle is adamant that, for a full range of cases, all four causes must be given in order to give an explanation. They involve mediation, rhetoric, consensus, some idea of community or social order. Everywhere we find evidences of design and rational plan. Having four legs and a flat top is an aition of a table. But the identification of formal with final causes is not vacuous. A final clarification is in order here: Aristotle is committed to a hylomorphic explanation of animal generation. Is this different from final causation? Stating the conditions under which something is the case is not yet giving a successful explanation. The final cause of a developing plant or animal is the form it will ultimately achieve, the form into which it grows and develops. The questions that ask for formal, final, and efficient causes, respectively, are: What kind of thing do these flesh-and-bones constitute?

Hence, the answers to these questions will also be given in terms of universals. Finality thus understood is not purpose but that end towards which a thing is ordered. It was intended to solve the difficulties which earlier thinkers had raised with reference to the beginnings of existence and the relations of the one and many.

For Aristotle, this principle is the art of bronze-casting the statue Phys.

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The Formal Cause tells us what, by analogy to the plans of an artisan, a thing is intended and planned to be. The Soul and Psychology Soul is defined by Aristotle as the perfect expression or realization of a natural body.

Physics b Take, for example, a bronze statue.

the four causes aristotle sparknotes
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Aristotle on Causality (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)