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Aristotle Revision



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  • 1. Aristotle
  • 2.
    • All reality around us in the material world consists of material (matter) and form (essence/particular qualities.)
    • There is no separate world of Forms.
    • Material world = Real world!
    • Humans gain knowledge through perception and sense experience. This means he was an Empiricist .
    • Telos describes something that achieves its final purpose.
    • Everything needs to change in order for it to come to its final end, ultimate purpose.
  • 3. The Form is changeless, only exists in the Noeton. The true essence of a tree Plato’s ideas of forms Imperfect, changing trees based on sense experience Aristotle’s Form makes it a tree. Form gives the tree its essence.
  • 4. Potentiality - Actuality
    • Potentiality is the quality something possesses – something it can do if the conditions are right.
    • If the conditions are right then the potentiality becomes actuality when it achieves its purpose.
  • 5.
    • A substance= matter + form
    • Substance contains both potentiality and actuality.
    • Substance often needs an external factor in order to bring about change.
    • Change is natural/ good part of the form of something.
    • E.g. a substance like oil in a bowl has potentiality to burn but only when introduced to a match. Actuality is that it is flammable.
    • Oil + Match = Fire
    • Potentiality Actuality
  • 6. Four Causes
    • Aristotle went on further:
    • Four causes are needed to bring about the forms change in order for it to reach its ultimate purpose.
    • In other words in order for something to reach its telos from potentiality to actuality, it needs to go through four causes.
    • “ Nature does not act without a goal.”
    • Aristotle
  • 7. Formal Cause The natural law which governs the process and limits the possible changes for the efficient cause. What are its characteristics? Efficient Cause The process which produces the effect – creating a changed set of circumstances. How does it happen? This does not always have to be a person e.g. a gust of wind blows down a tree. Final Cause The purpose of these causes and effects. Aristotle examines there purpose of the object, the reason it exists at all. What is it for?
  • 8.
    • Stone
    • Material Cause: the stone itself
    • Formal Cause: the stone is on the edge of the cliff
    • Efficient Cause: the human push
    • The stone’s desire to seek the lowest level.
    • Sculptor
    • The sculptor is working on a large block of
    • granite. He hacks away at it and a young
    • boy asks,
    • “ What are you looking for?”
    • “ Wait and see.”
    • Later in the day the little boy returns and
    • sees the sculptor has carved a beautiful
    • horse out of the granite. The amazed boy
    • asks the sculptor,
    • “ How did you know it was in there?”
    • In a sense, the sculptor had
    • seen the horse's form
    • in the block of granite,
    • because that particular
    • block of granite had the potentiality to be
    • formed into the shape of a horse.
  • 9. Prime Mover
  • 10.
    • Cause Effect
    • Most important of the four causes is the Final Cause.
    • But can cause and effect go on infinitely? Think of human existence, how far back can you go? E.g.
    Material Formal Efficient Final Cause: Ultimate telos
  • 11. So what caused the first effect?
    • What qualities do you need to start off the first domino?
    • It has to be: external, more powerful, bigger, unaffected, removed.
    • Aristotle believed that “Nothing comes from Nothing.”
    • So it follows that when there is a chain of events, there must be an ultimate cause to start it all off.
    • The Prime Mover is the ultimate Final Cause of everything in the universe.
    • “ There must be a mover which moves them, without being moved, eternal and a substance and actual.” Aristotle, Metaphysics
    • Something that is not affected by cause and effect but causes ‘cause and effect.’
  • 12. Prime Mover
    • The Prime Mover’s purpose was to start the universe.
    • So by causing the first event that triggered all other causes to create the universe, the Prime Mover achieved its own final purpose – telos.
    • The Prime Mover is the First Final Cause. There was no other causes before the Prime Mover.
    • This means that the Prime Mover not only is outside of this world – external, but unaware of what it has caused as the universe is just the affect of the Prime Mover achieving its own final purpose.
    • Aristotle's Prime Mover is therefore outside of the universe and outside of time. If not, then you could ask: What started the Prime Mover? This would create ‘infinite regression.’
  • 13. Imagine: (This is just a comparative story to symbolise how the Prime Mover worked.)
    • The Final Cause of the Prime Mover was to throw a pebble into water. The pebble is the first cause and the effects are the ripples.
    • WE are the ripples that the Prime Mover has started.
    • However the Prime Mover is not part of the ripples, nor does it effect the ripples once the pebble has been thrown in.
    • We gravitate around the pebble just as this world gravitates around the Prime Mover.
    • By being part of the Cause and Effect sequence we can all experience the Prime Mover.
    • The Prime Mover inspires cause and effect in this world because it was the First Unmoved Mover to start it all off.
  • 14. Judeo Christian God Meet Plato and Aristotle
  • 15. Plato Judeo
    • Ideal forms of all things exist.
    • Abstract Form of Good as the supreme form.
    • Emphasis on knowledge
    • Best life = as philosopher
    • Phenomenal world not real
    • World of forms changeless
    • No belief in forms
    • Belief in God who is supremely good but active and personal.
    • Emphasis on fellowship and trust in all power God
    • Best life = harmonious relationship with God
    • Phenomenal world real and created by God.
    • God is actively involved in change and human history.
  • 16. Aristotle Judeo
    • The ultimate is the Prime Mover
    • Prime Mover is impersonal
    • Final cause is Prime Mover
    • Emphasis on nature
    • God moves an is active in the world
    • God is personal
    • Final cause is God
    • Emphasis on nature and human relationship with it