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.
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.
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.
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
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.”
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?
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.
The sculptor is working on a large block of
granite. He hacks away at it and a young
“ 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.
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
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.’
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.’
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.
Judeo Christian God Meet Plato and Aristotle
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.