Aristotle (OCR exam board)


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  • I had to take this research class in senior year and I’m going to be honest with you, senioritis hit me hard. I could not bring myself to write the term paper for that class so I ordered it online from this website called The research paper turned out very well (it was supposed to be long and complicated) and the teacher was really impressed with it. I got an A and everyone was happy.
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Aristotle (OCR exam board)

  1. 1. Aristotle
  2. 2. HTTPS://ITHINKTHEREFOREITEACH. WORDPRESS.COM/ For OCR New Spec PowerPoints, please go to:
  3. 3. • Aristotle examined the world around him, using his senses. This means he was an Empiricist. • This means his argument is a’ posteriori’ • Note: The terms a priori ("from the earlier") and a posteriori ("from the later") • A priori knowledge is independent of experience (senses) • A posteriori knowledge is dependent on experience or empirical evidence (senses) • Telos is the word used to describe something that achieves its final purpose. • Everything needs to change in order for it to reach its final end, ultimate purpose. • The ‘form’ makes the thing have particular qualities/ essence. • Form makes it what it is (think of the formal cause).
  4. 4. Potentiality - Actuality • Change is natural/ good part of the form of something. • 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. • This state of actuality then has the potential to change - continuous cycle of change and motion. • If something can change, it exists in one ‘actual’ state and has the ‘potential’ to become another state. E.G An embryo is potentially a baby. An actual baby is potentially a child. What would come next?
  5. 5. Four Causes found in ‘Metaphysics’ Aristotle went on further: • Everything in the world is changing (state of flux/ Greek word ‘motus’ = motion). • To go from cause (material, formal and efficient) to an effect (Final/ telos/ purpose achieved) it must change. = Reach its telos from potentiality to actuality, it needs to go through four causes.
  6. 6. Material Cause (matter) What is it made of? E.G Book - paper Formal Cause (‘form’ - essence) The form or essence of something What are its characteristics? Efficient Cause External factor Process How does it happen? E.G Publishers, writer, author Final Cause Actuality Telos achieved What is it for? E.G to read, pleasure and enjoyment, education
  7. 7. 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.
  8. 8. Prime Mover’s Qualities 1. Prime Mover does not move or have any desire or knowledge to move/ change. 2. Prime Mover only thinks about itself and is only aware of itself ( cannot be changed by anything else, including us.) 3. By attracting things towards it by sheer will/ consciousness. Everything in the universe is attracted to the Prime Mover (cat/milk, moth/light) 4. Transcendent: is separate or external from the universe/ change/ motion 5. Necessary: cannot fail to exist 6. Unchanged: not changed remains in a pure state of ‘actuality’ with no potential 7. Perfect: Prime Mover has no potential (potential means need to change/ improve) but is pure actuality. 8. Impersonal: does not know (gain knowledge) or interact with the universe as this would result in change. 9. Final Cause (no material, formal or efficient causes): the reason why the universe is the way it is – constant motion from actual to potential 10. For Aristotle God is the Prime Mover. Note: Aristotle is not comparing the First mover to starting off a set of dominoes. Instead he is focusing on the Prime Mover as the originating cause of all motion that sustains the pattern of change from actuality to potentiality. As “nothing comes from nothing,” there must be an ultimate Prime Mover.
  9. 9. Strengths 1. Aristotle’s theory is based on logic, gained through using senses = more acceptable as it is based around concepts that everyone can discover. 2. Supported by fellow empiricists such as Hume who used his senses to find meaning and truth. 3. Prime Mover can be compared to the Christian God. This means that even though God cannot be proven, millions of Christians still believe in the idea, so makes Aristotle’s Prime Mover a more conceivable basis for an argument even though there is no proof. (However Christians may not agree with this idea of ‘God’ because…)
  10. 10. Weaknesses 1. Senses are different from person to person. This means that the information they give us is subjective. 2. Rationalists like Descartes/Plato take a sceptical approach to the reliability of the senses and argue for an ‘a priori’ approach to knowledge. 3. Aristotle says the ‘nothing comes from nothing’ but then where did the Prime Mover come from? And the matter that made the world? 4. Aristotle basis his theory on idea that everything has a purpose. But is this exactly true? What about an ostriches’ wings/ Dairy Goat's wattle? 5. Darwin’s theory of natural selection/evolution = survival of fittest rather than that species having a purpose or not in the case of extinction. 6. Does the universe have to have a purpose at all? Many people believe that there is no purpose to the universe and things happen by chance. Bertrand Russell, for example, has argued that “The universe is just there, and that`s all.”
  11. 11. HTTPS://ITHINKTHEREFOREITEACH. WORDPRESS.COM/ If you would like further information please follow the link below to my blog: