1 Scientist- Wished to
analyse and classify things.
Also wished to investigate
the philosophical nature of
things; i.e. explain why
things are as they are.
1.1 Interest in gaining
the physical world
1.1.1 Different to Plato. Plato did not value
empirical knowledge as he thought the
truth only existed in a transcendent realm
2 Aristotle found four
ways to ask the
question of why any
object or being exists;
what is it made of,
what makes it
created it and what is
the purpose of it?
2.1 Material cause. What substance or
matter the object is made from. He used
the example of a saucer being made
from silver and a sculpture from bronze.
Something can have more than one
material cause; e.g a phone is made
from glass, batteries and other
materials. These are all the material
cause of the phone.
2.1.1 Formal cause. What gives the object
its form or structure. Pieces of paper
in a book are arranged in a specific
manner so that it is correctly
readable and recognisable. Formal
cause of a bottle is the shape of it as
it has a specific structure to make it
recognisable as a bottle.
126.96.36.199 This form is different to the Platonic "form" as it
is inseparably linked with the object and not
located in a transcendent realm of forms.
2.1.2 Third cause is the efficient cause. It is the
means or agency by which something
comes into existence. A painting is in
existence because of the artist who paints
it. The artist is the efficient cause.
3 Aristotle's believed that all the other causes are
subordinate to the final cause. The final cause is of vital
importance as it linked to his belief of everything being
teleological; i.e. he thought that things have an ultimate
purpose or goal. E.g. Perfume- Give a different and usually
pleasant smell. Aristotle thought that every being had a
purpose of actualising it's potentiality. Any object or thing
has a function and this function is the ultimate reason why
the thing is as it is.
3.1 His final cause can be linked to
natural law, where something is
considered to be good if it fulfils
its potential and purpose.
4 Aristotle observed four things. Everything in the
universe is constantly changing. The planets are
moving eternally. Change is always caused by
something. Objects in the physical world are always
in a state of actuality and potentiality. Using these
observations he comes up with the PM as an
attempt to answer the question, what is the cause of
motion and change in the universe? He understood
the motion of the planets to be eternal which
suggests that there must be an eternal cause of
motion, who he thought to be an unchanging and
4.1 The Prime Mover is the efficient and final causes of the
universe. Its ‘action' in the universe is passive. It exists
in a state of ‘pure actuality' incapable of change. This is Aristotle's god.
Things are attracted towards the perfection found within
its ‘pure actuality'; in other words objects/things want to
be like the PM. The PM does not act in anyway but by
it's very existence, things in the world are drawn to it. This is
why the Prime Mover is known as the great attractor.
Objects that move from potentiality to actuality fulfil their
purpose because their change is brought about through
the existence of the Prime Mover (a point later picked up
on by Aquinas in his notion of the ‘unmoved mover').
This is how Aristotle explained the final cause of the
universe as objects in the universe move towards their
actuality, thus getting as close as possible to the "pure actuality" of the PM.