The following sample essay on The Aristotle Four Causes. Greek philosopher who was fascinated by the physical world around him which he wanted to understand and explain. Aristotle highly admired his tutor Plato; however he dismissed his theories about the alternative world of forms and the true form of objects. Instead he tried to explain why things exist as they do In the real world. Aristotle believed we can only know a thing fully when all its causes of existence are understood.

So he explored how things come Into existence and tried to analyses how we identify objects.

He realized that the human brain automatically tigresses everything based on Its matter, shape, creator and purpose, In order to Identify Its common name. Aristotle developed this Idea further and proposed the theory of the four causes; which explain why a thing exists as It does. He called these the material, formal, efficient and final causes. The material cause of an object refers to what something Is made from.

For example a painting is made up of 011 paints and canvas.

Aristotle believed that this painting is as it is purely because it is oil paints and canvas; if it was made up of pastels and paper it would not be the painting that it is. The formal cause refers to what identifies an object. For instance the formal cause of a painting is that it is a pictorial representation of something which creates visual stimulation and enjoyment for a viewer. The formal cause is to do with the color, arrangement and style of the painting.

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Therefore this painting is the painting that it is because of the shapes, shading and colors that are unique to it. The efficient cause is Aristotle way of explaining how the object actually came to exist. The immediate efficient cause of the painting is the painter, as he physically rated it. However there are other contributing factors to consider which could affect what the efficient cause is. For example someone could have had the painting commissioned and therefore asked the painter to create it.

This would make the art collector the real reason the painting exists in the first place. Before assuming the obvious when deciphering the efficient cause Aristotle theory requires one to consider other options which could have affected the creation of the subject. The final cause refers to the function of the object; Its ultimate reason for existing. When considering the function of the painting there are a number of scenarios to consider.

In the middle ages the function of a painting was to say something about the Individual who had commissioned It, the role of the artist was less Important. In modern society the function of paintings varies. Some are simply decorative to be bought and sold by Individuals; others are In museums and galleries as part of an artistic heritage. A difficulty with Aristotle definition Is the fact that the final cause can change over time. Take for example a planting by Van Cough. In the sass’s when Van Cough was painting, his aim was to sell his appalling to make a living.

These days’ institutions buy Van Cough paintings either for their cultural significance or as an Investment. I en planting Itself Is largely Irrelevant, want Is Important Is ten signature of such a famous artist. Aristotle encountered problems when he tried to apply his theory to humans. He could not find a way to link his four causes to the existence of human beings. After considering all of his research he decided that the reason for our existence was to reach perfection. However Aristotle did not know what ‘perfection’ was.

He went on to logically conclude that something must have created the universe, an efficient cause. He called this thing responsible for the existence of the universe the prime mover. He decided that the prime mover must be unchanging because in order to be able to cause continual change, the object causing this change must remain unchanging. It must be good, because if it is not good then it is capable of improvement and change, and if it is capable of change then it is not unchangeable and cannot be the prime over.

Aristotle theory of the four causes is a highly complex theory which seeks to explain the reason objects exist as they do in the real world. Of the four causes the material and formal are relatively straightforward and permit a definitive answer. The efficient and final causes in contrast are exceptionally complicated and are capable of many different interpretations with no necessarily right or wrong answer. These interpretations will vary over time and will be influenced by factors such as culture, gender, politics and religion.

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The Aristotle Four Causes. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved from

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