Horrigan, Ch 9-19
Aristotle, Metaphysics, Bk X, Ch 1-3
Aristotle, Metaphysics, Bk 12, Ch 1-7
Answer the five questions (SEPARATELY) in detail.One question/answer per page.
1. What are the four causes (state each with a short description)?
2. Among all the causes, which is primary and why?
3. What are the various senses of the word “one” as discussed by Aristotle (offer also an example of each)?
4. What is transcendental unity, truth and goodness?
5. What are the three kinds of substance as discussed by Aristotle?
This material may consist of step-by-step explanations on how to solve a problem or examples of proper writing, including the use of citations, references, bibliographies, and formatting. This material is made available for the sole purpose of studying and learning - misuse is strictly forbidden.1. What are the four causes (state each with a short description)?
First, in broad terms, it is important to note that the study of the ‘four causes’—“material causality, formal causality, efficient or agent causality, and final causality” (Horrigan, 2003, p.9)—is a distinguishing characteristic of metaphysics. As a group, these causes are concerned with and are about something altogether different from the causes studied by the natural/’hard’ sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology – the purview of those sciences are the near-at-hand, “proximate causes” (p.9) whose effects are just as proximate; the useful example mentioned by Horrigan is of the heart as the organ that causes the effect of blood circulation (p.9).
I think Aristotle provides the best, most illustrative explanations of the nature of the four causes (as opposed to, for example, Dougherty’s less than transparent explication on p.136). Particularly instructive in understanding the four causes is Aristotle’s statement of what the four causes deliver, namely an understanding of the “how and why of things coming into existence and passing out of it” (p.136), i.e. an account of (physical) change. So, for Aristotle, the material cause is the substrate, the ‘stuff’ from and in which change occurs – for example, the bronze from which a statue is made. The formal cause is the taking and having of form, of characteristics, without which an object would not be what it is; specifically, having these characteristics makes the thing conform to “the definition of the thing we say it is” (p.136); the form of the statue distinguishes it from a lump of bronze. The agent as efficient cause...