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6 Cards in this Set

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material cause
The material cause is the basic stuff out of which the thing is made. The material cause of a house, for example, would include the wood, metal, glass, and other building materials used in its construction. All of these things belong in an explanation of the house because it could not exist unless they were present in its composition.
formal cause {Gk. eidos [eidos]}
The formal cause {Gk. eidos [eidos]} is the pattern or essence in conformity with which these materials are assembled. Thus, the formal cause of our exemplary house would be the sort of thing that is represented on a blueprint of its design. This, too, is part of the explanation of the house, since its materials would be only a pile of rubble (or a different house) if they were not put together in this way.
efficient cause
The efficient cause is the agent or force immediately responsible for bringing this matter and that form together in the production of the thing. Thus, the efficient cause of the house would include the carpenters, masons, plumbers, and other workers who used these materials to build the house in accordance with the blueprint for its construction. Clearly the house would not be what it is without their contribution.
final cause {Gk. teloV [télos]}
Lastly, the final cause {Gk. teloV [télos]} is the end or purpose for which a thing exists, so the final cause of our house would be to provide shelter for human beings. This is part of the explanation of the house's existence because it would never have been built unless someone needed it as a place to live.
The Four Causes
Aristotle offered a general account of the operation of individual substances in the natural world. He drew a significant distinction between things of two sorts: those that move only when moved by something else and those that are capable of moving themselves. In separate treatises, Aristotle not only proposed a proper description of things of each sort but also attempted to explain why they function as they do.
organon
the instrument by means of which we come to know anything