Aristotle and the four causes of the end purpose of an object or action

He determines that tragedy, like all poetry, is a kind of imitation mimesisbut adds that it has a serious purpose and uses direct action rather than narrative to achieve its ends. The aim of tragedy, Aristotle writes, is to bring about a "catharsis" of the spectators — to arouse in them sensations of pity and fear, and to purge them of these emotions so that they leave the theater feeling cleansed and uplifted, with a heightened understanding of the ways of gods and men.

Aristotle and the four causes of the end purpose of an object or action

Contact Author Aristotle was an ancient Greek philosopher who contributed the foundation of both symbolic logic and scientific thinking to Western philosophy. He also made advances in the branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, moving away from the idealism of his mentor Plato to a more empirical and less mystical view of the nature of reality.

Aristotle was the first philosopher to seriously advance a theory of Virtue Ethics, which remains one of the three major schools of ethical thought taken most seriously by contemporary philosophers.

With all these contributions, he may have been the single most important philosopher in history until at least the late 18th century. Afterward, he served as a tutor to Alexander the Great, a fact about his past that hurt his standing with many people once Alexander began to conquer the majority of the known world.

During the Medieval period, his work was initially shunned by contemporary philosophers because of their primary concern with theological questions. The views of Plato and the later philosopher Plotinus were judged more compatible with Christianity then the scientific and essentially pagan views of Aristotle.

That changed when St. Plato thought that physical things were representations of idealized perfect forms that existed on another plane of reality. Aristotle thought that the essence of an object existed with the thing itself.

In this way, he also rejected the idea of a soul that existed outside of the physical body, instead believing that human consciousness resided completely with the physical form. Despite this belief, many of the theories that Aristotle put forth have not held up to the passing of time and scientific advancement.

Aristotle initially claimed that everything was made up of five elements: When it came to biology, Aristotle proposed that all life originated from the sea and that complex life came from a gradual development of less-complex life forms.

This hypothesis would later be proven true by Charles Darwin and a huge number of biological observations and experiments. Aristotle believed that when trying to determine the fundamental nature of reality the only place to begin was with basic axioms.

One such axiom was the principle of non-contradiction, which states that a substance cannot have a quality and not have that same quality at the same time. Aristotle would use this concept not only as an important beginning point for natural philosophy and metaphysics but for the basis of symbolic logic, which he was the first to establish.

Through symbolic logic with Aristotle, we had our first attempt to evaluate validity in reasoning. This has nothing to do with the truthfulness of the premises. In this case we still get a true conclusion even though we have a false premise, and in this way Aristotle had proven that reasoning is separate from the truthfulness of the premises being considered.

A logical argument could have false premises and a true conclusion, but true premises would always lead to a true conclusion. Aristotle thought that no rules or appeal to consequences could possibly give a person correct guidelines in which to respond to all situations.

His ethical viewpoint was largely disregarded in the medieval period where it was assumed that ethics had their basis in the will of God, and in the early-modern period more materialistic views of ethics began to compete with religious concepts.

Aristotle thought that the goal of human beings in their search for happiness was to reach Eudemonia, or a state of flourishing. He agreed with Plato that Virtue did not necessarily lead to a better life, but he did think that in order to achieve a true state of Eudemonia, aiming for virtue was necessary.

Aristotle thought that the way to identify a virtue was that it was a middle ground between too vices in opposite directions. For instance, Temperance was identified by Aristotle as a virtue and the very definition of this term implies taking things in moderation. While Virtue Ethics has come back in vogue, it is under contention what exactly key virtues are.

Some philosophers might simply replace a term that they find too vague, such as justice, with a term they find more specific, like fairness.

Aristotle and the four causes of the end purpose of an object or action

Others might insist on replacing certain virtues with entirely different ones. There are a number of objections to Virtue Ethics, like there are to any ethical theory. One comes from St. Aquinas considered chastity to be an absolute virtue, and while he acknowledged that it was not achievable by everyone, and that it was necessary for some to fail to be chaste in order to continue the human species, he still thought that absolute chastity was the goal that everyone should shoot for.Aristotle argued by analogy with woodwork that a thing takes its form from four causes: in the case of a table, the wood used (material cause), its design (formal cause), the tools and techniques used (efficient cause), and its decorative or practical purpose (final cause).

Aristotle claims that in a chain of efficient causes, where the first element of the series acts through the intermediary of the other items, it is the first member in the causal chain, rather than the intermediaries, which is the moving cause (Physics , a10–12).

Then, both in cases of natural generation and artificial production, it is only this first efficient cause which has to satisfy the requirement of . Aristotle outlined four causes that established the end purpose of an object or action.

They are as follows: the material cause, the efficient cause, the formal cause and the final cause. Aristotle believed that the final cause was different from the o 5/5(2). Aristotle (notoriously) held that the four causes could be found in nature, as well. That is, that there is a final cause of a tree, just as there is a final cause of a table.

Here he is . The final cause, according to Aristotle is that for the sake of which motion happens. It is the end or purpose for which the motion takes place. Again, it is easy to understand this doctrine if one considers motions which humans initiate.

Refers to the cause of an object or thigh existing. In other words, "why" the thing exists. A book exists because someone wrote and printed it; the author of the book is the cause of the book existing rather than it just being a pile of paper.

Aristotle on Tragedy