Four Aristotelian causes

"explanatory conditions & factors"

The 4 causes:

    1. formal
    2. material
    3. efficient
    4. final, or teleology


Causal matrix surface underlying
  formal final, or teleological
  material efficient

Aristotle, Physics, (350 BCE.).


What is a characteristic of real things?
the apparent property or external quality displayed;
• an actual shape, texture, extension, hue, appearance.

• A pattern taken or given by things in our sensory experience.

• quartz crystals have a geometrical shape
• water molecules have an hexagonal appearance
• marble has a sinuous quality



• form and matter exist concurrently in all things
• marble in the statue of Michelangelo's "David."
• matter represents the unchanging consistency beneath the changing form. i.e.
• caterpillars metamorphose into a butterflies
• crabs molt and shed their shells (carapace)
• snakes shed their skin
• tadpoles develop into frogs
• warmth & moisture


that which moves matter and form to undergo visible changes:

• the sculptor of a statue or creator of an art work
• cold air that turns the leaves of deciduous trees from green
• molten lava that cools into igneous rock
• rain water forming carbonic acid that breaks down rocks
• hormones that release eggs from a mammal's ovaries

• elements that remain behind after the alteration are clues


final, or teleology

• purpose, end, or aim
• orderly universe, with ordered certainty

• things develop toward ends determined by their natures

• apprehended by human reason (experience & rationality)

• sensible qualities are the building blocks of reality whose purpose is to strive to attain the "good" or optimal character
• the all pervading character of the unstable conditions

4 causes: formal | material | efficient | teleology

Aristotle on women

Aristotle's Politics




method | methods | matrix | worldview | reason