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Aristotle's Four Causes

by Boris Hennig (Author)
©2019 Monographs X, 280 Pages

Summary

This book examines Aristotle’s four causes (material, formal, efficient, and final), offering a systematic discussion of the relation between form and matter, causation, taxonomy, and teleology. The overall aim is to show that the four causes form a system, so that the form of a natural thing relates to its matter as the final cause of a natural process relates to its efficient cause. Aristotle’s Four Causes reaches two novel and distinctive conclusions. The first is that the formal cause or essence of a natural thing is not a property of this thing but a generic natural thing. The second is that the final cause of a process is not its purpose but the course that processes of its kind typically take.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Causes and Becauses
  • Things to Keep in Mind
  • The Introductory Chapters Introduced
  • The Causes in More Detail
  • Chapter 1. Aristotle’s Four Causes
  • 1.1 Natural Processes
  • 1.2 That Out of Which the Thing Comes to Be
  • 1.3 What the Thing Comes to Be
  • 1.4 Whence the Process Comes to Occur
  • 1.5 What the Process Turns Into
  • 1.6 Conclusion
  • Chapter 2. Two Epistemic Directions of Fit
  • 2.1 Archetypes and Ectypes
  • 2.2 How to Talk
  • 2.3 Sellarsian Sentences
  • 2.4 Affection and Function
  • 2.5 A Priori Knowledge
  • 2.6 Aristotle’s Four Causes
  • Chapter 3. Tode, Ti, Toionde
  • 3.1 What Is Matter?
  • 3.2 The Pale and the Dead Socrates
  • 3.3 On Denuding
  • 3.4 Tode Ti
  • 3.5 The Timaeus
  • 3.6 Conclusion
  • Chapter 4. The Inseparability of Matter
  • 4.1 Matter as Attribute
  • 4.2 Matter as Subject
  • 4.3 Matter as Potential
  • 4.4 Sameness and Difference of Thing and Matter
  • 4.5 Alteration vs. Completion
  • 4.6 A Note on Material Constitution
  • Chapter 5. Types and Classes
  • 5.1 Sets and Classes
  • 5.2 Polytypic Classes and Clusters
  • 5.3 The Type Specimen Method
  • 5.4 Two Species Concepts
  • 5.5 Standards of Typicality
  • 5.6 Conclusion
  • Chapter 6. Essences vs. Properties
  • 6.1 One Property to Rule Them All
  • 6.2 Essence and Explanation
  • 6.3 Essences, Properties, and Essential Properties
  • 6.4 Sortals and Natural Kinds
  • 6.5 Identifying, Classifying, Describing
  • 6.6 Another Take on Metaphysics Ζ 13
  • Chapter 7. Causation
  • 7.1 Causation as a Relation
  • 7.2 Hume’s Argument
  • 7.3 Water and Suffocation
  • 7.4 Three Objections and Replies
  • 7.5 Dispositionalism
  • 7.6 Conclusion
  • Chapter 8. Causal Processes
  • 8.1 Causal Processes
  • 8.2 “Cause” as a Dimension Word
  • 8.3 Aronson’s Formula
  • 8.4 A Note on Diagrams
  • 8.5 Types and Handles
  • 8.6 Conclusion
  • Chapter 9. Basic and Derived Final Causes
  • 9.1 Final Causes as Limits
  • 9.2 The Typical and the Best
  • 9.3 Remote Final Causes
  • 9.4 External Final Causes
  • 9.5 An Example
  • 9.6 Reducing Final Causes
  • Chapter 10. Teleological Reasoning
  • 10.1 The Action as Conclusion
  • 10.2 Inference Rules
  • 10.3 Mirroring Speculative Reasoning
  • 10.4 Natural Teleology
  • 10.5 Functions
  • 10.6 Conclusion
  • Conclusion
  • The Material Cause
  • Essences
  • The Formal Cause
  • The Efficient Cause
  • The Final Cause
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Boris Hennig

Aristotle’s Four Causes

About the author

Boris Hennig is Associate Professor of Ancient Philosophy at Ryerson University in Toronto. He earned his PhD from Universität Leipzig. His research focuses on metaphysics, logic, and epistemology.

About the book

This book examines Aristotle’s four causes (material, formal, efficient, and final), offering a systematic discussion of the relation between form and matter, causation, taxonomy, and teleology. The overall aim is to show that the four causes form a system, so that the form of a natural thing relates to its matter as the final cause of a natural process relates to its efficient cause. Aristotle’s Four Causes reaches two novel and distinctive conclusions. The first is that the formal cause or essence of a natural thing is not a property of this thing but a generic natural thing. The second is that the final cause of a process is not its purpose but the course that processes of its kind typically take.

This eBook can be cited

This edition of the eBook can be cited. To enable this we have marked the start and end of a page. In cases where a word straddles a page break, the marker is placed inside the word at exactly the same position as in the physical book. This means that occasionally a word might be bifurcated by this marker.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

Introduction

Causes and Becauses

Things to Keep in Mind

The Introductory Chapters Introduced

The Causes in More Detail

Chapter 1. Aristotle’s Four Causes

1.1 Natural Processes

1.2 That Out of Which the Thing Comes to Be

1.3 What the Thing Comes to Be

1.4 Whence the Process Comes to Occur

1.5 What the Process Turns Into

1.6 Conclusion

Chapter 2. Two Epistemic Directions of Fit

2.1 Archetypes and Ectypes

2.2 How to Talk

2.3 Sellarsian Sentences

2.4 Affection and Function ←v | vi→

2.5 A Priori Knowledge

2.6 Aristotle’s Four Causes

Chapter 3. Tode, Ti, Toionde

3.1 What Is Matter?

3.2 The Pale and the Dead Socrates

3.3 On Denuding

3.4 Tode Ti

3.5 The Timaeus

3.6 Conclusion

Chapter 4. The Inseparability of Matter

4.1 Matter as Attribute

4.2 Matter as Subject

4.3 Matter as Potential

4.4 Sameness and Difference of Thing and Matter

4.5 Alteration vs. Completion

4.6 A Note on Material Constitution

Chapter 5. Types and Classes

5.1 Sets and Classes

5.2 Polytypic Classes and Clusters

5.3 The Type Specimen Method

5.4 Two Species Concepts

5.5 Standards of Typicality

5.6 Conclusion

Chapter 6. Essences vs. Properties

6.1 One Property to Rule Them All

6.2 Essence and Explanation

6.3 Essences, Properties, and Essential Properties

6.4 Sortals and Natural Kinds

6.5 Identifying, Classifying, Describing

6.6 Another Take on Metaphysics Ζ 13

Chapter 7. Causation

7.1 Causation as a Relation

7.2 Hume’s Argument

7.3 Water and Suffocation

7.4 Three Objections and Replies

7.5 Dispositionalism

7.6 Conclusion ←vi | vii→

Chapter 8. Causal Processes

8.1 Causal Processes

8.2 “Cause” as a Dimension Word

8.3 Aronson’s Formula

8.4 A Note on Diagrams

8.5 Types and Handles

8.6 Conclusion

Chapter 9. Basic and Derived Final Causes

9.1 Final Causes as Limits

9.2 The Typical and the Best

9.3 Remote Final Causes

9.4 External Final Causes

9.5 An Example

9.6 Reducing Final Causes

Chapter 10. Teleological Reasoning

10.1 The Action as Conclusion

10.2 Inference Rules

10.3 Mirroring Speculative Reasoning

10.4 Natural Teleology

10.5 Functions

10.6 Conclusion

Details

Pages
X, 280
Year
2019
ISBN (PDF)
9781433159305
ISBN (ePUB)
9781433159312
ISBN (MOBI)
9781433159329
ISBN (Hardcover)
9781433159299
Language
English
Publication date
2019 (January)
Published
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2019. X, 280 pp.

Biographical notes

Boris Hennig (Author)

Boris Hennig is Associate Professor of Ancient Philosophy at Ryerson University in Toronto. He earned his PhD from Universität Leipzig. His research focuses on metaphysics, logic, and epistemology.

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Title: Aristotle's Four Causes