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Aristotle's Four Causes

Boris Hennig

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.

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    • Philosophy (HP)
      • Popular philosophy (HPX)
    • Religion & beliefs (HR)
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      • Cultural studies (JFC)
        • History of ideas (JFCX)

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    • PHILOSOPHY / General (PHI000000)

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    • Philosophy (QD)
      • History of philosophy, philosophical traditions (QDH)
      • Popular philosophy (QDX)