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Aristotles Four Causes

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  • Aristotles Four Causes

    After reading up more about Aristotles four causes, I find myself almost convinced. It seems to me that the rejection of final causes leads to contradiction, and with that you must also assume the formal and material causes. However, I agree with some, that something which goes from potency to act, or something that begins to exist (and so on and so forth) must have an efficient cause. But would this apply to eternal objects, or does the efficient cause only apply to temporal causes, rather than sustaining ones? I would like to assume so, because it seems as if that would be something Aristotle would suggest.
    Last edited by ClassicalLiberal.Theist; 02-22-2019, 01:11 PM.

  • #2
    God does not have an efficient cause, if that is what you are asking. I think only that which has distinct form and matter, and that which has potency needs an efficient cause, since an efficient cause either changes a thing (potency) or creates a thing (imposes form on matter). Angels, which I believe are eternal (?) still need an efficient cause though. Or so I think.
    Last edited by Brian; 02-21-2019, 06:15 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Brian View Post
      God does not have an efficient cause, if that is what you are asking. I think only that which has distinct form and matter, and that which has potency needs an efficient cause, since an efficient cause either changes a thing (potency) or creates a thing (imposes form on matter). Angels, which I believe are eternal (?) still need an efficient cause though. Or so I think.
      Thas not quite what I mean. I am wondering if efficient causes apply to eternal, yet contigent objects. For example, if we have contigent concrete object X, could we say X has an efficient cause Y, just that Y isn't repsonsible for its coming into existence, but its continuing to exist, or was Aristotle strictly concerned with temporal causes?

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      • #4
        Yes, efficient causes would apply to an object that has its existence eternally contingent on the motion of some outside agent. The efficient cause is fundamentally that which actualizes a potency. So long as an eternal entity is contingent, it must rely on some co-eternal cause to continually actualize its existence.

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        • #5
          What sort of object is eternal and contingent? That's not a criticism veiled as a question, I just can't think of an example.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Brian View Post
            What sort of object is eternal and contingent? That's not a criticism veiled as a question, I just can't think of an example.
            Well, I couldn't give you an actual example, but it is atleast possible that an object be eternal and contigent. Maybe, the universe? As in, the totality of physical states.

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