Lecture on -Aristotle: On the Knowledgeable- part four

Of course the margin at that point might say, “Look, lots of things can be worked, I mean this looks like something special”. Well you might go to say “well look, not only do you need something thats able to take on a certain shape. But in order for, to be that kind of thing it has to take on a recognizable shape. It has to has a Form, that reveals the fact, that indeed it is a representation of something it, it stands for something, it is a something of a certain kind – it is a cup, a person its a puppy etc.

And to the extend that you cant help of that unless it formaly incorporate these special features, we can say that the very form of the item is constitutive of its causal grounding. And thats what Aristotle would mean by the formal cause.

Now of course, a bile of bricks is not a house. So what you got to do, you got to start biling up the bricks and you but cement between them and so on. And when it comes to the fountain of the rivers, somebody or some group has to stand there with hammer and chisel and start working that stuff into an identifiable shape. And each blow of the hammer on the chisel is having some definit effect on the matter that it thus beeing struck. And blow by blow by blow by blow, that material is beeing changed. And each one of those interaction is the efficient cause of ultimately the fountain of the rifers. Its the billiard ball coliding to the otherbilliard ball and the other one moves. The efficient cause.

No the margin at this point might say, how do you know where to hit this thing. At that point Aristotle would be inclined to say, “Hey look, you don’t know where to hit this block of matter unless you already have the mind, as it where, what it is you are trying to bring about. That is unless, you got Bernini there with this goal, in the greek the TELOS, this end or goal, the fountain of the rivers. There simply is’nt any basis on which on to attack or approach this.

Thus the ultimate understanding of the cause of this thing, its just that plan, the intelligent design that the thing itself realizes. And Aristotle refers to this, the final cause. And what he mean by the final cause that it is the final thing realized in time but it is the first consideration in conception.

Unless you have the intelligent plan to begin with, non of the rest of this causal modality will operate to any fact. So all of the other causal modalitys, choosing the right material, giving it its certain shape, striking blows… All of this are done for the shake of something, and what they are done for the sake of is the original plan or design or pattern or goal. And that kind of causal explenation is generally refered to as a Teleological explenation. You explain an event by showing its purposes, or plans or designs that that even realizes or instantiates when brought about.

Teleological explanation to not have to presuppose some actually intelligent divine beeing with a plan. Evolutionary theory is teleological in that certain characteristic, phenotypic properties of organisms are what they are because they serve certain purposes integral to the life of the organism. And you understand fins, and wings and maiding behaviour in terms of survivialistic considerations. These are teleological explanations, tho they are not what might be called a genitally teleologically, they dont assume that there is a super entity with a TELOS that is than realised by giving creatures characteristics of this sort.


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