Causes of natural objects

Causes of natural objects - Causes of natural objects But...

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Causes of natural objects But what about natural objects? Aristotle (notoriously) held that the four causes could be found in nature, as well. That is, that there is a final cause of a tree, just as there is a final cause of a table. Here he is commonly thought to have made a huge mistake. How can there be final causes in nature, when final causes are purposes , what a thing is for ? In the case of an artifact, the final cause is the end or goal that the artisan had in mind in making the thing. But what is the final cause of a dog, or a horse, or an oak tree? 1. What they are used for? E.g., pets, pulling plows, serving as building materials, etc. To suppose so would be to suppose Aristotle guilty of reading human purposes and plans into nature. But this is not what he has in mind. 2. Perhaps he thinks of nature as being like art, except that the artisan is God? God is the efficient cause of natural objects, and God’s purposes are the final causes of the natural objects that he creates. No. In both (a) and (b), the final cause is external to the object. (Both the artisan and God are external to their artifacts; they impose form on matter from the outside.) But the final causes of natural objects are internal to those objects. Final causes in nature 1. The final cause of a natural object - a plant or an animal - is not a purpose, plan, or “intention.” Rather, it is whatever lies at the end of the regular series of developmental changes that typical specimens of a given species undergo. The final cause need not be a purpose that someone has in mind. I.e., where F is a biological kind: the telos of an F is what embryonic, immature, or developing F s are all tending to grow into. The telos of a developing tiger is to be a tiger . 2. Aristotle opposes final causes in nature to chance or randomness . So the fact that there is regularity in nature - as Aristotle says, things in nature happen “always or for the most part” - suggests to him that biological individuals run
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This note was uploaded on 11/14/2011 for the course PHI PHI2010 taught by Professor Jorgerigol during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.

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Causes of natural objects - Causes of natural objects But...

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