Paul Arveson (
Thu, 6 Feb 97 08:34:12 EST

Ted Davis wrote:

For the benefit of all (I suspect Bob knows this),
Aristotle's theory of causes identified four types
of causes operative in all processes of change
(which is what he thought natural events were). To
use his own example, the making of a statue has
four causes: the material cause (stone, clay, etc),
the efficient/secondary/immediate cause (hands & tools
of the sculptor), the formal cause (shape the statue
is to have), and the final/first/primary cause (the
purpose the statue is to have). The first cause
in a sense determines the others, but each can
be investigated to a good degree at its own level.


Thanks, Ted, for this synopsis of Aristotle's
analysis of causes from the Physics.

I have one further question for you:
I find it remarkable that this framework for
describing causality from Aristotle has been
accepted (more or less) for over 2000 years, and
only with the advent of quantum physics has it
had to be revised.
Is that a correct implication?

Paul Arveson, Research Physicist
Code 724, Signatures Directorate, NSWC
9500 MacArthur Blvd., Bethesda, MD 20817-5700
(301) 227-3831 (W) (301) 227-4511 (FAX) (301) 816-9459 (H)