Aristotle's Metaphysics

A Critical Analysis of Aristotle's Theory of Causation 11th Grade

The theory that the philosopher Aristotle put forward regarding causation is one of his most well-known and influential. In fact, his ideas have dominated perceptions on this issue throughout most of western philosophy since his work appeared approximately 2,300 years ago. His theory centers around the idea of what causes things to be, and of how many different kind of causes there are; for Aristotle, it was necessary to attempt to investigate the phenomena that we experience in our world. His theory is also known as “the doctrine of four causes.” These four causes are usually labelled as “material,” “efficient,” “formal,” and “final.” I will be looking in depth at these four causes separately, and will also critically examine the specific strengths of Aristotle's theory and the broader issues surrounding it.

Aristotle's theory of the “material cause” is accepted as one of the primary accounts of causation. If we accept that everything in our world is material, then we must look at what these materialities are made of. For example, a knife is made out of steel, or a box is made out of cardboard. He also attempts to use the material cause as an example of the properties of the object; knives are strong because they are made of...

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