I. Discussion of Aristotle's teleology has, for many years, focused on final cause as explanation. A recurring question within these discussions is whether Aristotle thinks final cause is a real cause as well as an explanatory account. A real cause is one which is necessary in order actually to produce some effect. Here the question becomes whether material and efficient causes are suf- ficient by themselves to produce an effect for which final cause is also an explanation. If final cause is a real cause, it must explain (in the sense of 'produce' or 'bring about,') some aspect of the effect which material and efficient causes do not explain.1 When final cause is taken as a real cause, it is usually treated in its role as a nature or potentiality belonging to a thing. As a resi- dent nature, it is closely allied with efficient cause? In what follows, I will present an interpretation of Physics 11.2 and 8 in which final cause is a real cause: Aristotle believes there is some effect that would not exist without it. I will not, howev- er, be treating final cause as either a nature or potentiality, because the reasoning in
Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy Online – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1994
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