Some Key Themes
Nature is teleological (982B)
– Telos = end, purpose
– Nature as a whole acts for a purpose
Knowledge is of the causes
– Mere experience
– Art (techne) or Craft
– Wisdom (sophia)
– Nous: intuitive – Phronesis: practical
understanding, our wisdom, achieving
grasp of the first goals
principles – Techne: art or craft,
– Episteme: scientific
– Sophia: The
combination of nous
Previous Philosophy Sets the Tone
What does Aristotle find in his review of
those that came before?
– They talked vaguely about causes, material
and efficient (motion), and also in the case of
Plato about the formal cause.
– Material Cause: Thales, Anaximenes,
Heraclitus, Empedocles (Friendship and
– Formal: Anaxagoras (Mind), Plato (Forms)
The Causes (gk. aitia)
How do these work? How do they give
complete knowledge of a thing?
– See 984A for argument that there can’t be only one
– Plato was also dissatisfied with the material cause.
See 97 (p. 183) for the discussion of Anaxagoras and
his use of Mind.