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::: center home >> events >> lunchtime >> 2005-06 >> abstracts

Tuesday, 4 April 2006
Final Causes
Boris Hennig, University of Hamburg, Philosophy
12:05 pm,817R Cathedral of Learning

Abstract:  I will argue, on the basis of a systematic reading of Aristotle’s Physics B3, that final causes are for natural movements what formal causes are for natural things.  As a consequence, final and efficient causality are complementary in the same sense in which matter and form are; they are two sides of the same coin.

This means that the final cause of a natural movement is the typical course that it takes when it is completed.  For elementary processes, the specification of their efficient cause directly includes a description of their final cause.  In the case of complex natural movements, however, we often know the final cause of a complex movement before knowing the efficient causes of its more basic parts.  In such cases, it may seem that the final cause is an external purpose or effect that is not matched by a complementary efficient cause.

Revised 3/6/08 - Copyright 2006