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Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, Volume 46$
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Brad Inwood

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198712923

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198712923.001.0001

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Essence and End in Aristotle

Essence and End in Aristotle

(p.73) Essence and End in Aristotle
Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, Volume 46

Jacob Rosen

Oxford University Press

This chapter attempts to clarify Aristotle’s claims that a thing’s formal cause is often one with, or the same as, its final cause. This claim has confused scholarly understanding regarding the teleology, essences, and causation in Aristotle’s thought. When Aristotle’s sameness claim is understood in a straightforward way, it is open to obvious counter-example. Furthermore, this sameness claim admits many interpretations, since there is more than one way of being a final cause and there is more than one way of being the same. Yet the sameness claim has had a great influence in the interpretation of Aristotle. Hence this chapter is motivated by the conviction that Aristotle’s concepts of formal cause and of final cause possess great and enduring philosophical interest, and that a certain kind of work will help us recover a clearer understanding of them.

Keywords:   Aristotle, Aristotle’s sameness claim, formal cause, final cause, teleology, essences, causation, interpretations of Aristotelian thought

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