Single Idea 11252

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 2. Types of cause]

Full Idea

By the form of a thing, such as a changing human being, Aristotle means that which explains why the matter of this particular thing constitutes the thing that it constitutes: a particular human being.

Gist of Idea

The 'form' of a thing explains why the matter constitutes that particular thing


report of Aristotle (Physics [c.337 BCE]) by Vassilis Politis - Aristotle and the Metaphysics 2.4

Book Reference

Politis,Vasilis: 'Aristotle and the Metaphysics' [Routledge 2004], p.53

A Reaction

If Politis is right then clearly the so-called 'formal cause' is much better understood as the 'formal explanation'. The Greek word for cause/explanation is 'aitia'.