Single Idea 5089

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 2. Natural Purpose / a. Final purpose]

Full Idea

What is wrong with the idea that nature does not act purposively, and does not do things because they are better? The proper analogy is the idea that it is sheer coincidence that the crops grow when it rains.

Gist of Idea

Nature has purpose, and aims at what is better. Is it coincidence that crops grow when it rains?


Aristotle (Physics [c.337 BCE], 198b16)

Book Reference

Aristotle: 'Physics', ed/tr. Waterfield,Robin [OUP 1996], p.50

A Reaction

In this context, it simply never occurred to Aristotle to give a causal explanation instead of a purposive one. Or that he had got it the wrong way round - growth of crops is 'for the better' only because we eat them, but are we 'for the better'?