Aristotle's Theology: A Commentary on a Book of the by Leo Elders

By Leo Elders

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By saying that it is a builder (oikodomos) is an excellent answer. Why? Because the causal relationship between builder and building is far from accidental, in that builders and buildings are suitably related much in the way that wisdom, as cause, is suitably related to the effect of someone’s being wise. But suppose that the builder is called Jones. To have said, instead, that the moving cause of the building is Jones would, although true, have stated a merely accidental cause. There is nothing about his being Jones that links him causally or explanatorily to the building, in the way that his being a builder manifestly does.

4–6, and from Aristotle’s denial there, in response to the atomists, that luck could ever account for the structure of the world taken as a whole. The atomists’ position on this is set out, with some derision, in chapter 4 (196a24–35): Some people consider the fortuitous the cause of this heaven and of all the worlds, explaining that it was fortuitously that there arose the vortex and the motion which separated things and set the universe in this arrangement. This is pretty amazing. For on the one hand they say that animals and plants neither are nor come to be by luck, but that either nature or intelligence or some other such thing is their cause (it not being just anything that arises from each seed, but an olive tree from this one, a man from that one), yet on the other hand they say that the heaven and the most divine of perceptible things came to be fortuitously, without any cause comparable to that of animals and plants.

Hence water’s regular redistribution by rainfall to its proper place, the surface of the earth, will have as its moving cause the movements in the heavens (cf. Mete. ). ) orchestrated from the top down, and having among its innumerable beneficial outcomes the nourishment of plants. Somn. Vig. 457b31–458a1; APo. 653a2–8; Mete. 346b21–36. Teleology, Aristotelian and Platonic 27 which among other things supports agriculture, as the reference to making the crops grow strongly suggests. 48 Viewed in isolation, sweat is a liquid moved by purely material causes such as heating, cooling, evaporation and weight.

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