Fred D. Miller (Bowling Green) "Aristotle's First Cause" 6 pm-8 pm, Monday, November 17th, 2014 Munich School of Ancient Philosophy (MUSAΦ) Leopoldstr. 11b, 4th Floor, Room 433
Fred D. Miller
"Aristotle's First Cause"
6 pm-8 pm, Monday, November 17th, 2014
Munich School of Ancient Philosophy (MUSAΦ)
Leopoldstr. 11b, 4th Floor, Room 433
In Metaphysics Book XII (Lambda) Aristotle argues that the cosmos has a first cause, which is a divine, eternal, intelligent, incorporeal, immutable substance. In what sense of ‘cause’ is it a cause? There is evidence that Aristotle thinks it is an efficient as well as final cause. But surely these two modes of causation do not merely happen to coincide. So, is one of them more fundamental? that is, is the prime mover an efficient cause because it is final or a final cause because it is efficient? The dominant interpretation is that the unmoved mover is primarily (e.g. W. D. Ross et al.) or even exclusively (e.g. C. Kahn) a final cause. This reading is challenged by a minority (e.g. S. Broadie, E. Berti) who contend that the prime mover must be viewed as primarily an efficient cause. Though both camps find some textual support, each faces theoretical difficulties. A tempting solution is that the unmoved mover is like a world-soul which operates as both an efficient and final cause, and that these are necessarily interconnected modes of causation (e.g. A. Kosman, M. Matthen). But this is a view which Aristotle evidently rejects. Although commentators disagree over the correct interpretation, they should consider whether the interpretative controversy may point to deeper difficulties in Aristotle’s “first philosophy.”