Influences forming Plato’s views of the world workbook answers

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Exam-style question

Part (a)

Students are regularly told that they should answer the question and not waste effort on unnecessary material. This kind of question can cause panic as you wonder how you can write for 25 minutes on one of Aristotle’s causes. However, you must in this kind of question place the idea of final cause both in the context of Aristotelian philosophy and explain, through all four causes, the meaning of the final cause.

You may talk about cause in Aristotle’s writings, such as its development in his book the Physics but you will probably fairly quickly get down to the four causes you have studied on the course. So, using the examples you created for earlier questions, you should explain the material, formal and efficient causes and then explain how these led Aristotle to the idea of a final cause. At this point there is no need to evaluate his beliefs — save that material for Part b.

Part (b)

Some of the questions you will have answered earlier in this topic should help you with a response to this question. For example, you could assess the extent to which we can ever know what the purpose or final cause of anything is. Clearly if you are exploring, for example, your own life, you will have a wide range of potentialities, not all of which may be actualised. Also, does this idea, when applied to many things in our world, allow for their potential to change? Again there is no correct or model answer to this question. Examiners will look to see if your analysis is valid and if you justify your conclusions with valid philosophical evidence.

Topic 3

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