Aristotle maintained that four separate causes are necessary
before anything exists: the material cause, the formal, the final, and
the moving cause. The first is the antecedents from which the thing
comes into existence; the second, that which gives it its
individuality; the moving or efficient cause is that which causes
matter to assume its individual forms; and the final cause is that for
which the thing exists. According to Aristotle, matter is eternal.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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