Aristotelian Philosophy

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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