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Aristotle's Prime Mover versus Aquinas' First Proof

Aquinas' first proof is based on his knowledge of Aristotle's prime movers theory. Everything in the world is in state of flux (change) and behind every movement there must be a chain of events that brought about the movement that we see taking place.
What is the idea of Aristotle's prime mover? Did he believe in more than one prime mover? Can we say he called the prime mover 'God'? How can the concepts of efficient cause and final cause be explained? What is different Aristotle's prime mover and Aquinas' first proof?

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In order to understand well this philosophical concept of prime mover, we will discuss the whole idea of unmoved mover. In Book 12 of his Metaphysics, Aristotle explains his conception of the unmoved mover by stating that it is not moved by any prior action. The argument that led to that conclusion is as follows.
? Everything is in a state of change; there is a constant movement. This idea was explained by his near contemporary as "you cannot enter into the same water (river) twice" (Heraclitus). This constant movement implies that if C is moving it must have been moved by B who is in turn moved by A and so on. That means that C has potential to move but it needs to be moved. In other words, where there is motion, there is also a cause of that motion. If everything that moves is caused to move by something else there will be infinite chain of movement and this is not possible. Thus, there must be a prime mover that is unmoved by another. Consequently, Aristotle points out that this movement suggests a mover that is not moved and cannot be the efficient cause of the movement but the final cause.
? As a matter of fact, Aristotle believed that everything has a cause. There are four types of causes: material, efficient, formal and final causes. The material cause refers to the matter or material something is made of e.g. the clay with which a pot is made. The ...

Solution Summary

Everything is in a state of change; there is a constant movement. This idea was explained by Aristotle's near contemporary as "you cannot enter into the same water (river) twice" (Heraclitus). This constant movement implies that if C is moving it must have been moved by B who is in turn moved by A and so on. Aristotle points out that this movement suggests a mover that is not moved and cannot be the efficient cause of the movement but the final cause: The prime mover. This prime mover is the reason, the purpose of the movement. It causes movement by desire and love i.e. by attraction. This could be vaguely compared to what happens when iron is brought near a magnet.
Thomas Aquinas borrowed Aristotle's idea but deepened it with his Christian conception, therefore arriving at a conclusion deeper and wider than that of Aristotle: God creator of heaven and earth. He speaks exclusively of one prime mover or First uncaused cause.

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