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unmoved mover

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


A ncient G reek philosophy, metaphysics, philosophy of religion The substance that initiates movement without itself being moved, also called the prime mover. In the later part of the Physics and Metaphysics XII, Aristotle developed a cosmological argument attempting to show that there must be an unmoved mover. Because time is eternal, without beginning and end, change , which is a concomitant of time, must also be eternal. The eternal and continuous change is the circular movement of the outer heavenly sphere. What produces this eternal motion? On analogy with the objects of our desires and thoughts and the intentional bodily movements for which they account, Aristotle inferred that there must be some ultimate object of desire and thought in the universe, a substance which acts on the outer sphere and then indirectly on the order of the whole universe. This substance moves not because it intends, but because it is loved and thought. Thus it is an unmoved mover that is immune to change and thus has no matter or potentiality. It is pure actuality and pure self-reflective thought, with pure contemplation of itself as its object. The unmoved mover is also called God. But the Aristotelian God itself does not care or think about changes in the world, although the harmony and order of the world are due to the imitation of the unmoved mover. While Aristotle's ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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