I'm reading into Aristotles philosophy and how he describes changes and actions. I am trying to find out how actions and changes relate but can't quite find the right parts. Does action cause change (or many changes) or is an action a change itself?

  • @SK_ quotes Pys, II, 194b16-on where A states the four causes: the so-called efficient cause is "the primary source of the change or coming to rest; e.g. the man who gave advice is a cause, the father is cause of the child, and generally what makes of what is made and what causes change of what is changed." If so, yes: (human) action is a cause of change. Commented Jun 6 at 12:52
  • See laso the post Aristotle notion of action in his physics Commented Jun 6 at 12:53

1 Answer 1


Yes, action (ποιεῖν) causes change. Specifically the ποιητικὸν αἴτιον is responsible for motion (~spatial change) and matter formatting (~a combination of εἶδος and ὕλη). You can see Φυσικὰ II, 194b29 and so on.

  • +1, Yes, ποιεῖν, etymologically contains the notions of manifestation, creation, materialization, ... both in an abstract and a concrete sense. Commented Jun 6 at 14:46
  • Χαῖρε, Ἰωάννη Συνέλλην· εὐχαριστῶ σε ἐγκαρδίως τοῦ +1! Of course ποιεῖν metaphorically converts its first literal meaning to an abstract one. However here it' s about Aristoteles' terminology, which coincides strictly with narrow linguistic at least about causality and production of something that it was not as such before. Thanks again!
    – SK_
    Commented Jun 6 at 18:39

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