Consequences of nature as such being composite

To account for nature, we need some account of coming to be since things come to be naturally. Aristotle’s argument is that this requires a real composition in what comes to be. Every composite, however, demands its exterior causes (composition is a way of coming after the action of other things, some which are parts, others not); and as nature as such is composite then nature as such has exterior causes. Considered in this way, nature is a certain way of standing towards what is exterior to nature by its causality. Exterior causes are of two kinds: an agent, and an end. Ends can be considered in two ways: as an end that comes to be in nature, and an end that never comes to be in it. Agents, on the other hand, cannot come to be in what they cause.

Ends that come to be in nature are of two kinds: an end considered as a whole, and as a part. If there is a hierarchy of things more and less noble or good in nature (and almost everyone agrees that there is) then the end is in one sense the hierarchy, and in another sense the most noble part. These two ends are related as story to the climax of the story. The author intends the climax only or the sake of the story simply speaking, but he intends the story for the sake of the climax in a certain limted or qualified way. The order of nature is the story, and human beings are the climax.

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