Elemental Teleology and an Interpretation of the Rainfall Example in Physics 2.8
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This paper proposes an interpretation of the rainfall example in which Aristotle does not himself think that crop growth is the final cause of rain. The grounds for this interpretation will be an ‘elemental teleology’ which affirms that the only final cause of the movements of the elements is the goal of reaching their proper places of rest. Textual evidence for the presence of this doctrine in Aristotle’s thought is examined in the first two thirds of the paper. My interpretation is then offered along with an argument for why it is both possible and preferable to the alternative reading which claims that Aristotle believed that rain falls for the sake of the crops.